Bamboozled ★★★★

the unpolished, digital filmmaking is off-putting but also appropriate somehow. it’s easily the ugliest-looking film in Spike’s oeuvre. but it’s ugly subject matter, so perhaps that’s why it’s done. Spike is so great here, with numerous moments that are truly biting not just because it’s still going on, but because it’s so blatant (it definitely helps to know what shows specifically inspired the story here). the white writers room is genius, as was the tap dancing audition scene. Paul Mooney should’ve won every award for his role. Michael Rapaport expertly plays a loud, ignorant, kinda racist even-though-he-wants to-be-black-so-bad he plays himself basically. MC serch was also such an appropriate casting move too. that one freestyle scene was so weird, but like most of this film it’s so weird that it’s awesome because of that. can’t separate the artist from the art when it comes to Damon Wayans here. I know he sounds absolutely nothing like his character, and his accent is so distracting and ridiculous that it takes away from the film at times. and there’s an argument to be made that a more interesting film would’ve told this story from the performers themselves rather than mainly from the writer. overall though, this was excellent. it’s true, ugly, uncomfortable, genius (the livestream did spike predict the future or what), sometimes hilarious (pool hall scene with the rappers, jada pinkett telling mantan “you should start reading” after he flaunts his ignorance). Bamboozled is a great start to April, and another highly underrated spike lee joint.

So what? We’ll just give the NAACP a donation.”

it’s tempting to say that this is a film that’s still relevant. and it certainly is, but is that indicative of the film’s staying power? or of a society that hasn’t since progressed as much as it thinks it has?

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