3 things about Spike Lee’s BAMBOOZLED

Bamboozled [2000]

1. The money he puts into their tip bag is exceedingly crisp, unused. It’s a prop.
2. How to make blackface: soak three corks in alcohol and set on fire. When the corks have burned to ashes, add water. Stir and crumble until the mixture is a thick paste. Apply cocoa butter to skin, then blacken up.
3. When she walks through the door with a gun in her hand, all believability/credibility finally goes out the window.

This is the worst Spike Lee movie I’ve ever seen, which is to say, it’s not a total loss but it’s terrible. The concept is sound, but his execution is all wrong. It’s a polemic on satire, draining away all the humor and imstead amping up the bile. Bile does not make a good movie. Making pointed references/homages to both Network and Sunset Blvd. doesn’t excuse the fact that you’re still doing a terrible job of ripping them off; and the only strategy more ineffective than telling people when to laugh is telling people when not to laugh. And so on. The montage of vintage clips at the end is more effective than anything else in the entire movie. That’s a problem. He should have just made a cinematic essay/documentary instead of this sorry excuse of a narrative.

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