HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALCOLM X! Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” is one of the best, most influential films Alex has ever seen. Nick finally watched the film and was in awe. In this episode, the guys discuss good vs. bad biopics, the beauty of 4K home media, poor public school education, racial violence in America, the 1992 Oscars (lol), Delroy Lindo, Angela Basset, and how Denzel Washington delivered one of the most miraculous performances in cinema history.
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May 19th, we celebrate Malcolm X's birthday because he was a great, great Afro-American. Malcolm X, as you. All of you. And you. Malcolm X. Hey, everyone. Welcome to What are you watching? I'm Alex witt. Third, I'm joined by my best man, Nick Dostal. How are you doing there, Detroit Red, you ask when you're going to go with, huh? Yeah, Yeah. There are a few ways to go there. I honestly You think I'm a gangster, is what you're saying? Yes, sure. Absolutely. I absolutely think you should just throw down someone, insulted your mama and break a bottle over there and breaks a bottle over his head, and then just goes and sit down and just chill, like. Yeah, yeah, that's. That's is his job application right there. I would rock that red suit, though. Oh, my God. One of my favorite lines of the whole movie is that guy that's like, man, But tell me where you got the vines. I put a hurt on my vision. Oh, God, I love that. Malcolm X, Big day. How are you feeling? Oh, man, what a day this is going to be. This is all because of you. Yes, true. This is 100%. This is as long as I've known you. This has been a movie that you have held to a very, very high regard. Almost so much so that it's hard to believe that it's not in your top ten. It definitely circles the top 20, I'll say. I mean, I'm not I've talked about this. I think I even mentioned this in our very first episode that Malcolm X, I think is the best movie Spike Lee's ever made. My favorite is always going to be He got game. I can't help it. Yeah, yeah. To do an episode podcast episode on that movie too. But Malcolm X Yeah, we're going to talk about all this, but this is a movie I fell in love with at a very young age. Taught me a lot about filmmaking. There's a lot of just, Oh, my really, really good, hard core, great filmmaking in it. Like, yes, genuinely well-done filmmaking. There's also So this movie came out when I was like seven, didn't see it right away. It wasn't one that I watched, you know, right when it was on home video. But I did watch it on VHS a few years later around when I was ten or 11 years old. And there are things in this movie that I had never heard of before because where I grew up in rural Virginia, they didn't teach you the stuff in school. I think they I think maybe we spent like a half of the class period and some history class on Malcolm X, I believe. Or maybe, yeah, it was like half a class period. I believe they gave Martin Luther King like a day and a half. But you know, this was not discussed a lot where I grew up. And we're also going to talk about this doesn't sound like was a big topic of conversation, your child education either. I mean, formal education, like in schools, what we were being taught at home was very different. And that's oh, yes, I love this movie even more. Yeah, Yeah. Dude, you're so right. I've I've never even really thought about the fact that I felt like, weirdly, my middle school, I learned more. And then high school was just like a giant review in terms of history of what we learned in middle school. And Malcolm X was not covered. I don't even think Dr. Martin Luther King was covered. We did not get any black history whatsoever unless it was involving the Civil War. Sure, sure. You know, things of that nature. But in terms of iconic black men that have meant something to American history. No, no, we did not get any of that. Yeah, I agree. And we should say you grew up in Buffalo, New York. I know we talked about it, but I do want to kind of as we do these sweeping generalized nations of where we grew up, but I'll talk shit on my area all day. They're still in the news for bad, bad shit. They're in the news a lot still for Ray shit where I went to school. So whatever. Okay, I'm moving on. So yes, I have a lot of thoughts about this one. I remember specifically in school. This is hilarious because I had this buried like at the very end of the outline. But in school, it's funny you mentioned middle school because that was the only time I ever heard about it too. And we talked about my belly for a day in college and like in a post World War Two college course I took anyway, back to middle school. I remember I actually like this teacher. I don't remember her name, but Malcolm X got like a sentence or two and he was it was during that, you know, there was clearly there was like a martin Luther King Day. That was the day we were going to talk about Martin Luther King. Keep in mind, when I say day, these are 45 minute long class periods. So that's like that is that is my Martin Luther King Jr education. And then at the end of that day, there was like brief mentions of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, these other names that no one else really in the class had heard before, but my wise ass had seen Malcolm X had already begun studying, Malcolm X had attempted to read. It did not get very far. It's a dense book, but to this day, probably one of my top three, if not my favorite book that I've ever read. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told Alex Haley is. I read it, I read it just when COVID hit for like probably my sixth time reading it. And I'm like, Jesus Christ, this thing we can get into why that book is great. But anyway, I tried with the book, but I'd seen the movie multiple times and I kind of challenged the teacher. I was not a confrontational kid, but was definitely put my hand up and was like, Whoa, wait a minute. Because that teacher who I liked and who I respected was portraying Malcolm X as how he often is, which is this radical guy who hated white people and thought all white people were devils. And that is how people who are uneducated about him view him. And that is just so emphatically wrong. To this day, I still hear people refer to him that way, to this day. Now, while he did have aspects of that in his character OC why I love him so much as a man and why I love this movie so much as a movie is because it shows all facets of his his complicated and short life, which is that he was not always a good guy. He did not always treat women respectfully. He did not always treat all people respectfully. He would rip old people off. He did drugs. And then he went through these grand transformations that this movie captures so beautifully. So when I did chime back, I wasn't like, Well, hey, there's more to the story. What? I'm just like, you know, seventh grader. I just remember saying, I don't quite think I, of course, wouldn't have put it this, you know, eloquently, but that when he died, he was not as much as this, you know, kind of pariah as history may remember. He didn't he was not standing behind all this wild rhetoric that, you know, in part helped him get assassinated. But it wasn't like that he had changed. And I just love him as a historical figure for that. And I love the movie for that. Oh, my God. I'm going to it's going to be hard, man. It's going to be a fun one. I love this movie. I love it. It's probably by the end of this conversation, it'll be like in my top 15 and I'll be like, Well, that's why I took a two hour podcast. Oh, yeah, that's a new thing. When we do deep dive episodes, they're going to start to be as long as the actual movie, the actual movie is going to be. Yeah, 3 hours and 21 minutes a day as a joke. That's a joke. I don't think it is. So that is part of the reason why I love it so much. I have such a deep history of it and the amount that I learned from this that I later backed up with. I saw this movie pre-Internet, so I'm going to encyclopedias like the amount that this movie taught me. I mean, forgive me by 2023 standards, things, the things I am going to say may sound ludicrous to some listeners, but what this movie taught me, as you know, a 19 year old again in rural Virginia, I had no idea, for instance, no one had ever taught me that slave masters would rape their female slaves. And the products of that could lead to light skinned black people. And that darker black people in America could resent the light skinned black people for that. Never had any idea of that. None. And I'm like nine, ten years old going up. What? That's just the tip of the iceberg of what this movie taught me about race. About race within the black community, about about the extremely complex relationship that America has always had about race and how sometimes that has been dealt with very, very violently. And of course, that's what we know and that's what I had heard. But I just never seen it portrayed this way. I had never seen a story like this told from a black perspective. And this was it. It's unapologetic in its portrayal of these views. Mm hmm. I even wonder if today a movie like this would be made because of certain points in his life where he feels a certain kind of way. This movie does not shy away from those as controversial or offensive as white people would probably find this. Sure. I don't know how how that works today. Where where movies. I know where it is on the other spectrum in terms of like what is politically correct or offensive or should we shy away from these topics? But this was one coming from from the black side of everything. Yes. And just laying it all out. They're not making any type of commentary other than this is what it was and this is what it is and just letting it be there. I thought that was just phenomenal. It's truly an unflinching film. And yeah, we're going to talk about Spike Lee as we go. But I think even when we're talking about this, like what they make this today, I don't even think he would make this. He would it was so hard for him to get this movie made in 1992. And that's one of the reasons why it still resonates today. That's why Criterion is putting out a 4K of it, and that's why people like me own it or have owned it on every damn format that it's been available on. It's just it's one of the seminal movies that it was really shocking at the time, and a lot of people were really, really nervous about it. The black community was nervous about it coming out. Spike Lee's like, People would stop me on the street and say, Don't mess up, Malcolm, this is really important. Don't mess it up. And, you know, white people are terrified. They're thinking just as they did three years earlier, that do the right thing. It's going to incite riots on the street. It's like, no, it didn't. No, no. The beating of Rodney King is what incited riots on the street, which is what we're going to talk about, is captured, I think, just really hauntingly in the opening credits of this film. It's like, oh my God, you know, Spike is no stranger to mixing in documentary footage into his films. He does it in all of his great movies. I can think, Yeah, I'm doing it even if he got game. When we see Jesus, they're out on the court and you know, he's telling him the story. But we see him out there and he's cutting there. Earl Monroe, even that like he always likes to do that and he does it so effectively. Spike Lee, he's just one of our strongest filmmakers and oh God, we have so much to talk about. We really do. I do want to deviate. I just want to jump right briefly before we get into anything to essentially the very end. And when you were finished watching this movie, I was getting a very strong reaction from you. And I kind of want to spend just 5 minutes talking about that because I think it will give viewers a little bit of insight into how we view these things and how we raised. So, yes, and I know this is tricky subject material for two white guys to talk about, but yeah, I did not grow up in a diverse area at all. And I my high school, my graduating class, I believe was 98% white. And I was so bored of this and so frustrated by it. That's probably why I was so interested in watching movies from different perspectives captured in different areas, certainly made by people who didn't look like me. I was so interested in that. And quite simply, but honestly, quite profoundly. I grew up with two parents who completely and wholeheartedly rejected all racist ideology and taught me that from a very early age that shit is nonsense. And to quote a version of Martin Luther King, you judge people. My dad put it the best way is that, you know, if someone's an asshole, then they're an asshole. That's why you judge them for that. It's not they're not an asshole because they look this way. That doesn't make any sense. And that's that's ignorant thinking. So that's just been ingrained in my head. Even I'll always say it. Even my brother, who had, you know, was not the most mentally sound person. He rejected racism wholeheartedly. So we were raised very, very well with this notion of don't buy into any of this fucking nonsense ever. So and, you know, movies like Malcolm X, movies like Do the Right Thing, movies like Boyz n the Hood really, really helped cement this notion to me. So that's where I'm coming from all by way to say, when you text me after watching this movie, you were like, We're just fucked like Americans. Just fuck. Like, Yeah, what is it? And I went, Yeah, kind of, exactly. Because even though this movie was made 31 years ago, it things haven't really gotten better in this regard really at all in America. And I feel like that's just something kind of worth acknowledging the best we can and the most polite way that we can on this podcast before we get into the movie, that's all. I'm like a micro level. I feel like, you know what we're talking about. Like just two white guys doing a movie podcast and our relationship to how we grew up with racism surrounding us, and then also our parental figures who really, if you think about it, that's really kind of where it all has to come from. Yep, my earliest memory. And, you know, because racism, at least for me, like I don't recall it ever being anything until you're young and then someone in your life at school or wherever says something and you're like, Wait a second, why? Why are you saying this about this person? I think that's that's in its simplistic way that that kind of has to be where it starts. And then whatever the answer to that is what starts to form whatever ideology you have. And if it's negative, it's going to be harder and harder to break away from that. Yeah, you're just going to reinforce more and that's hard to deprogram. So fortunately, my mother, being the wonderful person she is, I don't even remember how the conversation even started, but I remember how sincere and serious she was when I asked. I go, Why did this person say this about this person who was black? And and she just basically said, the world is full of a lot of hate and there's no good reason for it. But you are not to ever, ever talk differently to someone. Believe in these things. You treat everyone exactly the same as you are. And that's just always stuck with me. Yeah, Yeah. So when you kind of look at a movie like this where the end is what it is and how it just sucks, it just really sucks. Yeah. This, this is unfortunately the crux of the world, but specifically America when it comes to this. Yeah, I think I responded back to you and said something like, I don't know how the real Malcolm X would even like be able to understand this world today because like, even this movie is opening with one. It's not the first time we saw what police have been doing to unarmed black people. Yeah, for a long time. This was just the first time it was on video. Such a national level. And if Malcolm X was around today, he'd be like, Wait, so that's still going on? And you all are videotaping it all the time and it's still happening like it's just it's kind of unfathomable to think of where we are now and how, you know, you'd really like to think like, let's just, you know, let's get better, even do the right thing and do this to great long quotes, one from Malcolm X, one from Martin Luther King. And I love that. And it's I don't know, it leaves you with the sense of like perhaps hope or perhaps if we don't do something about this now, it could get worse. And, you know, here we are. But, you know, I didn't have that written down, that this was something we were going to talk about. But I just wanted to say, like, I'm not really judging. This is just a movie. I know this is a movie podcast, but this is why this movie means so much to me. This is one of the most personal films we've talked about in depth on this podcast. Me What you mentioned, you know, at the top of the podcast is that since we met, I've never shut up about it because I've never shut up about it to anyone. Well, yeah, that's true. You have not and, and it has taken me quite a bit to get to it because it's so long. It's a three hour and 23 hours and 21 minutes. Oh, and I love it all. And I think it was probably 100% your idea to do this because you're like, Well, the only way that I know that Nick will actually watch this is if I buy a plot out of it. If. Oh, yeah, that's right. Oh, no, no. You make a positive step process now, brother. I have to, like, set up the pod and then be like, usually I buy it for you. It's just basically this is Inception, and now you've got my hand and I. You just get an Amazon package. Sometimes you'll get an Amazon package, and it doesn't even say who it's from. And you're like, Damn it, okay, this must be from him. I will tell the Malcolm X story to second, but I'll send you one. And then like however long later, six months, seven months would be like, Hey, we're doing let's do an episode of Blank and Blake. Then my next sentence is and you have it. So it's easy to find the like it's honestly, it's a great it's a great move. You can kind of navigate however we do anything because Right. I try to keep it. I try to keep it entertaining. I try to try to have you watch movies that I think you're going to like and that I think would make for good discussions. Well, that's the thing. Like there's never been a movie that I don't think that you have, like shoved down my throat in a way of being like, I'm telling you, you need to fucking watch this that I haven't been blown away by. Yeah, there's some that you've seen like Babbles one that we didn't get to watch. We still got some but I know we didn't, we didn't get to do that. But you know, there's some that I think you could come around on. But yeah, like I know what you like and what you don't like. Typically. This one, though, I genuinely didn't know. I was kind of like, Well, I wasn't going to like this. Yeah, like, well, I bought it for you for Christmas. You also bought it for me? Yeah. It's a hilarious story. I actually told them that Avatar two podcast and that was my. This was my. What are you watching? Recommendation Malcolm X told you had some homework to do, and here we are. You've done your homework. But yeah, I mean, I don't know how anyone is going to respond to a movie this long. Like, I just don't that that's no matter what. It's about being like, Hey, sit down and watch this. And I mean, I'm obsessed with this movie. I watch this movie twice in two days preparing for this podcast, and I've seen it so many times, and I was never bored. Ali was like at one point because, you know, I have a smart TV and I had this glorious 4K, which looks fucking incredible. It was like watching the movie for the first time. Anyway, I had my headphones on and she like, got home from work. She's like, How are you? Like, Why are you doing stuff and not watching the movie? And I was like, Well, I've seen a bunch. Now I'm listening to the commentary. It's like, Jesus Christ, I don't care, I'll just watch it. I got to say, man, this is a quick side by side tangent here about 4K. Oh yeah, the quick because the I've only seen 4K through some of the things that you show me when I've been at your house. It's truly like another level I think I showed you to you show me to you to show me Pulp Fiction. Oh, my God. That's insane. The way that thing looks. And there is. I think there was one others. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought there was one other thing because you would just play, like, one scene just to show me. Yeah, I just to show you what it looks like. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like this won't ruin anything. We're not jumping ahead. But when this movie first started, how am I? Can we get to the opening tracking shot? The only thing that was going through my head is how badly I want to watch this in 4K. Yeah, because of the colors, because of the lighting, because of all of that. And so I got to see like, I didn't really because it seems like there's always something new. Like when the DVD when DVD came out, it's like you're never going to get better visual quality than VHS. And then that was there. And then then there was Blu ray. And we're never going to get better than Blu ray, and now we're at 4K and I'm sure it's going to somehow keep going. But the difference between Blu ray and DVD is I don't equated with the difference between Blu ray and 4K. It's it's a it's another level in 4K. Yeah. Like I am really into owning hard, you know, owning physical media. I don't buy in excess anymore. Like, I don't just buy anything anymore. But now my new thing straight up, it's like upgrading some of my Blu rays or some of my DVDs to 4K. I literally, right before we started this podcast, open a package, right? It's got casino 4k. I can't wait because I only own that on DVD. And of course I've watched I checked it out on streaming and stuff. I have a nice TV. It's, you know, big and nice, but there are nicer ones is what I'm saying. But still like putting on, especially when I put on Pulp Fiction or Scream My Scream 4k, I was like, What the fuck? I actually thought the scream 4k was like broken because the beginning senior Drew Barrymore looked way darker than I had ever seen. And then I did all this research and I was like, Oh no, this is how it's supposed to look. This is how they shot it. And it's just been like bright into oblivion on other formats, which happens like these post versions. They really happen. A lot of these four KS are going back to the source negative to the actual real negative. That's insane. Like, it just looks great. If you're a hardcore lover of movies and you find yourself getting a 4K smart TV or whatever it is, then definitely get the 4K player and you know, whether you want to change all your Blu rays or DVDs over, I don't know. I mean, we're doing two parts today and I have recently acquired both of them on 4K, and it was like watching both of them for the first time and I was like, I cannot fucking believe this. That's what it feels like. Yeah. And it doesn't matter how old they are, It doesn't matter how old they are. Like, I just thought, Oh my God, I just bought the Double Indemnity 4k. I went because Criterion did like a 24 hour flash sale and I was like, All right, I got a few for myself knowing it's a movie I own and like DVD and it's like a shitty DVD. It's just, you know, some crappy quality. And I was like, Let me just buy this, put it on. And then so I put the DVD on first and it's like, Wow, this looks really bad. And then I watched the same scene on the 4K and I went, This doesn't even look like the same movie. It looks like we're just right there. Like, it's crazy. So it's really cool to do it with old movies, too, because it's like seeing them for the first time. It's nuts. I love I love it, man. Physical media. Oh, there's so many things. Everything costs money. Everything costs money. Yes, it does. Yes, it does. I also, you know, I love special features. So if there is a 4K release, there's usually special features on it. Sometimes those are also on the DVD as well. And that's you know, it's I'm not just blind buying movies anymore that I Yeah, yeah. That's my rule I've talked about in times like there's yeah like there's a lot of new movies that have come out that I don't own yet because they don't they have zero special features And I'm like, All right, whatever. All right. We got to start talking about this movie, though. Let's do it. All right. So for Malcolm X, it's important before we talk about this movie to establish how Spike Lee got here, goes to Morehouse College, then he goes to NYU Film School, 1986, $475,000. He makes his first feature. She's got to have it. Still a great movie. Had not seen it in a long time. It's on Netflix. I highly recommend. I cannot believe how he stretched a budget and did that. It's so it's just a really, really trippy movie really announces not only American independent cinema, but black American independent cinema which is that is very important to distinguish because it's two years later that he makes his second movie school days. And by this time he's collected $6.5 million to make it. That's a huge budget jump from 175 K that he made independently. Now he's back by his studio. I love school days. It is a little scene, slightly movie. It's definitely got more attention now over the years. But please go see this movie. It is all about racial tensions at a black college. And I mean racial tensions within a large group of black people. And it just blew my mind. I had no idea. I first got this in Malcolm X, this idea that there is like racism within that community. I just had no I no clue. And school days is really all about that. It's an amazing, amazing film. The next year he makes what many consider to be his masterpiece Do the Right Thing, Hotly contested movie, one of the most notorious movies ever made. I absolutely love it. Would love to do a podcast just on that. Very sorry. We're breezing right over it. Obviously Do the right thing. Makes him a huge name and known as someone who is not afraid to stick to their guns and make a movie that's controversial. 1991 of my favorite movie, Spike Lee's ever made Mo Better Blues. I love this movie. He got 10 million to make it. It is also the first time he's working with Denzel Washington, playing a musician. Bleek Gilliam, go watch this movie. It's so good. I found it on it was on any number of streaming services. Go check it out. Jungle Fever 1991 Romance about about a black man who starts an affair with a white woman in the office. This is really the one where we see that he's not afraid to be sexually charged because there are some scenes in spurts like, God damn. I mean, she's got to have it is actually, I did not remember it for being that sexually charged. There are a few scenes where I was like, Holy shit, I didn't remember this part now, the whole time and all these movies and he's churning them out and these aren't dumpy movies. These are all great. I rewatched all of these leading up to this and had a blast doing it, but the whole time he wants to make Malcolm X, he discovered the book at a really young age. He's read it all the time. This guy named Marvin Worth is sort of legendary producer, had secured the rights to it. Now Spike Lee is a notable director, but he hears that Malcolm X is being made by Norman Jewison, White director. Yeah, Denzel was already committed to star. Denzel has starred as Malcolm X on an off-Broadway play. He has worked with Norman Jewison and A Soldier's Story. That's Denzel's first big movie, which he is great. And I had never seen that movie. I watched that movie just leading up to this just to get ready for Malcolm X and I really, really. Oh, my God. It's really good. So good. And it's well-directed. Yeah, That's Norman Jewison. So now they're going to team them back up. And, you know, Spike Lee kind of flips out and he goes, Yeah, press and he goes public and he's like, This is not okay. This story needs to be told by someone who understands. I'm not saying that Norman Jewison can't do it. I'm just saying this needs to be told from a black perspective. Norman Jewison very gracefully bows out. Spike Lee steps in and we get the movie we get. It was not easy for Spike Lee to make. Warner Brothers gave him 28 million. The movie eventually ended up costing 33 to 35. We'll get to that when we get to the post-production section. But and I want to say Norman Jewison and Denzel did end up working together again in the hurricane, a movie I love. And I think Denzel was great in that movie. So that's great. But it's so good That pretty much takes us up to Malcolm X if we want to, You know, talk quickly about Denzel. He had been in an off-Broadway play, The Chickens Come Home to Roost, where he was playing Malcolm X and he had been in A Soldier's Story. He had been in power, a kind of a kind of dull Sidney Lumet movie Cry Freedom, which is a movie that is not really good to me, but he did get his first Oscar nomination, which is good glory. He wins the Oscar. Big deal. Huge deal, well-deserved Oscar win, mo, better blues. Like I said, Ricochet, which is just like an insane movie. And he's so broad in it, a cop thriller. Then he takes a year off. He tells all of his people, I need a year to prep for Malcolm to get into this character. That's because whenever we see him in the movie, he is the complete embodiment of who this person is. And this is a person that changed a lot. And throughout this movie, Denzel, like Malcolm X, changes in his look changes and the way he speaks changes and the way he views life changes. And it is for this reason that I have decided to essentially split our discussion on Malcolm X into those stages of when he changes. And I went by his different name. So at first he's known as Malcolm Little, and then when he starts getting into trouble, he turns into Detroit Red, as we've already talked about, He becomes a member of the Nation of Islam and he's known as Malcolm X. And then after he makes his Hajj to Mecca, he becomes Hajj Malik El Shabazz. And that is how we are going to talk about the film today. A way to sum up the way that we're breaking up this movie, because we live in a time now where the biopic is as it's as genre unto itself now. Yes, it's almost expected, like what's the next biopic going to be? Everyone's kind of wondering, Oh, it was, you know, Queen. Now it's Elvis and Judy Garland. Yeah, I mean, whoever Jesus. And they're all done a certain way. I kind of favor the way of taking a little chunk of someone's life. Yeah. And just living there for it. That being said, for a three hour and 21 minute movie, this may be the only biopic I've seen that travels through the lifetime of its subject in truly gets the point of this person's life. We see mini series that happen nowadays because that's a big thing now too. If you really want to break up a whole entire thing, you give it, you know, six episodes. That's 6 hours yet ripped from the headlines stuff of, you know, these failed CEOs or whatever the hell it is. Yeah, we see that all the time now. Yeah, all the time. And I don't think they do it as good as this didn't this did not feel like a movie that was 3 hours and 21 minutes, you know. And now, of course, we are going to miss some of the details, like some of the very, very specific ones. But that's impossible to do no matter what format you do it. Yeah, You cannot cover the full life of any subject in 10 hours or less. For example, in the book, they take a long time to teach you the numbers game and the numbers racket so that you understand when he's running numbers for Detroit Red, what that all means. However, in the movie they don't have time to pause for like 20 minutes and explain that to you. And it doesn't really matter. You just got to know that he's doing some illegal shit. People are gambling, he's taking bets, and his boss gets pissed off about how he handles it. That's basically all you got to know. But yes, I totally get your point. I totally get are a really good example of that is he had a hell of a time getting into Mecca, getting into Egypt in real life. It is a long part of that book. They had him quarantined. He had to talk to so many people and they just didn't have to. I mean, that that literally could be an entire movie like Malcolm goes to Mecca. I mean, that's so corny, but genuinely, that could be like a 90 minute capsule biopic like you were talking about. And it could be really compelling about, is he going to get through? I don't know. I don't know. And we've seen capsule biopics with him in it one night in Miami where I thought he he was betrayed very well. He was played by Mario Van Peebles and Ali, and he did a great job. But yeah, the way that this movie went through, the story of Malcolm X, there were so many transformations that did not feel rushed. They were very organic, they were very poetic, they were very literal. But most importantly, they were all meaningful. I feel like we earned through the storytelling and the performance when we got to a new chapter of this person's life, I was blown away. I was every time I was like, Oh my God, I see what he's gone through. This is where he is. It was it was all inspiring as of yet as a film to watch something move so well through itself. I was astounded by it. I love it. I've been saying this for a long time on my blog and I probably a few times on this podcast. This is the fastest three hour plus movie I've ever seen. There are some rivals there. Scorsese He does this really well, I think, with The Irishman and Wolf of Wall Street. But this movie just completely zooms by much in part to the fact that Malcolm X is constantly changing, and then Denzel has to tailor his performance and match to it. And this wouldn't be believable if we didn't have, you know, one of the best actors who's ever lived giving what I consider to be talk about top ten year. I've always considered since the first time I saw it's one of the top ten best performances I've ever seen in the history of motion picture acting because he's playing, you know, three or four versions of the same man, but it's the command that he has. I have chills right now. It just gives me chills talking about it down to obviously his speech. You know, it's just touching down here to pacify. It's like, please, voice will crack on certain words and oh, my God. Oh, and everything's in tandem there. The music is working with him because there are scenes just walking to a hospital may not be that compelling, but to do that and it's just go, it's go. And you're like, Holy shit, Ernest Dickerson's cinematography changes with Malcolm. It changes based on where he's at. In the beginning, when Malcolm's young looks like an MGM musical, when he's in prison, it looks dark and cold and it's hell on earth. When he's in Mecca, it's like gorgeous. Some of it's unseen. MM Yeah. So the movie's constantly changing and evolving as well, so that when you do get to these big reveals and even though a half hour the movie is passed, but now he's like full fledged Malcolm X giving speeches to hundreds, if not thousands of people. You believe and understand how he got there. There's no jumps like, wait, how? No, don't like that at all. You can feel in the performance like, this isn't just an actor who is like, okay, this is the part of the movie now where I'm playing this. You can even feel the weight of who he's been and where he's come from to get to this particular moment. It always feels grounded in Denzel's performance, and that's, you know, for shooting out of order. I'm sure. I'm sure Spike tried to keep Everything is much in order as possible. Yeah, you would have to, but yeah, but but there's some things that you just can't like. You can't because, yeah, the way a movie is filmed, it's typically all based on location. And when you get location, we're like, okay, so we have to be in the Audubon Ballroom on a date Now, with enough clout and enough money. You can kind of dictate that. But it is very difficult to shoot movies in order. So basically what you're doing is you're outweighing like if you are shooting something in the same location, even in the movie, if 20 years have passed, you are still using that location because you have the location and you know what you're sacrificing. There is continuity for the actor, which is part of being an actor. You have to be able to adjust to that stuff, like putting on different makeup every day. But that's actually something about this movie. I don't know. I imagine they would have tried very, very hard in listening to like the commentary and stuff. It seems like they did a damn close job of shooting it in order, even the way they talk about it, like, okay, Boston, the war years. Yeah, this was a sequence when like it was lit this way, it was lit. So I bet they, I bet at the very least they were like, okay, we're going to do all the Boston Warriors part now. We're going to do all the Detroit red stuff now, even if we, like, have to shoot some of the Detroit Red stuff out of order, we're still going to, you know, do that now. But yeah, I mean, I know for a fact they shot some of it out of order because what was it Ernest DICKERSON says when he asks Betty to marry him on the phone, which is just such a great proposal, the way she says, yes, it's so sweet. He's like, we shot that literally seconds after he was in the hospital for Brother Johnson or like or in the police station for Brother Johnson when he, like, points to the book upside down. He's like, So we shot this back to back. And that's how. But still, those are in the same, you know, chunk of the movie. I thought he was like getting his hair dyed in the barbershop. And then the next day he was on stage giving a speech to hundreds of people. I don't think it was that scattered, but still would have been very different, still maintain continuity. And that's not a question we have ever watching the movie. So the fact that we don't know is a great you know, that's a great benefit to the movie because nothing dips, no accents, ever dip? Nope. No audience ever dips, nothing. Everyone is totally locked in. Not just Denzel, everyone. We'll get to everyone, I promise. But they are all completely locked in. Oh, and it even even within the same chunks. Like even when he starts giving speeches and he's even been tasked. All right, you're going to be the guy that's going to be doing this. You can even see like how his confidence grows. Yeah, Yeah. Giving speeches from, like, little halls to the giant halls. Yeah. No, seriously, he's just there, like, where he meets Shorty again. We're Spike Lee shows. Yeah, that's just like a little hall. And then it's just a few, you know, a few jumps later to where now he's making jokes, like they've said, you know, they've given up the white hoods, some of them given up to white hoods. And he just knows how to own the crowd and he knows how to make a little joke here and there. He knows how to be completely and utterly compelling. And it's like it's not an impersonation of Malcolm. He just so becomes him. It's I mean, I've studied Malcolm X, I've watched every speech that's available that I can watch. And it's like it's shocking how much even down to the hand gestures and the movements, how much he got. He embodied him. It's one of the best transformations I've seen with little to no makeup as far as I can tell. It's not like they're taking him in prosthetics to look a certain way. So no digital trickery going on in his face because it's beyond that. It's beyond just the way he looks. It's like it just goes down to the soul. Seriously? Yeah, it is. It's it's one of the greatest performances have ever seen. It's I always feel weird saying that, like, after I've seen something. Yeah. Just because you're influenced by the immediacy of. Yeah. Recency bias. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I, but it's undeniable outside of just the transformation. Just the scene. The scene work. Yeah. The scene where he's crying when he first meets the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Oh, my God. He's, he's like, dwarfed. Like he's. Yeah. Down because Denzel is a tall guy, that actor isn't. And it was the same way in real life. Malcolm versus Muhammad. And he just gets down because he's like, I'm not on this men's level. This man is a god to me. I'm not on his Yeah, I can't look him in the eye unless I'm like, given distinct permission, like it's it's astounding how he embodies that. And I listened to the commentary Spike Lee's like, I didn't direct him to do that shit. Yeah, I don't do that. I don't tell him to do that shit. He just did it. You showed up and started doing it. My God. Oh, my God. I mean, that's just the level of understanding who you are and what the situation is. And then you're coming up with choices like that. That's just coming up with that choice and then putting on that kind of performance. The tears. My God. Yeah. He's just so humbled to me to be meeting him. But honestly, the strength of this performance as we venture into our roughly 45th minute of this podcast, we're finally start talking about the movie. The movie think this performance begins in voiceover with yeah, as compelling of an introductory speech as I've ever heard from a character, his I charge the white man character. And then we see an American flag burning. And this is crosscut with the footage of Rodney King getting beaten nearly to death by members of the LAPD. One of the reasons why I know I love this movie so much as I remember where I was when I was in exactly how I felt the first time I saw this. And it would be embarrassing to admit how many times I've seen this movie since. Embarrassing because it has taken up so many hours of my life joyfully, willingly. I was like, I've never seen this before. I didn't know you could, like, cut in real life footage. I don't even know if I'd seen that real life footage. I would have at some point. It was it was so ubiquitous just in culture, like I would have seen it. But seeing it like used. And now I'm like, Oh, he's I remember putting it together like he's talking about this historical figure, but showing us something new and saying literally with editing how nothing has changed. Nothing has changed with what we're talking about here. And this shit is still going on. And these are the opening credits. That's, that's what's happening here. This is just the credits are happening. It's just one of the most powerful opening scenes to a film I've ever seen. Terence Blanchard's music helps a lot. It's so powerful. It was his second movie score, ever whole free price. That's just very crazy to think about and also to think about that they had wrapped production and they just brought Denzel asked him to come to like a parking lot, and he had a few people that he gave that speech to, and that was it. Like, this is productions already wrapped and it's still like you can absolutely just feel it in his voice. Yeah, Love the opening credits of this movie. It's 3 minutes of like complete audaciousness and and lets you know from second five, here's what movie you're stepping into get ready that was that was exactly what I was going to say that that was upon just watching that like I literally put the DVD in and be like, All right, let's start this son of a bitch right now. And and then all of a sudden I met with that. Well, I. I just I did something that like you. I can't believe I did it. I've only done it a few times. I had to pause. Oh, I had to collect myself after just watching that, because I was I didn't know what I was prepared to start with, but I wasn't prepared. Right. And upon getting there, I was like, okay, just making a second right now and just get in my literal thoughts in my head where this is how Spike Lee wanted me to feel. Exactly. This is a giant point that the filmmaker is telling me and I need to catch my breath for one second because I wasn't ready for it. And now let's start. He would love hearing that reaction. You'd be like, Good. He would first give you shit for taking this long to see the movie, but then he'd be like, Good, I want and he'd be like, You're lucky you were able to pause it because if you. Yeah, we're old enough to have showed up in the theater. Like, I can't imagine what people thought. Like this movie didn't make a ton of money. We'll get all that. Didn't make a ton of money in the box office, but it has lived on in notoriety, not in infamy, in notoriety in the years since, in the decades since. But wow, I mean, how powerful this thing begins here. It's like, holy shit, we're not you know, there's any number of ways you can start your film if you have to have opening credits in your movie. We see them all the time. It was just nice, gentle music playing over it and it still takes 3 minutes and you're like, Okay, yeah, music. I was just getting settled in my seat. There's no settling in your seat into this one. You better come settled or you better you just better come. Correct. Because it's I charge God everything about it. It's incendiary. It's a very inciting because the footage itself of what's happening is it's as awful as anything. And then you're hearing some very, very outlandish remarks. So you've got two things that are firing you up coming from opposing sides, but actually reflecting the exact same fucking thing right. You can't take what's given to you and find a way to come to peace about it. And that's the point. That's that's the fucking point. That's that. When we go back to the end where I text you, I go, We're fucking lost, right? It starts out in that way and just smacks you across the face with this giant problem. So it begins. Yeah. After the opening credits, we get a title card. Boston The War years. You know, this nice piano starts playing, and then what begins is at least when they recorded that commentary in 2004 and basically everyone on it said that was the most expensive shot Spike Lee has ever. It took half a day to set the shot up just to coordinate everything and everyone. And that day of filming cost $1,000,000. That's crazy for someone who started making movies for 175 K, But yeah, it's one of the most glorious crane shots. It's a long one hour introductory shot that begins on a crane. Clearly, the camera operator steps off. The fucking crane goes into an extreme close up of shoes. Oh, shoes are revealed to be Spike Lee himself, who's playing this character, Shorty. And he walks across Boston with this beautiful son. I mean, I can't sit here and, like, narrate the whole thing, but it's just it's astounding to look at and a great way to introduce movie to, like, officially introduce it. What it achieves, which was the whole entire point, was to put us in this world. I knew exactly where we were. I felt it through the music. I felt it through the costumes. I felt it through just the the production design. And then him walking into the barbershop. I'm here for I'm so open for everything that's coming my way, because that's the whole entire point of what that was like. We spent all this time and money to get you to feel exactly how I felt. Right? Money well spent. Yeah. 30 years later, you're still feeling that way. 30 years later. Yeah. Yes. So as we're getting to know Malcolm Little as he was born, that's what he's being referred to as in this introductory scene. We're seeing him get his. Oh, it's kind of sad. Like he's getting his hair done. And then as soon as he looks out in the mirror, he's like, Looks white, doesn't it? And he's like, so happy that it looks straight and looks his hair looks white. And he had to go through hell to get it that way. So while we're seeing him kind of ingratiate himself in these relatively fun war years, you know, he's with his main man, Ford either dressing up in these just great zoot suits and this walk that they deal with, the one that, you know, or hit the hat with the left. Oh, my God. It's just it's so good. And then also in flashbacks, very ingeniously cut in flashbacks, we're getting little snippets of how he was raised, how his family was terrorized by the Klan. The Klan killed his father, how his mother shortly after that was sent into hysteria and had to live the rest of her life in a mental institution and just what Malcolm, as a smart, very intelligent kid, was subjected to, and some of the most infuriating flashbacks I've ever seen in a movie, the content of which I cannot repeat, nor can you. And they're like, they're just gross seeing how, like, you show them how teachers treat him and you're like, Wow. And the thing is, like, Spike Lee could sell this so much harder and be like, Look how bad this person is. But it's it's not. He's just showing it for what it is like. This is how simple it was. This is how teachers really talk to students like, it's so disgusting. But boy, are we getting to know what will turn Malcolm little into first into Detroit Red. What is fueling this rhetoric and this anger behind him is all the stuff. Oh, yeah. And then that's what you feel. You can feel like that anger coming up and I mean, just what a fucking like just taking the the the way that this movie presents itself from that line where he's like, yeah, it looks white, right? And and being so thrilled about it too, then becoming who he becomes like if you were to tell that Malcolm Little hey in, about 1015 years you going to be saying these things? I don't know what he would have said. I don't know like how he would have, you know. And then when I love that moment, it's it's one of the most thought provoking scenes when he starts dating the White girl. Oh, yeah. Big deal. Big deal. It's all real huge deal. Yeah. Yeah. And the way that he treats her when he's in, when they're in bed. Oh, where she's eating. Oh, my God. That, that is, that's one of the signature scenes of this sequence. Yes. Oh that, that I like he's, he's a servant. He's asserting. Yes. Control and power over her like, no, feed me like you do this for me. And then, like, kind of. It's all he knows exactly what he's doing. Like, exactly what? He's trying to push her. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's one of my favorite scenes of this early part of the movie. It's, like, haunting almost. Yeah. Yeah. And then he tells her, like, he says one thing, like she she loves doing this, but there's also like an undercurrent that I was picking up that he thinks that at least waiting for a certain shoe to drop here. Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, it is very complicated history between. Yeah. Especially back then, between white women and black men. And that's what he is alluding to. As you know, you're just going to you're going to die me out and essentially cry rape at some point. That's what's going to happen. Yup. Yeah. Yeah, that's exactly right. And and you can see in her, like that's just not even on her mind whatsoever the way that he just so simply shot that. Yeah. And the anger that's behind it is just you understand all of it and it's I really, really thought that scene was something else. Yeah. They're just like relaxing in bed and at turns to kiss my feet. Now feed me while. He's saying, like, not nice things to her, but that's when we are really starting to see, like, this Detroit red guy kind of come out. He's still an out and tough. I don't think he's all that tough yet. But yeah, it's also about, you know, we're seeing him talking about that anger and that sort of like evil behind when he's doing this. Yeah, we're seeing different facets of him sort of be born to life, but it's also just about power and control. The UN like telling her what to do and trying to rile her up and you know, she's not. But yeah, that's I do want to say that they made a concerted effort to not have the entire movie be grim, and that's why this movie moves so well, because in this section we get some like really long musical numbers and there's so much and there's so, well, so fun. Spike loves old like MGM musicals. That's what the visual look of this first part was based on. That's what Ernest DICKERSON modeled it on. But yeah, there's like these really fun dance numbers when you get to see all of these black people in their element, whereas out on the street, they have to worry about outside factors like, yeah, racism here, racism, they're getting shot, getting killed. They have to worry about all this stuff. But here they can just have fun. And I'm taking direct quotes from the commentary about like, this is why they wanted these scenes to last for so long. And I love that. But yes, it's at one of these dances that he meets, Laura first, Laura played by Theresa Randall, who's just a great actor, and it's so truly haunting to see what happens to Laura throughout this movie. And her arc. And he's kind of dating her and seeing her. And then he also meets Sophia, played by Kate Vernon, this white woman. And there's just no way that could have gone over well at the time. But that's also part of Malcolm Little's swagger, for lack of a better word. He knows what he's doing. He knows that by walking around with this film, he knows what people are talking about. But it's almost a challenge like, yeah, come at me, try to say something I don't like. It's part of him. It's all part of fueling what Malcolm X will eventually evolve into and how he will comment on this. Like I used to run around with white women. I used to steal. Yes. To do drugs. Yeah, but a lot of biopics don't do this stuff. A lot of biopics don't show the absolute worst of their subjects, even what their subjects would agree when they wrote their autobiographies. This is the worst, most, you know, disgusting moment of my time, most humiliating moment of my life. The way I was behaving is embarrassing to look back upon. A lot of biopics now skirt over this stuff, which is why they criticize them so much. Yeah, this is a movie that showed a man a life for how that man was and how this life was lived. For better or worse, here it is. And for Spike Lee to convey it in a way where you can understand it. Yeah, you're taking in this complexity, seeing the change and watching it happen right before your eyes and then understanding, Oh, this is how this person feels. We now understand why this person's doing this, whether we like it or not. We have the information and the feelings behind to be like, Ah. Oh fuck. Okay. Yup, yup, yup. Rounding out, you know, this opening sequence. It's important to establish who were meeting here. We're meeting Spike Lee is Shorty. I think Spike Lee has never really gotten the credit he deserves as an actor. He makes sometimes big choices with his acting, but it's all really intentional. I also think it's hilarious. Like when he said, Well, they're dancing. That woman's called Shorty over. He's like, You too big. Yeah. Oh, my God. The way he says it, he's like that. He starts, like, dancing on her. It's just. I don't. I think he's really, really funny. Teresa Randall, who's great and then La Net. Mikki, I really wanted to mention her. She's playing Louis Little Malcolm's mother. That is a very popular actor among Spike Lee's body of work. She plays the mother and he got game. Oh, I love her. Oh, I love her. So I wanted to mention her because she's not going to show up too much more. Watching some of these scenes like Spike Lee knows how to fun. He does. He does nose, but his kind of fun like so like these dancing numbers and just the way that people are with each other it it was it was beautiful to watch and I just thought I was like, man, this is so much fun. I like lovers. Best time. Remember Lovers. Yeah, that's exactly sanctuary. Like they're there. Just. Yeah, just for tonight. Just for tonight. Just for these 2 hours. We don't have to worry about any of that bullshit. Anything. Yeah. And maybe when we cross these doors to exit this place, maybe we might catch some shit from some vile asshole. I don't know. Maybe it might happen, but right now, we can cut loose and have fun. And while we can have fun, we need to have fun. So let's have fun. Yeah, right. And that is conveyed in the filmmaking. Not like in the music. It is the shots and the costume designs. Yes. I want to say Ruth Carter did the costumes for this. She's done the dozens for most of Spike's movies. She's a double Oscar winner for Black Panther and then Wakanda Forever, most recently, love Ruth Carter. The costumes in this movie are gorgeous they're fantastic. The visual that sticks out from the moment I think about these Malcolm little scenes is the oranges. Like, like, Yeah, man, there's just I've just never seen orange like that on screen. And I was just like, I could just live in these, in this lighting. But even the way the, like stage rooms were inside rooms like you talk about the, the barbershop like, yeah, the barbershop or kiss my foot. It's like it there's just this hot yellow light coming in, but still tone appropriate for where we are. Yes. And period appropriate. Oh, look so good. This sequence kind of closes out with probably the scene where they needed the most. Actors are close to it, which is that Joe Louis scene. I love that celebration. And out there on the streets of Harlem and I love you can kind of tell, but I wanted to get your take on this. When he kisses that woman out on the street, that was like their last take, totally improvised. And if you look at her reaction, she's like, she goes to put her arm around him. She's probably like, Oh, my God, Denzel's kissing me. Like, Yeah, but then he just walks away in frame and you see him walk away in that damn suit, that damn red suit. I love that damn red suit. It's so good. But yeah, now we're going to get into Detroit, read our second kind of section of the film. And I want to say, by this point, we're about 30 minutes into the movie, so we're moving like we're checking off a lot of this stuff. Yeah. And it feels like it's already a life. Understood in like it does. Yeah. Again. So just kind of putting that time stamp on what can happen in 30 minutes from what we've gathered and gotten up until now. So now he's in Harlem, he's working on a train. He's just here. It seems like he's here for like a weekend, but he has an altercation in a bar, Paradise bar in Harlem, and a man insults his mother. So Malcolm smashes a bottle over his head, and that attracts the attention of West Indian Archie, played by the great Delroy Lindo. I love this actor. I love this performance. And after West Indian Archie witnesses this Detroit Red pretty quickly comes under Archie's wing and he starts running numbers for him, but moreover, kind of becomes like a surrogate father figure, like this is how we're going to dress. You like? Yeah, we're going to we're going to get you out of these suits. You know, we're going to put you in good clothes. This is how you wear the gun. You know, this is my first ever gun. I'm giving it to you. You wear it in small, your back in case you get frisked. All this stuff. He's really teaching him the ropes. He's being hard on him, but he's also taking him in. It's like, okay, cool. This is my new subject. Pupil. But everything's going well. But yeah, this is when we start to see. I mean, even this is a really fun secret. Like when everyone's giving their numbers, when they're writing the numbers game. Oh, yes. Like doing it. It's funny. Like there are parts of this that are still funny. Spike Lee has a great sense of humor. And yeah, you know, he knows when to use it. He also knows when to let it go, kind of in that sort of the back half of this movie, there's not much room for humor there. And that's understood. Yeah, it's exactly. Yeah. Like the whole entire time I'm watching this guy, I'm like, man, he is trying so hard to be something that he's not exactly trying to be as tough as he can. He's trying to be a boss. He doubles down to when he when he is put into situations where he's clearly wrong, he sticks to his guns about it, is very stubborn in that way. Yeah, very stubborn. Keep in mind that at this time, like in his real life, he's 20 years old. 2021 he was he would have been 20 in 1945. So he's running around. Is doing like, yeah, he's walking around like he's invincible. Like it's all good. Like I'm doing, I'm doing my thing. He incorporates this just the style and the swagger so, so well. And then another thing that Spike Lee's going to do very intentionally and very smartly is that a different periods in Malcolm X's life, he's going to inject these new characters and these new characters, West Indian Archie are played by magnificent actors. We're going to get this again with Betty Shabazz. When Angela Bassett shows up, we're going to get this many times when Banes I love Banes. God. Oh, Albert Hall is Banes. And I have two questions for itself on this one. When you watch the movie, did you know what it was rated? Oh, I had to imagine. Ah, okay. So, okay, this is great. This movie is rated PG 13. No, it's nice. Yeah. Spike Lee worked very diligently to ensure that he could barely get a PG 13 rating. He did that because he wanted anyone to be able to go and see this movie. Kind of Famously, he said he encouraged kids, especially black children, to skip school the day this movie came out and go see it in the theaters. Yeah, I would wholeheartedly agree with that. What do I know? I think, as I said, this movie taught me way more than I would have ever gotten in any single day of middle school history class. Anyway. Yeah, this movie really, really tows the line. It's kind of like the social network in that way. We're like, Well, I can't believe they got away with PG 13 for that. It just feels, ah, wow. And it's great that it is too, because especially at that time for, for yeah, for, for kids to be able to kind of take this in like it's important film. Yeah. Yeah. Now my other thing is as he's, you know with this cocaine scene that they had to cut very carefully to get a PG 13 rating, something very big and important happens in the scene and that is as a numbers runner, Malcolm collects numbers from people on the street and you pay him a couple of bucks and you once a number was arrived and it was agreed on publicly every day, whoever gets that number among the bookies in town will get a nice little payout. So Denzel high on coke, presumably a little drunk, tells his boss, I'm picking gives him three numbers. Did you think that when that number hit because we learned a few minutes later that the number hit and now Archie owes Malcolm $600, a lot of money in that time period. We're talking about here. And Archie's like, you never said that number to me. And this is what leads to their separation is a really, really key moment in Malcolm's life. He almost died over this. So I'm asking you as Nick docile. Do you remember if he really did say that number? Did you rewind it to check or what did you think? I, I thought he did because he was all spaced out. But then he jokes about the number like he he like he switches the numbers around like 8 to 9 and because wasn't in Archie is messed up to like that was my impression of it was that he actually did say that because I remember him saying it but it's sloppy. You're exactly right. Yeah. And and so I always thought he did. He did. It's funny, if you go back and listen, the number that hits is 8 to 1. That was Malcolm's number. Okay. And that's reiterated a few times in the scene because he asks his girlfriend, the white girl, what time is it? She says 821. So he takes out money and he goes, eight, two, one, one, two, eight and 218. So those are his three bets. So he got the number right. This is all, of course, this movie is based on the autobiography of Malcolm X, but as Malcolm X tells it, he did have the right number. But yes, everyone's zonked out, everyone's on drugs. Yeah, everyone's boozing. It's a lot of stuff going around. Those guns are like pretending to shoot at each other. So all this stuff and then. Yes, because of that, Archie does not remember. And Archie's holes thing, His whole credo is the only thing that matters on these streets is your rep. And if you do not back up your rep, you are nothing. So it kind of comes down to Malcolm challenges. It's almost accidentally challenges Archie and it's like, I'm excited for that money you owe me. And Archie is like, you didn't your number didn't hit that brief argument. Archie puts the money down on the table, gives it to Malcolm. Malcolm doesn't even want it. I should actually be calling him Red because everyone's calling him red at this point. Red, even one. He's like, No, no, forget about it. You can see the wheels and him spinning like, Oh my God, like I'm fucking this up. Like, Oh, crap. Yeah, yeah. That turns Archie essentially into his enemy. And now it becomes like, Is this going to kill me? And Red has to escape Harlem and escape West Indian. Archie, get the hell out of Dodge. Yeah, Go back to Boston. And that's where the second portion of this chapter takes place. But it's really shows how in a world of crime, your friends can become your enemies in a conversation. It does not take long for friendship, not even a friendship. It's a mentorship to completely devolve just it's just completely gone. And how kind of sad that must be for Malcolm, too. Well, yeah, I mean, it's like he didn't do anything really wrong. And then even trying to, like, go back on and be like, No, it doesn't. If it's going to, if it means that this is going to start to happen. Right. I don't want the money, but now it's too late. Yeah, it is. The the the accusation has been made exactly. Certain thoughts are now had not just between I think this is the other part of it too, is that it's not just between Delroy and Denzel's characters. It's the other gangsters around there because they don't like him. Yeah, Delroy is like goons to me. Two men who were giving him that one guy, just giving him shit for his suit like this. So you have to love it. Busting each other's balls. Yeah. They don't like he's the new kid. He's the young buck. They don't like you, They don't like him. They don't like what he represents and everything. And they're. They're chomping at the bit for this to happen for this term, Archie to come. And they're like, You're you're screwed now. No one's ever called Archie out on getting a number wrong. You're screwed in a situation like this and in very much in, like, crime and justice, I mean, Jesus Christ. Now, social media, it's like it doesn't even matter what actually is happens, right? What matters is the drama that even could potentially unfold. Yeah, they just the mere fact that you come up against him, there's there's conversations to be had that will grow and multiply and become things that weren't even there didn't even happen. Now, none of this is happening in the scene, but this is just how the world this is this is how this crime world works, where Indian Archie is saying, if this gets out and it's, Hey, did you hear that Archie gave this punk Reg $600 even though Redd didn't have the number? Yeah, we can all screw Archie over now. Who cares? Like he's, weak? Yes, soft. And because that's all you have on the street is your rep. Hey, who knows if he would have stayed with him, it could have not gone well, because we do get to see brief snippets of how Archie and his two goons, you know, end up in it and ain't good for none of them. And and this is also foreshadowing to what's going to happen to him later. Yes. There's a bigger shadowing in the movie. Like, for instance, when everyone anytime someone like pretends to shoot a gun at them, I'm talking with their fingers like, hey, pow, pow. Oh, yeah, you'll gunshot sound over soundtrack. You know, we see him pretend play dead in the park way in the beginning in the early years that's a direct nod to Billy Wilder's ace in the hole. Ace in the hole? Yep Ace in the hole. The final shot of Ace in the hole. It's another thing like Spike Lee loves movies. He loves movies. He is a cinephile. He has seen so much. And there's a lot of nods to older movies in this man. Now, kind of the second half of this red sequence is we get that jump cut and it's like, Right, we're going to rob this town blind and he's gone back to Boston, and here we're getting reintroduced to Shorty, to his white girlfriend. And yeah, it's just one of my favorite scenes, the whole movie. It's him. He's been in Harlem, He's gone through some stuff. He's been on the run. And now we're getting like, red is hard, Red is tough. He's walking around with a revolver, is in that tank top in his scene with Roger Good beer. SMITH As Rudy is just talking about asserting power, one of the all time great Denzel Washington scenes and the way they shoot it where it's just in tight, close up. Like you can really only see one or two people at the frame at one time. And how he completely over the span of just a few minutes and with the help of one bullet and a revolver, establishes dominance over this guy Rudy, who he thinks is like Rudy thinks he's the man of Boston, he's like, Yeah, I'm the king. I run this shit. I love that scene of playing Russian roulette with Rudy. We got to Russian roulette movies in a row today. I was going to say, Yeah, I was thinking about hint, hint, which one did it better? Don't ever try and cross someone who ain't afraid to die. Oh, what a loss. This is where the line blurred for me in terms of where he was in his life, because I was like, How much of this is an act to be tough or how much of this is like, I don't care what happens? Yeah, I couldn't decide for myself. I couldn't. I was like, This is so. And for what? Right. And for what really? Just because you're you're trying to do this to commit this one crime, right? This is the guy. You just need to prove this kind of thing over it. Like, I feel like this is where, like, that line for him is just so blurred as to whether or not he actually cares about living or dying or just to come off this way. Doesn't matter. It's all the same thing. Yeah. I mean, he's just living like day to day. Like, who am I robbing next? How are we stealing? How are getting by? That was the thing that Malcolm would do, or at least did once. And then in an effort to intimidate people, he would have a revolver and just pull the trigger against his head, like put a bullet in. But he was very, very good at palming. The bullet to is always able to slip the bullet out and the person wouldn't know. So in the scene, the idea is that he did harm the bullet. It's a little confusing. Yes. You see the bullet go in the gun. But then when you see him in the end, like, did you have it? He holds it up. So there were no bullets in the gun. But still, it's he's he's getting unhinged. It's like, okay, well, it's a guy with no direction. It's a young guy with a kind of energy, a lot of intelligence, and virtually no positive direction, no where to go. Yeah, Yeah. I love that scene. You know, they're starting they're doing some robberies and they get to the apartment and he's getting his hair done again. And the camera like, does that great 360 shot all the way around and you see all the shit they've taken and then the cops come and it's, you know, he's like washing his hair in the toilet because all the water has been turned off. I mean, that's funny too. Like, you're laughing. You're like, Oh, yeah, he even sees it. He's like, Oh, David, I love that I love that. Prison is a big deal for Malcolm Little slash Detroit red. He gets there and you're kind of seeing pretty quickly that some of what he was displaying out in the street may have been a bit of show because he seems genuinely afraid at times. Like early on. And then he gets thrown into that hole and he's now he's in a sequence in the whole word is lit very deliberately, which is to say you really can't see much him. He's just acting at times with his body, but mostly with his voice. Yeah. This is extremely reminiscent of Raging Bull to me, which is one of the best scenes. De Niro ever has on film when he's stuck in when Jake LaMotta stuck in the hole at the end of that movie. You know why? Why, why, why, why? This is very much like that. Denzel also has another great similar scene in the hurricane when he's in the hole and starts like envisioning different aspects of his personality. But I just want to say right here, this scene, just look at this scene that Denzel in the whole it is better than anything Al Pacino does in Santa Woman. I'm saying it now. It's not the last time I'm going to say it. I Love Al Pacino. You all need to cut me a fucking break anyway. Oh, man, you're throwing shade at Al Pacino. But you won the Oscar. He beat him for the Oscar. Oh, wait a second. Wait, wait. Albert, you fucking asshole. I told you to look at the Oscars on Wikipedia and study them. I know. I thought you said you wanted to keep it a surprise is nothing is a surprise. There's nothing surprises on the stage. And sometimes I thought. Sometimes you're like. You hear shit all right, to be convenient. All right. You know, I didn't make it up. It's come from past thing. I was going to do this and probably an hour from now. Yes, that is the whole thing. Al Pacino won his first and only Oscar for Scent of a Woman in 1992, beating Denzel Washington now. Oh, Al Pacino was no stranger to being screwed over himself. He very famously lost best actor for Godfather two to Art Carney, for Harry and Tonto. Not a bad movie. This does happen. And then it trickles down and it's like, oh, well, then that person loses. I mean, essentially this happened to Denzel because most of us agree that the movie he won his Oscar for was a cool movie and a compelling performance. Training Day does not contain Denzel Washington's best performance. And that's the movie he won best actor for. But this is bullshit, man. I just don't know how you don't award like this like I was. Yeah, but I thought that's why I thought we were saving this conversation. No, I mean, it's because I knew he didn't win right? I knew he didn't win, but I didn't know that he lost Al Pacino for that. And for those reasons, it's something we all talked about in hindsight. But he wasn't favored to win. Malcolm X was not. Roger Ebert loved it. Roger Ebert loved a lot of Spike's early movies. This movie was not not a lot of people went to go to the theaters to see it. And it was a very dangerous film, at least before it was released. Malcolm X, I'm talking about, got two Oscar nominations total two. It's it fucking ridiculous. It's ridiculous. People. What were the two costume design best actor that was too I guess you also got to remember we're in 1992 Hollywood, which is I mean, the Oscars were racist, is all fucking till like 2014. I'm not even making a joke. Like, that's serious. They still to this day have awarded four black men best actor. Like it's there are disparities and they weren't going to give a movie like this that much credit because it was it was quite honestly. So the good old boys running the show, the movie that won best picture and best director is a movie I like a lot Unforgiven, but that is about as traditional in Hollywood as you get for a movie. That's just the way it is. This is bullshit, man. I could do a whole year where I put my knife. I could do a whole podcast on this. You got to keep that in. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it's like this forever. Where's my knife? I've a very, very active brain, and I, when we podcasts, I have to fidget with something I can't. So I have a Swiss army. Do you have a knife? Have a Swiss army knife? Not the best thing to fidget with, but it kind of. Anyway, back to the movie. Here he goes off to prison. Malcolm X, We'll get to the Oscars and we have about 2 hours to go here. Yeah, we're on track. Precedent is a very big deal for Malcolm X, Detroit Red. This is where he meets Baynes and Baynes in this film is played by Albert Hall. You may recognize him he's one of the guys on the boat in Apocalypse Now. Oh yeah there is another man. He's really good in that. But oh my God he just. Larry He just embodies this guy. Baynes so well where when we meet him, he's like, he's just trying to help him and I always think like he's there at first. Malcolm's like, Yo, what's your angle, man? Like, Who are you? Like, Why are you paying attention to me? Like, is this should I be concerned? I mean, don't know what this is. And he introduces him into the Muslim faith and the Nation of Islam, which Malcolm X very quickly becomes an eager of. And this sequence, the whole Bain sequence, is really quite something like it's long, but it has its own musical suite. Again, Albert Hall is just so convincing in the scene and you really understand how Malcolm could pause long enough to listen to this Baynes guy. Yeah, because he's never had anyone to explain really. Religion or another religion before. I mean, Baynes is explanation of how black people are viewed in America. So succinct and so captivating and he basically just like establishes an entire history of people like using their own work against him like that shit with the dictionary. It blew my fucking mind when I was young. Of course, the first thing I did ran down to the basement, opened the family dictionary, and I was like, Holy shit, That's what it says. Like, that's. Yeah, that's weird. Like what? That I had never considered that before in the dictionary. And you see that, you know, neither had Malcolm Little and it's just he's like, Wait, can't this can't be right. And I love that because it's always it's been established by this point in the film. Definitely. This is a very intelligent guy. Malcolm X was an incredibly intelligent person and you see how quickly he takes to something and how when he comes to understand the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, how he can then use that in his life and become a leader for this cause. It's so convincing is my point. It is. And it's also it does something to that, you understand, I think, because it's really easy for, you know, when telling the story of the movie, like why does this Baines guy come up to Malcolm Baynes is looking I mean, he you can see him in other scenes. He's talking any black man that's willing to listen. Yeah. Oh, yeah. But he sees something in Malcolm and he's actively going to, to try to find this because he's right ultimately like, oh yes, this kid does have the intelligence, He's got this charisma, he's got this neat thing. It's very easy to understand why this guy goes out of his way to find him and to then basically sell him on this religion. The things that they're talking about here, this is this is how I feel like this movie is. And I'm not going to use the word dangerous because, like, Yeah, And to be clear, if I've that word, that's how it was viewed by the press. By the white press before the white press. This is not a dangerous film. This is a necessary film. Yeah, no, it's a necessary film. In my reading of Malcolm's transformations, he may not be referred to as Malcolm X when he's still in prison, but that transformation happens because Baynes gets sent. And then we see him. And one of like again, talking about humor when they're sitting there watching Christopher Plummer, you know, in the little the chapel in prison and, Malcolm kind of leans over he like raises raises his hand to interrupt. And that fellow prisoner leans over to Malcolm. He goes, Hey, watch it. This cat is heavy on religion. It's so funny to me. It's like a priest. And he's like, This guy is heavy on religion. Like, Oh my God. And then Malcolm right there, that's where we really see Malcolm X being born, that he's going to challenge this guy. He knows he's getting out soon. He's changed his look. You know, he's got he's not concerned with straight hair anymore. All that stuff. Know you're going to stop putting that mess in your body, Stop with that pork. Stop. That's all the education that Baynes is giving him. But now he's out. Now we come to one of the most one of the scenes that should have won him the Oscar. I'll get off that train It's not Al Pacino's fault he should have won an Oscar earlier or whatever. I'll let it go. I'll let it go, I'll let it go. I'll carry your burden because I'm not letting it go. Right is when he meets al Freeman Jr playing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which is one of the best performances i have ever seen in a biopic. Because if you look up this guy and look at speeches of him, the voice, the way he acts, I thought this was the real guy. The first time I saw this movie, I was like, Is this really him? I mean, it was just it was so believable. And then if you go look at Al Freeman, Junior and other stuff, like he was a soap star, this is just not how he behaves. And this is such a good performance. I mean, there are aspects of it that are tough and, you know, Spike Lee had to be careful with like this was the part that he was challenged on the most, like don't mess up the portrayal of Elijah Muhammad. And this was not a person with a crystal clear track record, which is the same can be said for Malcolm X. These weren't perfect people. That's what makes the movie so good, is that they showcase all of this. It could have gone a lot harder on Elijah Muhammad, but they don't. They you know, it comes up when it needs to come up. But in the very beginning, this meeting that we've talked about, the posture, the look, the tears than any and he's narrating it, Oh my God, it's just brilliant. And you really see that we have seen this by this point. We've seen person change to become here he is 90 minutes in. He is just fully Cooke And is Malcolm X just no crossover from like the historical figure I've seen footage of to Denzel Washington on screen in this movie. It's crazy when you're watching him in these scenes. The it's he's just so captivating that you just have to see it. Yeah Toward the beginning of this section of the movie, we get that great long pan shot where it's Malcolm and then it cuts through. And right now, like on almost on, like a soapbox or like a stoop. And then it pans over to that's Bobby Seale, one of the founding members of the Black Panthers. And it pans over to a young Al Sharpton, then it pans over again to Malcolm X. That's that's. But then you see they're just all in their little like ladders or boxes or something. And then it's just a few minutes later when Malcolm's giving that speech. And, you know, this this goes to how well made the film. It's like he's giving that speech out on the street and it's that great crane shot. It's just holding holding. And then right when Denzel is Malcolm is about to say a black man, it cuts to a lower angle and it's just fucking perfect. It has a neon in the background and boom, you punch in right for that line delivery. That's how we're being taken care of by a master. So we're getting this masterful performance in the hand of someone who's making the exact movie he wants to make. Yeah, I made it this far without mentioning the name Berry Alexander Brown, who has edited most of Spike Lee's movies, including this one. He did a remarkable job. We talked about this on the 24 hour, 25th hour commentary. He came up with the double hug. That's his idea. And you see it kind of start here, especially when like Malcolm and Shorty are reunited, kind of in that, you know, in that small box. Yeah, they do the double hug thing. And that's that's a huge staple of Spike Lee's movies. But I love that Berry Alexander Brown came up with that. But he's so instrumental in how this movie's put together. Like, what's great is that as Malcolm X is becoming more notable and becoming Malcolm X, we get little snippets of how all the former people from his life, where are they now? And this leads to a reunion with with West Indian Archie, who appears to have like had a stroke and it's this really touching reunion. But then as soon as that scene is done, that's when we meet Angela Bassett. So he's like literally closing these chapters. We're not going to see Shorty again. We're not going to see Delroy Lindo again. Now, Betty Shabazz comes in and it's just it's like, that's perfect movie construction. We've closed this one door now we've opened a major another one. Oh, I love it. And it's great, too, because it would be very easy for that scene with Delroy Lindo to not even be there. Yeah, because the chapter could have been closed. Yes, exactly we get this chapter and it says so much because one, we we see where Malcolm, the last time they were together, where he's come from and now unfortunately for Archie he's not in a good spot. No, but without that scene for Archie, Archie doesn't have that art that the character needs. And has it. Bassett has it like he does. Spike Lee does a great job at taking care of all of these very important side characters and making sure that they're not just here to appease the the lead performance. That's what I mean. Like the movie doesn't feel like it's ABC filmmaking, it's organic. It just it flows so well, it flows so well. And the editing even even going back just to like the the dancing. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Watching the editing of that whole entire sequence is perfect, perfectly edited movie. So you know, what's cool about Barry Alexander Brown is that he's known Spike for so long that Spike trusts him that he does a lot of different things on set. So he would often be the second unit camera operator. So he would be out there like doing shots. Editors are usually just like cooped away in their editing suite, but for he goes for me to be on set, not all the time. Yeah. And not being given a ton of direction by Spike, just like don't be in frame and don't be pointing out what the camera is pointing at. So that's really cool and like going out and shooting stuff. So he has really good insight into what, you know, what he thinks, what takes will be best. But yeah, this is an ingeniously edited film, even at 3 hours and 21 minutes. I love it all. And yeah, moves, Baby moves and that's in Spike Lee talks about that like this isn't just a long movie because he wanted it to be, though. He wanted this to just as long as possible because it needs to have that way. And without it that's what I mean. Like we're not going to get these transformations and then feeling as organic as they do if it's a shorter movie. And then even better to my point of like a ten hour mini series. Can't do what this movie does. No, this is just on another level. So he meets Betty Shabazz and that's starting. You know, we're getting a love interest off the ground and it's a very real and genuine love interest, not something it's about power or control. But then that's interrupted with this one. The most amazing set pieces Spike Lee's ever done, which is the Brother Johnson set piece in which Malcolm finds out that a black guy has been beaten very badly and is essentially just rotting away in a police station. And he forms people together and they go rescue him and take him to the hospital in the way this is staged, constructed, scored, acted. That great kicker line from Peter Boyle. In the end, it's just like yeah, all timer line delivery. And he was handpicked to do that by Spike Lee. Spike Lee's like I knew Peter could do it and it's just yeah, it's a great sequence and I remember seeing that as a kid and it was so iconic to me because I think the first clips I ever saw from the movie might have been something on TV, like just all those guys marching together and of course, like putting up their hand to stop and then just like point in his face and they all go one direction. The best is where they're at. The police station. And he's like, I suggest you look outside, the cop looks outside, they all just look up at the exact same time and you can barely hear the sound of like their shirts all moving their clothing. And he's like, I think you better come see this. Oh, it's great. It's great. I just love that sequence. I wanted to call that sequence out specifically. It's when we really get to see, like Malcolm X does have power. And in the words of Peter Boyle, that's too much power for one man to have. But here it is. This is how influential and important he was. I think this is the height. Why that scene feels so powerful. Yeah, because, like, this is the heights in this like 20 minute stretch. He does, he does this Brother Johnson march he gives that. I don't even know what the hell you call that speech when he's on the stage and, you know, Elijah Muhammad's like sitting right there with his glasses on. You know, he's clearly like, has lost his voice or is losing his voice. I say, I don't know what to call that because it where his voice goes in the registers, he takes that it's like wild. It's insane. And Spike Lee tells it's amazing story about how Denzel basically, like, went out and was like saying stuff that wasn't scripted and it was just in this zone of Malcolm X and essentially to like a fugue state and didn't remember doing it. And he asked Spike like, Yeah, I did. I did say, Oh, he was locked in. When you when you're playing somebody that you have the opportunity to give speeches like that where you are really displaying in front of a large audience, you know, I could see how that would happen, where you would just it's like, Oh, yeah, you're so caught up in what you're doing and saying and you're so locked in because you've done all that work. You just get to just like let go. Absolutely. I mean, this sequence is like really good set piece after set piece. We get the Brother Johnson thing, and then there's that great montage of him watching those civil rights activists being beaten on TV. And I think some people it's so funny sometimes to go into IMDB goofs and it's like, you fucking idiots. Like, you just didn't give it the movie was doing because a lot of that stuff that he's watching took place after Malcolm X's assassination. But I'm like, Set the point. The point is that he's just watching bad stuff happen. It doesn't mean he's watching. No one put together like a highlight reel in the fifties and like, did all this on TV one time. It's, you know, it's fantastical to show racism is alive and well in America anyway. Anyway, it's not a goof Anyway. There's that sequence, which is great, and then it's cross cut with him giving that speech on stage. I talked about where his voice is all horse. Then he goes on that TV program. Another huge deal for me as a young kid, because I never knew that there were different, quote unquote, types of slaves and I never heard them described that way. And again, that that was not something they taught us in rural Virginia. And I remember seeing that. And I've gone and like found that that actual interview now on the Internet and it's like it's so accurate to the way he was playing it. I love that scene. I really do. Yeah. It's it's shocking stuff, too. Like, it's it's important stuff. Another personal favorite scene of mine. I wrote about it. You know, I had this column on my blog called My Favorite Scene. And I would typically pick a scene that, like not a lot of people talked about. And the one I wrote about specifically was the Columbia student scene walking up to give his speech yet. And that white woman stops him and very earnestly is like, you know, as a white person who agrees with everything you're saying, like, what can I do to help you and help your cause? And he's you know, she stopped Malcolm X from walking like he's giving her the time of day. His men are standing around, they're all watching and he's, you know, nodding his head and he smiles and she's like, What can I do? He takes that perfect beat and says nothing and walks away. And that's a it's a big point. And he in the book as well, because he really regretted that in hindsight. That's what's so great about the book. I should have mentioned this as we've been going, is that as he changes in the book, his rhetoric changes with him. So the entire book is not written from the perspective of 1964, 65 is when he writes it as if when he was in his most separation. It's vibe like black people and white people need to be separate. You feel that coming through. It's written like he was writing it right then like I am angry now even though he wrote it all with the help of Alex Haley in one succinct period of time. That's what so ingenious is that you actually feel him changing the exact same way. You feel him changing in the movie. Yeah. That Columbia student scene is just. Oh, I love that. I love that so much. That's Like one of those scenes where you could like that doesn't do anything for the movie. Like if you were to like, edit, if you were to look at a movie and be like, All right, what scenes don't need to be here? Well, this scene doesn't really actually move the plot forward in any sort of way. Well, I hope that if a bond company theoretically were to gain control of the movie in post-production, that might be a scene they would cut. We could say that theoretically that would be a scene they would cut exactly it. But to have that scene because the impact that comes out off of that is huge. Yeah, I'm so glad you brought that scene up because I was going to and I was like, That scene is just so, so powerful in such a short little. Oh, God, yeah, that's one of my favorites. But yes, in episode 55, which is crazy that it was that long ago we did our favorite movie arguments episode. I loved that one I mentioned ranked very highly for me is the soul argument. And Malcolm and Betty have the reason I like it so much is that it is a necessary argument and it does provoke change. Yes, he has blinders on. Yeah, he is not viewing Elijah Muhammad in his full capacity because he has. Again, this is a guy who saved his life and this is what he's challenging his wife with. How dare you talk and speak slander on this man? But there are things written about Elijah Muhammad in particular that he is sleeping with a number of women to have children. And then basically, just like disregarding the women, these are rumors that are newspapers rumors that as soon as Malcolm starts to investigate, he finds her true. He goes to the women and hears their stories. And then he goes to Elijah Muhammad. He's like, It's my job to spread my seat. This is. And it's like, Huh, Yeah. And this is a major, major turning point in Malcolm X's life because, well, okay, we'll get there. We'll focus on just the argument for now. Yeah. I mean, obviously it's something you had heard about a bit because I had been talking about it, but I would love to hear kind of your thoughts on it holding for long takes and just going up. It's the first time you see him get mad since the beginning, you know, what is this Baines! Baines. Baines. Oh, my God. Baines. Baines. Oh, my God. But again, why I love it is that what is on the table is not. I'm going to divorce you. I don't love you. That's not on the table. It's on the table. Is light of my life. Love of my life. Look at the full picture here, please. And it works. It's a necessary argument. I love it. I love it. Where was her Oscar nomination? Idiots. I. I had my reaction to that scene was so funny because when I was watching it. I was so in the scene that I had even forgotten that you had brought that up in that episode. And when the scene was over, I let literally go. Why the fuck did Alex bring this up on? And I go, Oh, that's right. That's he was taught that. That's all it all it all was all come And that's all I was like For a guy who likes this movie as much as he says he does, argument seems real good. What I liked about it. Well, everything that you just said, it's very true. Like the the the love was not in question here, Right? This Is the situation that we are in as a loving unit. That was the point of it was for her to just be like, open your eyes and look what's really going on. But then there were other things. Yeah, real things like you don't ever see your kids. Yup, you don't. You like, you know, I do everything and yes, like that's, not the point, but, you know, since we're here. Yes, since we never argue ever and have never had an argument, I'm going to lay this out on the table, too. And that's her right. Like he said, you know, when we got together, I travel a lot all this, but now it's like and yeah, yes, you do travel a lot. Yes, I love you. You just have a really good message. But you need to see who you are traveling for because everything that comes out of your mouth is preceded by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. That's how he would introduced the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that playing point blank. That's how he's always. So she's like, Who are you telling yourself to hear? You need to take a closer look at that. Yeah. And I love the love when when he's like, What do you want me to do? Mm hmm. He's angry because he's feeling defensive. So all of these elements of, you know, not they're not they're not flaws, but they are elements of who he is that we see more apparently in his past, that he's really done a lot of work to kind of check himself with, are coming up here for him. But he's still keeping himself in a certain place that he's matured into. But even when he's like asking, what do you want me to do? He's actually asking from a place of sincerity. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And then when she just says, Open your eyes, you can see, like, there's that moment where there's no there's no conversation. He's hit with that and he just has to be like, Maybe I should try that. And then we get the following scenes where he goes and he's interviewing these women and then finds out the truth for himself. But What I also love about the construction of this argument scene is that every time we're in that house, it's so confined. And so he's really having this play out between two rooms where it's the kitchen and then the bedroom. And really the kitchen is just he comes in, she gets up, they talk, she finds her way around him into the bedroom where he follows. They go in, they closer. We don't even see the bedroom. Yeah. Then there's a cut. And then when they cut into the bedroom, the whole argument plays out just in the two shot. I think that first thing you just said was just one shot. Yeah, I think the kitchen. Yeah. This is why I love. This is why I'm studying it so much for what I'm working on next. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. You're feeling the claustrophobia of? Well, I think I think that scenes really from her like point of view, like absolute lust are absolutely feels. And now this is the one time where she gets to say something. But I only get to see it in these two little goddamn rooms because, well, you could boil down my life to these two rooms. And also, this is how blind you are. You are. So you're not seeing the big picture. And we need to get out of this closeted space for you to see it. And it's all metaphoric and, you know, things like that. But. Well, I mean, yeah, I literally studied that argument scene before we shot the I am alive argument scene. Like that was the main template. It didn't really matter to me if you and Mickey, your scene performer, had seen it. Yeah, but that was what I was going after. It was this template, not even in the way I shot it, just in the terms writing it. Love is not on the table here, Love it's there. It's that I'm trying to get you as your love to. For you to open your eyes. Yeah. Something. There's a different way to live here. Trust me. Yeah. It's one of the best argument scenes just ever put on film. Of course I include it. I know, I know. You know, I wonder sometimes. I love it. I love it. I wonder sometimes if it's beneficial when. You're directing. You know why you're doing that. But you're also like you doing everything. You're the cinematographer, you're the writer, you're the director. So you don't necessarily need to explain to your, Oh, hey, we're like the major source of inspiration is the scene from Malcolm X here, because sometimes the actor might watch it and then try to do a like this is exactly the problem I've run into. Yeah, I've run into it. I used to give such hyper specific examples of what I with whatever had on writer, hat, director, hat cinematographer, that was whatever had I had on what I was using as a resource and as a reference and yeah, that can get confusing to some performers, I'll say that. So now I just make it a point with sharing what I think you absolutely need. Like for you. I told you, you have to watch. James White Yeah, exactly. And, and there and like in, in doing that, like I remember even just thinking and like, like people where he's showing me for this the overall character here like there's something that lives in this whole entire performance that if I can connect with and bring it to our scenes, then that's my prep for that. But you're not like, Hey, we're doing this scene from James White, So like, watch this scene. So that way you can know what to do on set when we do this scene because that Yeah, exactly. That's the that's the tricky part. But but if you were working with if someone was your cinematographer, if someone was like you'd have to have those conversations with them. Well, yeah, I'm not going to shoot. Yeah, I'm not shoot my next thing I'm definitely hiring a deep and that that is these are all the conversations we will have. Yeah of course. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So, So there's just a nice little I don't know it's little little side tangent of just kind of like I don't know if I would have won if you would have told me like, hey, you know, this Malcolm X scene, this is exactly what we're doing. I would have been like, maybe I need to watch that. And then I wouldn't have helped. It wouldn't have helped. Would've done anything. I think it would have gotten the way right, Which is why the only thing that was important for me, what I got from that scene, the lesson I got is that love is not on the table. There's an issue on the table, and the woman takes it upon herself to make the love of her life. The man aware of this issue. But the issue is not love issues. Not you cheated on me. This isn't that stuff. It's all coming from a place of love. Yeah, and that's what I committed. And that's exactly that. Yeah. And that's what mattered me saying. I got it from Malcolm X doesn't do anything. It almost every damn thought I have in my head comes from a movie. Yeah. I have to maintain some originality, you know, just. Yeah. Back to Malcolm X that's about to have a tangent because his life is starting to fall apart. Now with the reveal of Elijah Muhammad affairs, things start to collapse a little bit and Malcolm does something. This is really the key turning event in his life and he never officially back from this in terms of how he was viewed within the Nation of Islam. JFK was assassinated and Elijah Muhammad was very clear. Keep your mouths shut. The white man, as he would say, loved this president. Keep your mouth shut. Malcolm X doesn't do that. He's interviewed and very famously says that he views this assassination as having grown up on a farm. The chickens have come home to roost. And this just goes terribly, as you might imagine. I mean, the entire nation was in grave mourning when JFK was assassinated and this did not go well. He gets chewed out by Muhammad. And I in that shootout scene. He reverts back to that posture where he's small again because he's been talking. Him and Muhammad are friends now. You know, it's just it's so it's so believable the way he does it. Very credible, very credible the way his posture goes back like that. Yeah. But before his pilgrimage to Mecca, that's when he breaks away from Nation of Islam. And that cannot be more important to note to Hugh. It's a major turning point in his life. Well, this was the scene that I was going to bring up is one of my favorite scenes of the whole entire movie, because I just feel like you don't ever see things like this when you're talking about like these biopics being unflinching. He's face to face. I mean, yes he fucks up and says what he says. But what happens internally is the betrayal, right? And when he gets out of that and is now basically on his own and, you know, he says he's going to open up his own organization and then he what he does is I just this is such an important thing for us as humans to be able to do, is that he gave himself elements like time to reflect and then goes out publicly and announces what he did wrong or what he believes he did wrong. He's like, I don't feel this way anymore. And this is not in a way to save face. He's announcing what he's doing going forward and admitting that he's wrong or he was wrong when he did and said these things. We don't ever see people do this. I love that. I thought that was just such a real, real moment for any human being to have. And then portrayed in just one scene on the film. I thought that was just so, so powerful. Yeah, the willingness to change and not staying stuck in this ideology of like, Oh, there's just this one guy and I'm going to worship this one guy because I'm told to worship this one guy after he does his own investigation, he's like, This isn't the kind of guy I want to worship. This isn't what I believed in or what I signed up with. Like, so I'm going to go my own way. It'd be just imagine if more people were like that. Oh yeah. And we're slightly more independent digging and we're willing to express a little humility and be like, I was wrong about this, and now I'm going go do what I need to do, which is go, go to the other side of the world. Yeah. And try to, you know, take it upon myself to learn the learn because we don't have to stop learning and that's what leads us right into I call it kind of the final sequence of the film, which is El Haj Malick. El Shabazz, which is what Malcolm X's official name would become after his pilgrimage to Mecca. First were in Cairo, Egypt. They film this for ten days. And and what I like about that is that there's a lot of like eight millimeter footage that is supposed to be from the point of view of like the CIA, which were constantly following Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam around not necessarily like doing anything back. They were just constantly monitoring him. And the FBI but Spike Lee shot all that eight millimeter footage himself. That's kind of cool. And then they were the first group, the first people to ever be allowed to film a 35 millimeter motion picture in Mecca. They had to go to the highest authority imaginable. And that is, oh, my God, what a sequence. I mean, the movie, like, that's something immediately, like they didn't want him to film that. They're like, he's just going to slow the movie down. And he's like, No, we have to show that. And it's such a moving sequence. I mean, when you literally see him have by way of this pilgrimage, the duty of it is to share water, share food with other people who believe in this faith, regardless of if they are white. Not. Yeah. And this is like blowing his mind and you see his hesitation and he can't believe it. It's really this sequence. It made me just absolutely love the movie. It inspires all of this change within. Yeah. And it's such believable change. It's not a contrivance. It's like there's a part of me that's been doing this wrong. There's a part of me that can let more people in, and it doesn't have to be based in so much rhetoric. Yeah, and I love that sequence. I love it. It just looks gorgeous. And the commentary, Lee was like they said we could shoot it on a beach in New Jersey. Yeah. Oh, my God. Like, no. So they went, Oh, looks gorgeous. It looks very authentic because they actually just they actually no green screen on that. No green screen. And we should be kidding. You just kind of have to be holds like that whole entire sequence for everything that it is. Yeah. The voiceover When Angela Bassett is reading the letter to the people. Letter. Yeah. And, and we're getting, you know, and that's, and we're cutting in between like all of that footage and we're hearing those things. I think that's a perfect way of using. I mean, the voiceover is used very well throughout the whole entire movie, but to basically display that type of change, it's all through, for lack of a better term. It's a montage, yeah, for sure. And it's so effective. And I think it's because we're seeing the real thing. So this change that he's going through that's voiced by Angela Bassett through the writing of what, you know, Malcolm is said to her and then the footage that we're seeing, it's a perfect combination of just deliver a point. But then filmmaking wise for all of us to kind of just be in awe of what we're seeing and hearing. It is he comes back, he does the press conference, he's got a little beard now and then unfortunately for him for the rest of the movie, things are not going well. He is terrorized by members of his former organization. They burn his house down again, callback to. Yeah, well, actually, this was written in the script. I was going to say callback to Berry Alexander Brown, but it was written in the script. It when his house is burning down, we're crosscutting when his house as a child was being burnt down, it's oh my God. Talk about effective. It's just it's so great we literally get like this cycle that has not ended. It's just Yeah, ongoing. Yeah. Such a terrifying scene. And then oh my God that quick, quick sequence, looking at all the assassins cleaning their weapons, we're like, we're really getting this foreboding sense of doom. It's I do not know what the sequence was the first, second, or maybe even third time I saw it, but we see all those assassins, like in the ballroom, scouting it out the night before, and there's music playing, and everyone's happy, and they're just walking around, like, looking for the exits. You're like, Oh, God, what is going on here? And then as his life starts to begin to unravel, the movie gets a little more experimental. Like when he's in the hotel room in oh, 360 of the fucking head and go upside down. And it totally works like it shouldn't, but it totally works. Yeah. As a change is going to come by, Sam Cooke starts, we get, of course, the pioneering use of the Double Dolly, which Spike Lee is so infamous for. We just see Malcolm kind of just floating in might it might be the best use of that technique he's ever used in a movie, like floating to his imminent death. Because we should say that he was pretty aware that death was coming, that at least assassination attempts, this was when he was assassinated. That was not the first attempt on his life, certainly not the first threat. And they show that in the film. A little bit of knowingness that like this is probably going to happen and probably going to happen today. And what will be will be essentially. But I just yeah, leading into this, I mean, the whole change is going to come sequences like that's the tears start to build up for me. That's when I know it's coming. It's it's tough. It's a great sequence. It's, it, it really is. It's, it's, it's masterful, really. And there's one shot when he's in the hotel room that I really loved it. The 360 shot over the head. But then also the when he's talking to Angela Bassett on the phone and he's sitting in the bed and then the camera pans and then it cuts to the mirror and he's just sitting there and and just I love that. I thought that was such a such a really good shot. Yeah. He's talking to his wife. And as he keeps talking, he says something to the effect of like, I think a lot of people are going to be listening and a lot of people are going to be watching. He's basically revealing it like, Yeah, you government assholes, I know you put a bug my room. Yeah, like, I know it's here in the mirror kind of slightly pans over and you see it just reflected in there. Yeah. And I think a lot of people are listening again. I mean, even when he's in the ballroom and he says to his guy, you know, it's time for Martyr's now. It's like he kind of had an idea of where perhaps this day was going to go. And I also love when he he his voice back there backstage when he finds out, well, this person's going to be late and he gets mad. Yeah, seem like it worked up. But then he takes the time to apologize to that woman and the woman who was present. And he's like, I shouldn't have, you know, behaved like that. I just. Yeah, I love that. Because, again, this is what I love about the movie, just because he went to Mecca and changed, he could still get angry. Yeah. All flashes of anger. Everyone can have a little flash of anger. Tell no one's really going to judge you for raising your voice over a pretty tense day in a private situation. But hey, the apology is nice and he takes the time to apologize. And I really, really love that. And now, God, I went Skip Gatorade over Giancarlo Esposito. Oh, yeah. Well, people will know from Breaking Bad. And later, Better Call Saul. But he was in a lot of early Spike movies and a ton you know he played a bug and out and do the right thing and here he is as an assassin who we first see, you know, when he's clean in his guns and he's in the Autobahn ballroom the night before. But when Malcolm's daughter drops it all and picks it up and hands it back to her, then you see his face more from a smiling guy to a killer. You're like, Oh, my God. And then a few things about the assassination. It was very difficult to film. It weighed very heavily for everyone on set. They did do it last. Yeah. Because, you know, kind of have to and as it was leading up to it, you could feel like it weighing on the set. And then this is insane. This is one of the most insane facts about this movie. The entire assassination They filmed in one day. One day. Wow. All of it. I don't know how you would do all that in one day. Running and gunning. Yeah. Wild it's it's a really tough scene to watch. It's a tough thing to watch in a PG 13 movie and the way they run up to him and he gets that really faint is which people say really happened is, you know I mean, it's just terrible and it's it's it's very well done the way it needs be done. It's not I don't think it goes over the top. They're terrible. It's very brutal. But it's not it's not grotesque. No. You looked that, you know, and and really, the way Bassett handles that. She's just breaking down and trying to save him. As soon as those cops walk in, those fucking cops, that's exactly how they came in. Like they were investigating a disturbance at a carnival. They're walking it all slow. Multiple people dead on the floor, guy dead on stage. She maintains control and she doesn't. She refuses to sob in front of them. And it's like a guard, you know, was about to happen, right? It's not like, oh, what's going to happen here? That's not where the dramatic conflict is. It's it's in this is this is going to go I think my part of this, you know, like the most is just the way that I took it was when those cops come in and we look at Bassett's face, she's almost like she's not crying. But there's almost like a defiant look, too, in a way. Oh. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I thought that was just a very, very interesting and and choice to make. And yeah, I think the whole entire time you're watching, you just don't want it to happen. You just. Yeah. I want to circle back real quick to a change is going to come because this has a long legacy in Hollywood movies as it relates to Malcolm X. It's used very well leading up to his assassination in this film in a great montage. It is used very well When Muhammad Ali learns that Malcolm X has died and Ali, it begins playing over the soundtrack. And that has to be directly from Spike Lee is Malcolm X. It has to be Then if anyone remembers in Soul A Night in Miami, directed by Regina King. That movie in part posits that Malcolm X pushed Sam Cooke to actually make meaningful music. Stop making this Bobby show dance stuff and make something meaningful. And the reason why that movie is so impactful for me is that Sam Cooke hears this and performs a change is going to come on stage and he cries on stage, and that nod from Malcolm X is being like, Yep, yep. So this I'm getting fucking goosebumps again. Jesus. So song is very important to select the Malcolm X in the movie's legacy. And I love, I love tracking it like that. It's like if you're going to going to talk about Malcolm X in your movie, you got to use the change is going to come. Yeah. And I'll never be tired of hearing that song. With Malcolm X, now deceased, this movie does something very intelligent, which is that it does not show Denzel Washington to us. Again, it's Malcolm X's announced dead. We go pretty quickly into a eulogy that was given at Malcolm X's funeral by Ossie Davis. Ossie Davis is a very well known civil rights leader. He, of course, played the mayor in Do the Right Thing, and he actually gave the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral. And now he does it again for the movie. And I talked about this in episode 69, movies that make us cry. This is one of the most moving things I've ever seen in a movie. That eulogy mixed with all these great pictures of Malcolm, the real Malcolm smiling is with people. And then it ends. Nelson Mandela. Yeah, this was the first time he was ever in a major movie that wasn't a documentary giving a very, very famous speech. But he wisely did not want to say the last line of the speech, which was probably the most famous line that Malcolm X used time and time again, which was by any means necessary. And that's the only time we hear the real Malcolm X in the movie, is that as Nelson Mandela is giving that speech to these kids, it's all one shot and it cuts that low angle of him. And then boom, we cut the matching footage of Malcolm X by any means necessary. Cue the credits. Yeah, and you've got one of the best movies I've ever seen. But, I mean, tell me about that eulogy to you, because that eulogy is something I talked about a lot to you because I talk about it on podcasts. And I was like, I cannot tell you how impactful that was to me because I never seen that. I didn't know you were allowed to do that in a movie. Like, Yeah, for 5 minutes you go and you show the real person like, This is wild. So yeah, your take on that well, again too, is like so many of these things were me watching this movie. I was just so taken by what was actually happening as I was watching it, it only occurred to me after it was over that you had spoken about these things. So like the argument like this was another one where it was like when it was happening, I was just in it. I thought it was a great way for the movie to kind of end itself with it's showing us the real person, even in just this sort of like highly edited state to really poignantly kind of just wrap up with this was a real person, just to remind you, you know, let's get out of movie land and go into this is why we even made this was because of this person. I think that's what I felt about it, was that I was like, this was a very, very intentional point to make about this person. Calvin having Nelson Mandela really kind of close it out, I was just like, I couldn't believe that. I was like, Whoa ho, yeah, shit. Okay, that's how it's supposed to hit. And it does. I mean, even as a young kid, I knew that was it. It was like, Whoa, whoa, here he is. I mean, you're bringing it in, like the heavy hitters. Yeah, yeah. The movie on. Yeah, yeah. Crazy. Oh, my God. It's so moving. Yeah, it. It's something that with the movie, just. There's. There's not one bad scene. There's not one scene that doesn't feel intentional. There's not one You never bored. Never, never. And and it never. It never lets up. It never, never ceases to amaze. And it is rewatchable, I'm telling you, like it stays in my head and you get so much more from it the more you rewatch it. Like, for instance, this was the first time I never realized that you remember that really cute montage of all the kids going, I am Malcolm X. Oh, yeah, yeah. First kid who stands up as John David Washington, son of Denzel. Oh, that's fucking. And if you pause that, it looks just like him. And when when Denzel walks Laura home, Theresa Randall and her mom opens the door and he's like, kind of standing there, and it's like, awkward. And he's like, Goodnight, Mrs. Johnson. That's Denzel's mom and everything. So that's kind of cool. That's cool. Little stuff like that. Yeah, little stuff sprinkled throughout. There's and there's thankfully, people are still talking about this movie. There's always stuff to learn. I'm going to tell one more bit of trivia about the movie that I've alluded to, and then we're going to talk briefly about Oscars and then we're going to get to what are you watching here? Because everyone's been very kind and sticking with us for this long. So Warner Brothers footed the bill for this movie and they Spike Lee, 28 million to make it. And he knew going into it that's not going to be enough money. But he starts anyway. And so by post-production, the money is run out and Lee's used up 28 million of it. He needs five more to finish the movie. For a total of $33 million, Lee puts up 2 million of his own money and then because you've got to remember. So when they get into post-production and the money runs out, the fucking bond company now owns the movie. They own it and they're not paying anyone. No one's getting paid, no post-production. People are getting paid at all and they're saying, contractually, you owe us a two hour and 15 minute movie. So if this if you don't come up with this money, that's what we're going to cut this into. Who knows who the hell they'd get to cut it. So Spike Lee does something that I don't know if it had been done before, certainly not publicly. He calls up the most a lot of the most prominent black people in America, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Prince, Janet Jackson, Oprah say Tracy Chapman and more. I'm not saying it. I'm not saying that I skipped it on purpose. I skipped it on purpose. He doesn't need any credit. No. He asks all these people to give not a loan not a charitable right off donation, just literally like money to fund to be able to finish the movie. And they gave it to him. And that's why we Spike Lee's Malcolm X not the bond companies. Yeah, Malcolm X. And this may also be why that Spike Lee has gone on to have a great career. He's an Oscar winner. He's still making movies today and has never works with Warner Brothers again. Yeah, yeah. Maybe part of the reason why. But yeah, hey, to hell with you for trying to get me to say that. And it's if you're going to if you're going to burn a bridge, you know, I think this is one of those situations where, you know, like, you realize what you're making is too important if his career is over. But he got to make this the way that he wanted to make like he did. That's worth it, I think. Well, he said he got that directly from Malcolm X, literally by any means necessary. Yeah, it's like I had to behave a little bit like him to get this movie finally done. You know, we've talked for a long time, but it just it wasn't an easy movie for Spike to make. And no, it's not like it went on to make $300 million. And when ten Oscars, it didn't happen. It's legacy happen with really positive word of mouth. And you can keep going back to it. There's more and more to see. Denzel Washington helps a lot. Cinematography helps a lot, score Everything does everything in the movie. It just it's Spike Lee's movie. It's Spike Lee joint, all these fucking Oscars. All right. Well, we already talked about a little bit. We don't need to belabor the point. I wanted to know, just spitball. What You would have nominated this for. Oh, you nominated for anything? I've ten I've taken total. And that's me being I would have given it more. But that's me being gracious. Let me run through my picture. Come on, Director. Come on. Actor did get nominated. It's a good supporting actress, Angela Bassett. The only reason why I was critical of her Wakanda forever nomination and she was like, There was a while there when she was favored to win and she did it. And this woman deserved an Oscar long ago. I would have given it to her for boys in the hood, for this, for What's Love got to do with it. Sure. Nominated her adapted screenplay. Cut Me a break Score. Yes. Art direction. Are you kidding? Cinematography, costume design, which it got and finally editing. Edit It should have gotten all of those ten nominations, but yeah, it just got to completely agree. 1992 baby and should have won the majority of them. Yeah. I don't know what else would have been but I like this would have gone for diction. See if I can do this. Oh 92 is like Unforgiven, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End. I still like this would have gotten picture like for me. Oh yeah. Oh, I mean, it's one of my favorite of that decade. Very highly. Everything else I had to talk about was kind of touched on along the way. I cannot recommend this 4K criterion set enough. Just if you are a fan of that movie, it will absolutely be worth the buy. There's so many good special features on it as well. But yeah, we've kept people here long enough. Obviously we're big fans of Malcolm X. I said the only rule for what are you watching is that you weren't allowed to pick Malcolm X, so we're going to do what you watch A here. I would never give it to me but Double down in the one movie that we've talked about this entire time. I've never done that. It'd be terrible. I do. I am recommending a movie that I know we actually have spoken about even today, but even we've spoken about this movie back in 2020 when it came out. Regina King's one. I am a good one. Good pick. Yeah. When I first saw that movie that Kingsley Ben-adir was performances, Malcolm X was my favorite performance of that same Oh, he's so good. And I had not seen Malcolm X this movie, obviously, until now. I just remember being so intrigued by this person. I keep coming to you. I'm like, So, like, what the hell was the deal? Like he like he really did this with Muhammad Ali, like, right. And you were like, Yeah, that's not even like to even touch the surface on, like, everything else that, like, he was doing outside of his work with Muhammad Right. And we haven't even Jesus, we haven't even mentioned really Muhammad Ali, like on this podcast a lot, because it's not a big part of this movie, which is to say back to your way, your point a long time ago, like you have to cut something. Yeah. Because in Michael Mann's Ali, their relationship was very important. It was important to both him, but that relationship was very important to that specific movie. And I would definitely use that film as additional reading and the one you're talking about as additional reading to Spike Lee's. Malcolm X Yeah, and that's exactly why I'm bringing it up, because it's it's a really, really good movie. It's a really cool movie. I love that. I yeah, I just love that idea that you took all of these the some of the most prominent black men in history and put them all in a hotel. It's just I loved it. I loved it. Good, good, good. Right. Okay. I'm actually going to do a double feature, too. I'm going to do some a little different because I haven't rewatched these, but I am going to rewatch them very, very shortly. So I'm going to do a Spike Lee double feature here. Now, one of them, the first one they're made back to back is Summer of Sam. It's a movie I've seen a lot. It's absolutely wild. It might be his most sexually explicit movie and just his overall grittiest. It's it's really good, but something I cannot fathom. A major American studio releasing today. I did not realize I got a really nice Blu ray release in 2020, like late 2020. A few of this movie said, so I just bought that. It hasn't arrived yet, but he does a commentary for it with John Link was I'm very excited for that I never heard it so I'm really really thrilled about that. And my second one, this is the one arrived in my own words is bamboozled which he made in the year 2000. Now, this is a movie about a black TV producer who hates his job and wants to get fired. So he comes up with a sitcom show about blackface. And much to was surprised they make it and the show's smash hit. So this is a movie all about blackface. This was when I saw this movie. I was way too young to understand the cultural significance of what that is meant on film and how damaging that is. I just didn't know that the first time I saw it. And for that reason, I don't believe I viewed it with the correct lens just too young of a lens. I also didn't know that Criterion has that film and they released So it's not a blind buy because I have seen the movie, but I've only seen it once in Spike Lee as a commentary on this one too. So I just blind bought it and was like, That's my new double feature going to be, you know, I'll probably do probably do both without the commentary and the both with the commentary, you know. Oh, this was a lot of fun. I'm really glad to in the air. This was this is a yeah, I can't thank you enough for furthering always always my film education but also yeah also I mean straight That's the you know like with this POV we hope that this does this for you guys to the mad movie buffs like it, but for all the ones who are me like, like just seen him for the first time it it it's truly something remarkable and important film really encourage people to watch it for the first time or if it's been a few decades, if it's been a while, put it on again. It won't steer you wrong. You're going to learn a lot from it. And there's just a lot of really good filmmaking in it. And of course, we want to know if you watch it. If you've seen it, you love it. We want to know. Tell us on Twitter, on Instagram, on letterboxd, a w a y w underscore podcast. But as always, thanks for listening and happy watching. As Brother Malcolm served with declared our right on this and then to be a human being to be given the rights of a human being, to be respected as a human being in this society, on this earth in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means. Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening. You can watch my films and read my movie blog at Alex Withrow dot com. Nicholas Dose Dotcom is where you can find all of Nick's film work. Send us mailbag questions at what are you watching podcast at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at w aiw underscore podcast. Nick and I only have one movie in common on our top ten favorite films of all time. And next time we're dedicating an entire episode to Michael Cimino's disturbing masterpiece, The Deer Hunter. Stay Tuned.