Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making of “School Daze”

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What do the critics have to say?

After the success of Lee’s debut work, She’s Gotta Have It, New York Times critic Janet Maslin was particularly disappointed in School Daze.

This is the lead sentence from her review of the film:

FROM the intimate, funny sexual battleground on which Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It unfolded, Mr. Lee has moved on to bigger, bolder and messier ambitions.

She went on to dismiss the film as “sophomoric.”

Reading the full review, it’s easy to see that Janet probably just didn’t know enough about black life and culture to understand the film’s gravity and treatment of serious topics. Lee, never one to remain silent, made sure to make that fact known. In response to Macklin’s review, Lee wrote a passionate. and angry letter.

“Ms. Maslin probably considers the numbers in Chorus Line, Flashdance and Footloose great cinema. What does she know about song and dance? I bet she can’t even dance, does she have rhythm?

“Do me a favor, don’t review my work anymore.” (Source)

But as usual, Ebert got it. He actually noted that there was an authenticity in School Daze that was missing from other films.

“Spike Lee’s School Daze is the first movie in a long time where the black characters seem to be relating to one another, instead of to a hypothetical white audience.”

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