Saturday, February 28, 2009


This is one of Spike Lee's lesser known films (from 1994), I believe, and I tried several years ago to watch it, but it seemed to start kind of slow, and I never got past the beginning. However, I checked it out again from the library and watched it straight through, and I'd have to say that it was quite a touching little film. Essentially, it is about a family coming of age (loosely based on Spike Lee's youth) in Brooklyn in the 1970's. It has a bittersweet, somewhat sad ending, but the family goes on with life in spite of the sadness. What I think I really liked about it was that it reminded me in some ways of my own growing up. Although I grew up in Denver and not Brooklyn, I remember the same time period as a kid, and that our family too was a struggling, working-class family, who materially did not have much, but we did have each other as in the film. Those memories of that time period are some of the best of my life, and we always talk of those times very fondly, although in those times things sometimes could be quite tense and serious. As in the beginning of Charles Dickens novel, "A Tale of Two Cities" (which I had to read in the 7th grade, in this time period, and which remains a favorite novel), that starts with, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", those long ago days, perhaps now idealized, contained much of what happens in all time periods, both the best and the worst.

The soundtrack to this film (except for #1 and #14) is a huge part of setting the tone of that period. The songs move from vignette to vignette in the film, and are derived from perhaps my favorite music period. It was a simpler time, both for a kid, and for the times themselves, as the film itself seems to relay.

1. Crooklyn - The Crooklyn Dodgers [4:32]
2. Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers [4:53]
3. Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone [2:19]
4. Pusher Man - Curtis Mayfield [5:02]
5. Thin Line Between Love And Hate - Persuaders [3:24]
6. El Pito (I'll Never Go Back To Georgia) - Joe Cuba [5:32]
7. ABC - The Jackson 5 [2:57]
8. Oh Girl - The Chi-Lites [3:47]
9. Mighty Love - The Spinners [4:57]
10. Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight [2:46]
11. Ooh Child - The Five Stairsteps [3:17]
12. Pass The Peas - The JB's [3:11]
13. Time Has Come Today - The Chambers Brothers [4:54]
14. People Make The World Go Round - Marc Dorsey [5:05]

Vol. II

1. People Make The World Go Round - The Stylistics [6:22]
2. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder [2:38]
3. Bra - Cymande [5:02]
4. I'm Stone In Love With You - The Stylistics [3:17]
5. Everybody Is A Star - Sly & The Family Stone [3:00]
6. Never Can Say Goodbye - The Jackson 5 [2:56]
7. Soul Power - James Brown [4:23]
8. Soul Makossa - Manu Dibango [4:25]
9. La La (Means I Love You) - The Delfonics [3:19]
10. I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers [4:31]
11. Puerto Rico - Eddie Palmieri [6:57]
12. Theme From Shaft - Isaac Hayes [3:19]
13. Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson/The Miracles [3:03]
14. I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash [2:41]