The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, July 08, 1999, Summer Edition, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Flawed script ruins
good premise in
‘Summer of Sam’
■ Spike Lee’s latest is a
haphazard tale, making for
a visually stunning - but
ultimately disappointing -
By Samuel McKewon
At the outset of Spike Lee’s new
film “Summer of Sam,” famed
columnist Jimmy Breslin tells us
there’s eight million stories in his
naked city — New York City. He fails
to tell us the movie’s script isn’t
among the better ones.
The script (written by Lee, Victor
Colicchio and Michael Imperioli) is
the major villain in this visually stun
ning, painfully flawed film. “Summer
of Sam” fails to deliver a real point,
possibly because it tries to make too
The overall point of the film is lost
in so many confusing detours, side
tracks and characters that we forget
which ones to care about. When the
film finally arrives at it’s anticlimac
tic destination we wonder “why did
we even bother coming here,” and
wish we could have taken a trip into
the story of David Berkowitz, aka
“Son of Sam” instead. Of course
“Summer of Sam” offers only quick
pit-stop style glimpses of the infa
mous killer.
There are some interesting
aspects to this film. It is about the
summer of 1977, the summer that the
Son of Sam, who killed six and
injured six others with his .44 mag
num gun, did most of his damage and
taunted cops and tabloid newspapers
with his confidence. And Lee does go
away from the black perspective and
toward an Italian one, honing in on the
Bronx for the story. But unfortunate
ly the intense backdrop and Lee’s new
subject matter lose steam and putter
out trying to carry the load of a simply
boring story about a bunch of losers.
In the forefront of this confusing
collage is Vinny (John Leguizamo), a
The Facts
Title: 'Summer of Sam'
Stars: John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino,
Adrian Brody, Jennifer Esposito
Director: Spike Lee
Rating: R (language, sex galore)
Running Time: 2:22 (142 minutes)
Grade: C
Five Words: Script sinks potentially
great script
hair dresser who has beautiful wife,
Dionna (Mira Sorvino), but sleeps
around anyway. Vinny intends to stop
his cheating after seeing victims six
and seven in Son of Sam’s wrath. He
Then we meet Vinny’s friend
Richie, (Adrian Brody) back in his
parents’ house after a faded stint in
Manhattan, where he enveloped him
self in the punk rock revolution and
picked up a phony Cockney accent.
Richie doubles as a gay male dancer
to earn money for a rock career (his
band is called “Late Term Abortion”)
destined for failure. He has a local
slut (Jennifer Esposito) for a girl
friend, whom he coaxes into doing a
porno with him.
Get used to these characters,
because you will see a lot of them, and
they won’t be doing much. Hell, they
only venture outside of the Bronx
once (which is intended to show
close-mindedness, but still isn’t any
So much has been made about that
summer in news stories leading up to
the movie - the heat, the Yankees with
Reggie Jackson, looting and riots -
that you’d expect the movie to be a
huge sprawling affair, full of anger
and fear amongst its millions, and not
just a domestic story of a man cheat
ing on his wife.
But that’s what it is, intercut with a
few harrowing scenes revealing
Berkowitz (Michael Badalucco),
which admittedly, don’t really fit in.
Had they not been here, the movie
would have been an even greater drag.
The soundtrack, which features a
heavy dose of The Who, is a major
Nebraskaii i44^)KpuSS^SmrpubSori
Sum^r Edition, TSSKSSSSSSS^L* Number 472-1761 Friday dunng the academic year; weekly
’ dunng summer sessions.
Readers are encouraged to
Editors Samuai McKewon, submit story ideas ^ comments t0 the
DMtinn rhUrf ilff rISoii Daily Nebraskan by phoning 472-2588
MsSthZJr? Honpu between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through
Phnfft ,llaney Friday. The public also has access to the
u/Ii? o!^I o°°tt McC?lurg Publication Board. For information, Contact
rSSSHRSSf nttSE* TravisBrandt,472-2588.
A*£££|££g S pSh vear Subscription price is $60 for one
ASp!iwiV^tiin ^_rea 9®$?n Postmaster: Send address
Publication Board Chair Jessxa Hofmann, changes to the Daily Nebraskan, P.O. Box
Prnfoesinnai Awui=«r SI „7o 880448, Lincoln, NE 68688-0448. Periodical
Professional Advisor Don Walton, 473-7301 postage paid at Lincoln, NE
Courtesy Photo
THE CAST of “Summer of Sam” features (from left) Adrien Brody, Jennofer Esposito, John Leguizamo and Mira
Sorvino as a close-knit group of friends dealing with changing times and a menacing serial killer. The film was co
scripted and directed by Spike Lee.
player in the film including a lurid
six-minute montage to the band’s
“Baba O’Reilly.”
Where the film scores major
points in style, it fails grandly in sub
stance. True, there lots here to grab
onto - pre-AIDS sexual gratification
(half the movie involves a sex scene
of some sort), a plethora of drugs -
but the whole affair is surprisingly
banal. Little transpires from begin
ning to end. The only major question
resides in if Dionna will finally leave
Or if Richie, who is believed to be
the Son of Sam by the neighborhood
group of toughs, led by gangster Luigi
(Ben Gazzara) will get beat up. We
suspect he will; these toughs beat up
another man for being a Boston Red
Sox fan. Memo to Lee: idiot goons do
not make good heavies.
So many of the characters are one
dimensional, it becomes comical.
There are numerous scenes where
local Italians hurl insults at each
other, saying little for originality.
While “Summer of Sam” isn’t
particularly invigorating, it is interest
ing, if only for Lee’s sheer ambition
and his arrival as a great technical
director. His editing is near flawless
here, and the film seems more intrigu
ing than it really is. The result: an
intermittently brilliant/boring
endeavor that’s 40 minutes too long.
Maybe one of those other eight
millions stories might have fared bet
ter than the one used here.
Ties Mens and Womens
Open Thursday
14th and
Thursday, Jui