2 Best Movies to Watch by Mike Starr

Staff & contributors

Spike Lee’s adaptation of Richard Price’s novel might appear lesser next to his best work, but it still a gorgeous showcase for all of his talents as a director. Its case is further bolstered by a stacked cast including Delroy Lindo, Harvey Keitel, Mekhi Pfifer, Isaiah Washington, and John Turturro. 

Clockers is set in the world of small-time drug-dealers during the crack epidemic, and much like The Wire (which Price would go on to write for) applies a multifaceted lens to the material. Lee’s uncompromising and emphatic direction lends a gorgeous gravity to the taut drama while top-notch performances fuel the emotional furnace at its core.

 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Anthony Nocerino, Arthur J. Nascarella, Bray Poor, Brendan Kelly, Brian Konowal, Carlo Vogel, Christopher Wynkoop, David Batiste, Delroy Lindo, Elvis Nolasco, Frances Foster, Fredro Starr, Ginny Yang, Graham Brown, Hal Sherman, Harry Lennix, Harvey Keitel, Harvey Williams, Hassan Johnson, Isaiah Washington, J. C. MacKenzie, James Saxenmeyer, Jeff Ward, John Fletcher, John Turturro, Jordan Brown, Keith David, Ken Garito, L.B. Williams, Lawrence B. Adisa, Leonard L. Thomas, Lisa Arrindell, Lord Kayson, Marc Webster, Maurice Sneed, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Badalucco, Michael Cullen, Michael Imperioli, Michael McGruther, Mike Starr, Norman Matlock, Orran Farmer, Patrick Ferraro, Paul Calderon, Paul DuBois, Paul Schulze, Peewee Love, Regina Taylor, Richard Ziman, Rick Aiello, Ron Brice, Scot Anthony Robinson, Shawn McLean, Skipp Sudduth, Spike Lee, Steve White, Sticky Fingaz, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Tim Kelleher

Director: Spike Lee

Rating: R

Sweetwater has a precious story in its hands, along with a sparkling cast of tried-and-true actors and a generous budget that allows them to go all in with the movie’s 1950s setting. But the parts are far greater than the sum here, because all together, Sweetwater is a mess. It promises to be a biopic about Clifton but fractures into many other things. During its duller parts, it’s a white savior story about basketball owners, and during its more vibrant parts, it’s a snapshot of the Harlem Globetrotters during their humble beginnings. The basketball matches themselves are playful and exciting to watch, but for every game, there is an overdramatic scene that cranks up the notch on sappy music and predictable dialogues. Often, it also feels like director Martin Guigui went to the Green Book School of Anti-prejudice, given his extremely elementary portrayal of racism and his preference for the white characters over the Black characters. Sweetwater isn’t watchable, but it’s a shame that the star of the film had to share the spotlight with less interesting personalities. 

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Ashani Roberts, Billy Malone, Ca'Ron Jaden Coleman, Cary Elwes, Dahlia Waingort, Delijah McAlpin, Eric Etebari, Eric Roberts, Ernest Harden Jr., Everett Osborne, Gary Clark Jr., Jason Sklar, Jeremy Piven, Jim Caviezel, Jim Meskimen, Kevin Pollak, Mike Starr, Paul Hipp, Preston Galli, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Ri'chard, Wayne Federman

Director: Martin Guigui