Still Gotta Have Spike Lee - NBC Chicago

Still Gotta Have Spike Lee

The Netflix series version of Lee’s ahead-of-its-time 1986 film, “She’s Gotta Have It,” arrives just in time.

    Winter Olympics PyeongChang 2018 Medal Count
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    1
    Norway
    13141037
    2
    Canada
    108927
    3
    Germany
    137626
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    NEWSLETTERS

    The now-classic montage of guys' pickup lines from Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" included non-classic groaners like, “You’re so fine, baby, I’d drink a tub of your bathwater.”

    Then there was Lee's character, fast-talking bike messenger Mars Blackmon, who responded to getting dumped with a verbal Gatling-gun plea: "Please baby please baby please baby baby baby please!”

    More than three decades later, "She's Gotta Have It," Lee’s comedy-drama about a vibrant young woman taking charge of her sexuality, returns Thanksgiving, re-envisioned as a current-day 10-episode series on Netflix. The show is primed to draw a crowd, no cheesy come-ons or begging required.

    That's not just a tribute to the career Lee built from his 1986 low-budget, high-impact feature film debut, but to a smart-and-funny flick ahead of its time – and as timely as ever.

    The new series arrives amid an entertainment world upheaval in which men far more powerful than Mars Blackmon are being accused of far worse than spewing tacky lines.

    Lee upended Hollywood with his breakout independent film, which introduced Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), a juggler of three lovers: goofy Mars, slick model Greer and the seemingly straight-laced marriage material Jamie.

    The movie presaged the likes of "Sex and the City," "Girls" and "Insecure," for its by turns comic and powerfully frank portrayal of the challenges facing an intelligent, sexy woman set on calling the shots in her love life.

    “She’s Gotta Have It” showcased Lee's knack for mixing humor, serious themes – and shocking moments – in a realistic setting as he would go on to do most masterfully in “Do the Right Thing.”

    The Netflix show gives a great filmmaker an opportunity not to simply rehash an early effort, but to offer a new hit on his first potent and eye-opening “joint.”

    Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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    (Published Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018)