Get on the Bus (1996)

To the credit of Spike Lee and screenwriter Reggie Rock Bythewood, 
GET ON THE BUS *did* get me thinking.  I thought about the fifteen 
men bound for the Million Man March and wondered how many of them 
were representations of Mr. Lee.  (The film student is an obvious 
choice, but do we see a side of Spike in the macho actor played by 
Andre Braugher?  Or, maybe, in the mulatto police officer portrayed 
by Roger Guenveur Smith?)  I thought about Ossie Davis and wondered 
how many times I'd seen him playing the wise old man.  (Remember 
how good he was with Burt Reynolds on that TV show, some years 
back?)  I thought about all the weighty issues riding on that bus 
and wondered if any of these preachers would stop sermonizing long 
enough to simply "be."  (The one passenger who stays silent is a 
Nation of Islam attendee and what does that tell you?)

I thought about the great state of Tennessee and wondered if a bevy 
of black men would find hospitality in a Memphis redneck bar.  (I 
bought the State Police stopping them on suspicion of drug traffic, 
though.)  Mostly, I thought about Albert Einstein and wondered how 
he would explain the stretching of time inside of a movie theater.  
(The film runs two hours and feels like three.  Wait, I remember an 
exciting exchange!  Yes, somewhere in the second hour, when an auto 
dealer gets on da bus and begins offering some choice opinions 
about affirmative action.)

GET ON THE BUS is clearly the best movie that Spike Lee has made in 
a while, or, at least, since before CLOCKERS and GIRL 6.  (When was 
the last *funny* Spike Lee movie?  CROOKLYN in '94?  JUNGLE FEVER 
in '91?)  Those reading their eyelids may beg to differ, but Lee 
has very nearly succeeded with this rolling sermon that, like the 
Million Man March itself, pushes the promotion of unity among 
African-American males.  Leave it to Lee to bring nobility to the 
multiplex.  Now, if only he'd though to put Sandra Bullock behind 
the wheel of that rig...  Pop quiz, Hotshot:  you've got a movie 
about a bus, loaded with black male stereotypes and rigged to make 
the viewer fall asleep no matter how fast it goes.  What do you do?  
(Rated "R"/120 min.)

Grade: B

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as Do The Ride Thing

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