Episode #98: Jungle Fever
Listen to Episode 98 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - In Jungle Fever, Flip Purify (played by Wesley Snipes) is a successful architect who is happily married with a young daughter. A late night working alongside his new temp secretary Angie (played by Annabella Sciorra) leads to an interracial affair that sends shockwaves through both of their neighborhoods.
Screenplay by Spike Lee; Directed by Spike Lee; and released in theaters nationwide on June 7, 1991.
One of the most important aspects of the movie is the affair, but weirdly the dynamic between the two leads didn't show much chemistry.
It's a lot of awkward conversation and then they are getting into it after a bunch of small talk. It felt unmotivated. Nikki was right in that this took place over a period of time, but since these scenes are almost all in close-ups, it was tough to notice the change in clothes.
Honestly, there isn't a lot of time spent on this new "couple." They are rarely together, which certainly seems purposeful.
We're looking at how it affects their friends
Or their exes or family. It's all about how others react, and most of it involves negative racially motivated feelings.
There are some really good, honest conversations that are had within this movie.
There are some nasty bigoted ones as well.
Within this, you have the story of Flipper's brother Gator and how he continues to use his family for drug money over and over. It allows for great performances, but doesn't exactly find its place within the overall narrative.
The movie boasts a huge cast. So many that we really couldn't talk about everyone, but we had to spend a little time talking about Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
We also needed to talk about the encounter with police and how there were a couple things left unsaid afterwards.
We also talked about that very strange choice for an ending. Screaming "no" into the air with the crane zoom was not a good idea and far too cheesy compared to everything else.
Anyway, there was a lot to discuss, and too much to cover here, so we hope you check out the full episode.
Awards Talk: At the Cannes Film Festival, Samuel L. Jackson won Best Supporting Actor, the film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, and was nominated for the Palme d’Or. At the Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Best Song written for a Movie or TV (Stevie Wonder, Gotta Have You). It was also nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture.
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
This week our true crime segment focuses on Yusuf Hawkins. Spike Lee dedicated the picture to his memory.
On HBO, there is a recent documentary that is worth watching called "Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn."
In addition to that picture, here are some additional articles outlining some of the details of the murder.
In terms of pop culture, we keep it brief and discuss the Jungle Fever Soundtrack, which is also considered to be a full Stevie Wonder album.
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 3 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 3 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - We would, but probably not for a while. We'd be more inclined to explore a bit more of Spike Lee's catalog first. There are some filmmaking choices here that we feel held this back (especially that very last scene), but what it does well is create a springboard for meaningful conversations.
If you want to watch Jungle Fever, as of this recording in January 2023, it’s available on VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.
NEXT EPISODE & WHERE TO FIND US
You can listen to us on all your major podcasting platforms and please consider rating, subscribing, and sharing with your friends.
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Letterboxd
Join us next time for Hangin' with the Homeboys available on Digital Rental, VHS, DVD