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Bamboozled
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Bamboozled

2000
Drama
Music
2h 15m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 48.47% from 468 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(468)
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Rated 17 Apr 2020
5
93rd
The uncomfortable reaction of white liberals is a great tell of this film's difficulty and righteousness. It's messy, yes, if only because it refuses to be simple. It seems appropriate that a satire of pop culture's sordid history of misrepresentation, appropriation, and complicity should inspire such a radical range of feeling - from absurdity to tragedy. This is one of Spike Lee's most exploratory and experimental films, and it fortunately seems to be undergoing a reevaluation.
Rated 12 Nov 2020
85
92nd
I was uncomfortable throughout, based on the content, the music, the video quality, and the feelings it aroused in me. Spike Lee's films serve an important role. Damon Wayans' accent was an exaggeration of the type of white-accepted black person who shares some responsibility for America's racism. In 2020 it doesn't seem beyond impossible for this to come true. The Mau Maus were good. Fav scenes: talent show; the radio host confronting Wayans; montage to reinforce this comedy isn't funny.
Rated 28 Oct 2007
85
78th
Spike is all over the map on this one. He doesn't seem to know or much care why whites are into gangster rap (or blackface). His satirical points are sometimes obvious and overly abrasive (i.e. his attack on Tommy Hilfiger) or badly thought-out (his attack on Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ving Rhames' acceptance speeches). But I had to watch the first five minutes and the "blackface" montage twice just because I couldn't believe how electric those sequences were. Compulsively watchable as a whole.
Rated 01 Oct 2015
65
60th
In many respects, this is a seriously bad film. For a satire, it's not particularly intelligent or witty; its DV photography is surprisingly ugly; the performances are overly broad, and the tonal shifts are confounding in their frequency. But as a confrontational assault on black representation in the modern media, it's a resounding success. Why? Because it has balls. It also points the finger a little more decisively at the black community, however problematic that may be.
Rated 23 Jun 2022
60
22nd
Spike obviously has some Black middle-class resentment towards White execs who marketed 90's hip-hop & netlet sitcoms. He also loves 1976's New Hollywood classic Network. But unlike that film he can't tell a satirical and human story on how television corrupts a generation. It's just a rant from a guy who should have a newsletter. And the video photography would've looked better in black & white. In the end this is a gaudy piece of living room furniture: it sits there hoping you talk about it.
Rated 23 Dec 2016
2
1st
The sad thing is, "Bamboozled" is actually rooted in a lot of shameful truths about the entertainment industry and modern racial discourse. The expression of these truths lacks any semblance of subtlety, it's too long and terribly boring, too self-important, too misguided, and is neither witty nor funny... but I digress. And that's without mentioning how ugly the movie is; shot on Mini DV digital video, this movie looks incredibly cheap--like a student film. And that editing... ugh.
Rated 07 Apr 2021
60
39th
i'm just glad the early 00s aesthetic didn't stick around
Rated 02 Nov 2018
70
46th
BAMBOOZLED is a film that invokes each and every adjective ever used to describe a Spike Lee joint: passionate, uneven, informative, crass, damning, outrageous, half-baked, righteous. It is impossible not to have a reaction to this movie, which now seems prescient in pointing out the ways American mass culture normalizes humiliation and self-hatred. (Speaking of which, I'm glad that shooting feature films on DV is no longer a thing.)
Rated 06 Nov 2018
82
70th
I get how indigestible this is for some, as the elastic satire is stretched as far as to situate Jim Crow-era race relations in the entertainment industry into the modern era. It's a hard swallow, but it invites many interesting topics that are more exploratory than definite. Along with unfussy DV-cam imagery, this is always entertaining, courtesy of the balls-out acting and writing, and although this feels like a lesson from the past, Lee lenses minstrelsy with restrained and even quirky anger.
Rated 05 Mar 2019
50
20th
Not usually the case with Spike joints but I think he definitely thought this script was a lot more clever than it actually was. A shame because I think there's something to be said here about how capitalism commodifies politics in the entertainment industry. Damon Wayans kinda sucked in this.
Rated 12 Feb 2016
75
11th
Lee allows Wayans to turn his character into a grotesque parody, after which the director appears to have simply given up on the project and let it happen without him. A weird disaster, but not without rubberneck-at-a-traffic-highway-accident appeal.
Rated 27 Apr 2012
20
5th
A complete mess. As I would expect Spike Lee handles the issue of race well and creates some interesting and important discussion - unfortunately surrounded by two hours of bizarre tonal shifts, bland cinematography, poor characterization and subplots which go nowhere. Is the film trying to be a farce or a tragedy? Walking a tightrope between the two doesn't work. Perhaps if the tone didn't shift so violently from scene to scene he could have done both. A missed opportunity.
Rated 02 Jul 2007
90
86th
A great American movie that has been buried by an industry that still loves its Minstrel Shows and is too embarrassed to admit that Spike Lee is right. Complicated and multi-dimensional, where everyone shares some of the guilt and where the offensive material is often beautiful. I take off ten points only because the last ten minutes are so violent, with nearly everyone paying the Ultimate Price for their sins -- the movie is plenty angry enough without all that sad, horrifying gunplay.
Rated 29 Jun 2007
52
43rd
Intentionally over the top in most places, this absurd satire of a satire of blacks in the media fails to deliver a solid message, be very entertaining, or even funny. While it is an interesting movie it's just a little too clowny and unfunny to be worth seeing on it's own merit. It's basically Spike Lee on a soap box, on a street corner, yelling.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
88
66th
this is a difficult film
Rated 13 Jan 2010
76
69th
Damon Wayans doesn't belong in this film whatsoever and he's downright annoying. Otherwise, good little film. The sequence at the end makes the entire film watchable alone.
Rated 25 Dec 2014
90
96th
What other satires attempt to aspire to. Changed the way I looked at movies (and pop culture) regarding race. Uneven and not necessarily enjoyable, but very brave.
Rated 24 Apr 2009
75
38th
Interesting idea, but the tragic outcome is ALL too real!
Rated 31 Aug 2009
94
93rd
Walks the line of racism and never falls off. Fascinating film!
Rated 20 Oct 2008
80
59th
One of my favourite Spike Lee films and probably his most underrated. Very risque of him to shoot this movie entirely on video with only the scenes of the TV show shot in film but it's a funny satire of racism portrayed in the media. I enjoyed Damon Wayans character although his accent was getting mad annoying after awhile and Spike Lee pushes his message across so much you're wondering in your head "Yes we get it, racism really sucks...move on." All in all a slept on film from Spike Lee's filmo
Rated 14 Jul 2007
50
48th
Spike Lee, this is Editing. Editing, meet Spike. I'd love it if the two of you got to know each other.
Rated 19 Apr 2009
80
91st
What do people mean in their reviews when they say the film needs 'editing'? Editing how? Anyway it's a massively ambitious project taken on by lee but overall very well executed. Speaking of executions, the final act could have used less violence -- the film was incredibly intense already. But generally a great piece of work unlike anything else I've ever seen. Even the montage during the final credits is quite moving.
Rated 28 Jul 2009
50
48th
Better a piece of sociology than a movie. At any rate, it's difficult to hate a movie, in its dissection of the authenticity of black identity and the history (and continued existence) of black minstrelsy, so audacious and interesting and full of ideas before it collapses into sloppy, incoherent melodrama.
Rated 21 Sep 2010
95
92nd
Lee's splendidly sprawling, darkly daring film takes satirical swipes at the sort of demeaning portrayals of African American culture that are still prevalent in the media. This is Lee at his most ambitious, pointed and dynamic. He is fearless and insightful in making his arguments, taking his premise to extremes, both logical and illogical, in order to confront the audience (and his showbiz peers) with uncomfortable truths.
Rated 10 Apr 2022
55
6th
Shot on DV this looks like shit. Story wise, Lee's in full-on early "Woke" mode where the plot's an excuse to incessantly remind us of racist imagery - it becomes tiresome. Character arcs are afterthoughts. Lee's so primed to read "racism" into things that he takes offense at Cuba Gooding & 70s shows like Jeffersons & Good Times: which overwhelmingly presented blacks as hard-working & good. In this Woke vision, Paul Mooney's comedy keeps him in clubs as opposed to becoming a rich comedy legend
Rated 10 Oct 2010
56
57th
Some of this film's true weaknesses are obvious, but it's also easy to underestimate this movie by taking the narrative too literally. Not many films even attempt to take on some of these themes, and I don't think I've seen any that match the combination of simplicity and nuance that Lee achieves here. Not a flawless film, but definitely an overlooked and underrated one.
Rated 09 Jul 2007
3
61st
Cool idea, but it DESPERATELY needed some better editing. The movie drags out a bit too long and there are so many ideas that are never given the proper amount of development. Decent performances.
Rated 04 Dec 2006
68
19th
WTF!?
Rated 29 Mar 2010
35
17th
Great music and good montage but the narrative is useless.
Rated 04 Sep 2013
55
28th
That digital really looks bad, huh? It's hard for me to dismiss everything here, because there's a few weirdly affecting scenes. (The white guy in the revolutionary group crying out "Why didn't you kill me? I'm black!") Everybody's sort of cartoon, which is the point, but I'm not sure how well it all works. It's sloppy as hell, really earnest, and the characters are too close to talking points. Maybe Spike Lee is secretly America's Pasolini? It's not great, but I can't write it off completely.
Rated 02 Nov 2012
49
19th
A confused mess, but an interesting one.
Rated 02 Nov 2014
80
49th
Love him or loathe him, Spike Lee films will almost always leave you thinking. Are the days of the minstrel show over? It's easy to spot a negative stereotype, but what about the "positive" stereotypes? Are those positive stereotypes really positive? What does it mean to be black? Is the proliferation of black entertainers and athletes really a sign of progression or is it another form of the majority white US populace pushing the image of blackness that they find enjoyable? I'm still pondering.
Rated 22 Dec 2010
85
86th
One-of-a-kind movie.
Rated 04 Mar 2011
75
45th
Something about it reeked "film school" and I don't just mean the DV cam. Wasn't really funny unless you count the melodrama and the 90's vibe (which was already outta date by 2000). I didn't laugh until the final act; which I suspect wasn't Lee's intent. 'A' for effort though.
Rated 07 Oct 2013
67
34th
66.500
Rated 09 Apr 2007
65
54th
One of those films that has only one or two things going for it (in this case, the acting and the montages) and yet those one or two things are so strong that they make an otherwise bad movie recommended and watchable.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
88th
Has one of the best montages ever at the end.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
70
54th
A frustrating movie because there's too much, too fast and it never adds up to a solid, clear message. The acting is great, though.

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