CLOCKERS WAS UNDERRATED

Clockers is one of my favourite films of the 1990s. An expansion of Spike Lee’s cinematic vision, aided by Richard Price’s forensic precision, it preempted the grittier, uncompromising procedural depth of The Wire years later (and Price was writer on several episodes, as well as HBO’s American remake of The Night Of). It also managed the feat of nearly topping the Crooklyn Dodgers’ classic 1994 all-star posse cut with a whole new roster and producer for the movie’s soundtrack. I only recently discovered that Saul Bass was very annoyed by the film poster’s Anatomy of a Murder tribute (resulting in an alternate edition with a more generic chalk outline character), telling Entertainment Weekly that, ”The convention is when anyone steals something, they call it an homage.” One-sheets aside, the film itself always felt fresh to me. On that topic, this movie and the previous year’s Fresh were a million miles from the ghetto clichés that distributors were buying up at the time and suffered as a result — those who wanted formulaic hood morality tales were bored, while an audience didn’t bother attending or renting because they thought it was going to be more of the same. This footage, uploaded by Zeke62 Nostalgia, of Ralph McDaniels presenting a Video Music Box show from the Clockers premiere party in 1995 is solid gold.

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