School Daze

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"A new comedy with music."
  • R
  • 1988
  • 2 hr 1 min
  • 6.1  (8,005)
  • 52

School Daze is a highly influential musical comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Lee. It was released in 1988 and stars Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell. The movie is set at a historically black college called Mission College, where a group of friends are trying to navigate the complexities of college life.

The main character is a man named Dap, played by Laurence Fishburne. He's a socially aware student activist who's always trying to get his fellow students to wake up to the injustices that surround them. He's frequently at odds with fraternity members, including his own cousin Half-Pint (played by Spike Lee), who he criticizes for being politically unaware and ignoring the struggles of the black community.

Half-Pint and his friends are part of a group of fraternities and sororities who are planning the annual homecoming weekend. It's an opportunity for them to show off, party, and compete with each other. But the partying and competition quickly become serious, threatening to undermine Dap's attempts to highlight issues such as colorism, dark skin, and hair texture within the African American communities.

Meanwhile, Dap's girlfriend Jane (played by Tisha Campbell) is also struggling with her own identity. She is attempting to pledge one of the sororities, which leads her to confront colorism and her own rejection amongst her potential sisters.

As the homecoming weekend approaches, tensions rise between Dap and the fraternity members. This ultimately leads to a showdown at a step show (a dance competition). The climax of the movie features a provocative school-wide march, led by Dap, against white supremacy, beauty standards, and systemic oppression.

Overall, School Daze deals with issues such as colorism, classism, and sexism within the African American community, while also exploring broader themes such as the power of the Greek system in colleges and the necessity of social activism. Lee includes analyses of capitalism, colorism, and debates over hair types in the plot, all while delivering top-tier singing and dancing performances throughout the film.

School Daze was a groundbreaking movie when it was released because it challenged the prominent stereotypes that plagued black Americans in cinema. The vibrant music score and Lee's innovative narrative structure create amazingly complex characters, resulting in a thought-provoking movie with a challenging political debate. It remains relevant as America continues to explore shifting cultural and societal developments while supporting independent voices.

School Daze is a 1988 comedy with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 52.

School Daze
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 1 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (8,005)
  • Metascore