Crooklyn

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Crooklyn
Crooklyn poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Spike Lee
Produced by Spike Lee
Screenplay by Joie Susannah Lee
Cinqué Lee
Spike Lee
Story by Joie Susannah Lee
Starring Alfre Woodard
Delroy Lindo
Spike Lee
Zelda Harris
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Arthur Jafa
Edited by Barry Alexander Brown
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 13, 1994 (1994-05-13)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $14,000,000
Box office $13,642,861

Crooklyn is a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. The film takes place in Brooklyn, New York and the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant during the summer of 1973.[1] Its primary focus is a young girl, Troy (played by Zelda Harris), and her family. Throughout the film, Troy learns life lessons through her four rowdy brothers, her loving but strict mother (Alfre Woodard), and her naive, struggling father (Delroy Lindo).

A distinctive characteristic of Crooklyn is its soundtrack, composed completely of music from the 1970s, except the hit single "Crooklyn" by the Crooklyn Dodgers, a rap crew composed of Buckshot, Masta Ace, and Special Ed. A two-volume release of the soundtrack became available on CD along with the release of the film.

Similarly to School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and She's Gotta Have It, Spike Lee appears in Crooklyn. He plays a bully and drug addict named Snuffy.

Crooklyn is one of only two films directed by Spike Lee to earn a PG-13 rating in the USA, the other being 1992's Malcolm X.

Plot[edit]

In 1973, nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) and her brothers Clinton (Carlton Williams), Wendell (Sharif Rashed), Nate (Chris Knowings), and Joseph (Tse-Mach Washington) live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The children live with their parents, Woody (Delroy Lindo), a struggling musician, and Carolyn (Alfre Woodard), a schoolteacher.

The neighborhood is filled with colorful characters. The Carmichaels' next-door neighbor, Tony Eyes (David Patrick Kelly) continuously sings. Snuffy (Spike Lee) and Right Hand Man (N. Jeremi Duru) are glue sniffers. Vic Powell (Isaiah Washington) is a war vet who lives upstairs from the Carmichaels.

One day, the Carmichael children get into a dispute with Tony who alleges that they are always throwing trash into his area. The argument escalates when Carolyn and several neighborhood children get involved. Tony is still yelling when Vic comes downstairs. Vic then punches Tony in the face. Troy, who has sneaked out to the corner store, sees Vic getting arrested as she leaves the store.

One night, Woody and Carolyn argue about money; Carolyn resents Woody because he isn't earning money as a musician and because he has bounced checks. The argument escalates as Carolyn yells for the children to turn off the television. Carolyn later turns off the TV.

Clinton turns it back on. Carolyn grabs him for disobeying her and Woody grabs her and carries her out of the room. Woody drags Carolyn down the stairs and Nate jumps on Woody's back. The other children hold Carolyn and Carolyn hurts her ankle in the struggle.

Carolyn kicks Woody out of the house. Woody brings flowers to Carolyn and the two reconcile. The family then decides to go on a trip. As they are leaving, a worker from Con Ed comes by to shut off the electricity due to an unpaid bill. The trip is postponed and the family has to use candles for light.

A few days later, Nate and Troy travel to the South to stay with relatives. Troy stays with her cousin, Viola (Patriece Nelson), who was adopted by Uncle Clem (Norman Matlock) and Aunt Song (Frances Foster). Troy has fun with Viola despite a dislike of Aunt Song and her dog, Queenie. On Troy's tenth birthday, she gets a letter from Carolyn. After reading the letter, Troy decides she wants to go home.

When Troy returns to New York, she is picked up at the airport by Aunt Maxine (Joie Lee) and Uncle Brown (Vondie Curtis-Hall). Troy later learns her mother is in the hospital and is taken to see her.

Later that evening, Woody tells the kids that their mother is very ill and must stay in the hospital. The boys cry, but Troy remains stoic.

In the next scene, one of Troy's brothers wonder if they have to dress up for their mother's funeral. The day of the funeral, Troy is approached by her Aunt Maxine who tries to coax her into trying on the new clothes she's brought. Troy lashes out angrily then announces that she is not going to the funeral. Woody explains that Carolyn would want them all together at church.

At the house gathering after the funeral, Troy is withdrawn. Joseph comes inside crying, saying that Snuffy and Right Hand Man robbed him. Following her mother's wishes to protect her younger brother, Troy goes outside with a baseball bat and hits Snuffy, telling him to go sniff glue on his own block.

Early the next morning, Troy dreams she's hearing her mother's voice. She goes downstairs to see her father trying to kill a rat in the kitchen. Woody then tells her that its all right to cry, saying that even Clinton has cried. Troy concludes that its good that her mother is no longer suffering.

Troy takes on some of Carolyn's parenting duties and copes with her mother's absence by imagining that her mother is only away and can still write to her.

Cast[edit]

Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at number three at the box office.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]