Parents' Guide to

School Daze

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Troubling, dated dramedy has violence, strong language.

Movie R 1988 121 minutes
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This was Spike Lee's first movie with a multi-million-dollar budget, and he ran with it headlong into an exploration of lots of issues African Americans have faced and still face today. Unfortunately, School Daze takes on so much that very few issues are explored in any real depth. The storytelling is so disjointed that many scenes appear from out of nowhere without any apparent reason for being there. It tries to be too many things at once (a drama, a comedy, and a musical) so that it's never quite successful at being any of them.

Viewers who went to college in the '80s, especially African Americans, may enjoy it as a trip down memory lane, but for many it won't feel so much nostalgic as cringe-worthy, especially when it comes to gender roles. It's best for very mature teens and up, especially if you're willing to talk about the controversial issues raised after you watch it.

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