When I got the notification to see this movie, it was pushed on to me just as the banner says. It was a popup notification so I didn’t see any pictures or images and went into this movie completely cold. The description promised a time travel epic (I’m a sucker for time travel stories) about a couple of teens who try to reverse a family tragedy. I thought that this was going to be a great ride so I said, what the heck, and dove right in. I turned down the lights, grabbed a bottle of my favorite spring water, logged onto Netflix on my 27-inch iMac, and got ready for a movie.
The graphic banner was the first red flag.
“See You Yesterday” was produced by Spike Lee, and I like Spike Lee’s productions. Normally, I could go into one of his movies and know I’m going to get compelling characters and a great story that has a moral compass around it. Spike Lee is not normally a perpetrator of racism and his films *usually* reflect the need for unity without making villains out of a single group of people. At least, they weren’t before the modern age.
This movie contained nothing but hard core racism, anti-Police fascism, and a woke social justice story that played out more like Star Trek Discovery (wretch) than a Spike Lee movie.
In fact, if I were Spike Lee, I’d refuse to work with anyone who made this movie ever again.
The story revolves around a young person of color who uses time travel to change the future.
Yes, this is both the summary of Star Trek Discovery AND “See You Yesterday.”
The story is set in modern day New York City where the police are the epitome of evil. A pair of teenage friends (forever in the friend zone, I might add) discover time travel (or rather, CJ, the female protagonist, discovers it and her friend is just along for the ride). Along the way, we meet the other MVPs of this travesty, characters whose names I didn’t bother to remember, but their archetypes are memorable for all the wrong reasons.
You have the latino computer geek who has a crush on CJ.
CJ’s older brother, a man’s man.
CJ’s ex boyfriend who tried to put the ghetto into CJ during their relationship, as well as giving her the D on multiple occasions – a man whose arms CJ ran into after the death of her father.
Oh, and CJ’s bestie.
Around them you have a handful of characters who mean nothing to the story, except for CJ’s mom – that, right there, we will get into shortly.
As a Mary Sue, CJ meets all of the requirements. She has super human intellect. Only CJ can fix everything. All of the males around her are put to shame. She suffers great loss and rises to the occasion to put things right. She is unstoppable and everyone who goes up against her dies.
Holy mother of…, this sounds EXACTLY like Michael Burnham on STD! In fact, because it pretty much is!
The character construction of CJ is sloppy, wooden and has no purpose. Just like Mikey Spock, CJ’s “flaws” are centered around “suffering tragedy.” She loses very important people in her life, one before the events of the movie with the other two during its course: Papa died before, and her friend and brother both pay the price (I’d say the “ultimate price” but the only thing they suffered from was disagreeing and arguing with CJ to begin with). What SJW writers fail at is convincing us that these characters are flawed or even relatable to human beings. They mistake “tragedy” for “character flaws,” and hope that we don’t pick up on these things.
Just like Michael Burnham, we are told that CJ’s other two losses are her fault (and they are), both of those losses are a result of her messing around with temporal mechanics, with an eternal trade off of her friend or her brother. This is the moral loop that Spike Lee puts us in, which is typical of his style of film. But, the meat and organs of this pile of filth betrays Lee’s previous outings.
The ultimate villain in this movie is the NYPD. We are told that because of many racially-motivated police shootings perpetrated by the NYPD, they are the big bad evil we should all fear. The TV at CJ’s house constantly plays Black Lives Matter protests in an attempt to piss off the viewers even more. This has the intended effect but not for the reasons the SJW producers might think.
From our very first visit to CJ’s house, we know instantly what type of movie this is.
During the course of the film, we see CJ’s ex-boyfriend come into the picture and attempt to harass her. He pays the price by having his arm broken in a car accident.
The next individual who dares to stand up to CJ was her brother, who stepped in and n-worded CJ’s ex-boyfriend to a broken arm. In the intro to the second act, we see CJ’s brother get gunned down by the boogeymen cops.
This is immediately followed by a huge cat fight between CJ and her best friend. CJ concocts this bold plan to go back in time, prevent a robbery from happening so that her brother never has a run-in with the po-pos which led to his death. Because her friend dared to voice his opinion, he dies, his past self shot by the robbers of the bodega, resulting in the death of his present-day self as well and erasure from history.
CJ’s mom’s reaction to her son’s death is absolutely priceless! We follow her and CJ from the funeral to the aftermath. As a parent, the way they wrote and directed CJ’s mom was infuriating beyond belief.
Here is a woman who as not broken. In fact, she shrugs it off like it’s nothing, and carries on. I don’t care how “strong” a woman (or man) you are, when you lose a child, you will be brought down to your knees! There was NONE of that here, and the mother’s reaction was one of the worst things about this already four-alarm-blazing dumpster fire of a movie!
The overall structure of this movie was an absolute insult to cinema. It was clearly meant to induce feelings of “white guilt,” mixed with anger at police, and sympathy for the black community. None of which succeeded here.
Spike Lee should be ashamed of himself for this film! He has a history of painstakingly creating characters that are human, relatable, ones we can easily adopt into our lives for the two hours or so we’re watching the film. Instead, he’s allowed wooden, cookie-cutter androids to be programmed by a script that sings the songs of social justice in the worst way possible.
It hooks viewers in with a story of two friends who just want to cause mischief with the space-time continuum. It even featured a cameo by Michael J. Fox, who even gave a corny kickback to “Back to the Future.” Immediately following, we go back to CJ’s house, we hear what’s on the TV and we’re shown it, and immediately, the film goes from a popcorn Disney Channel-esq Saturday night TV flick to CNN propaganda on fire!
This movie has no ending, by the way. Everything said in this review is not a spoiler because it’s the driving force of this movie, which is to say, is so painful to watch it’s like pushing a semi-truck, with trailer, to the next gas station 20 miles down the road because it ran out, and you’re the only one pushing the thing. We never get a resolution to any story, and the final shot is just of CJ run-miming towards the camera before it cuts to black and rolls credits.
“See You Yesterday” is almost 2 hours of my life I wish I could slip on a proton-charged backpack with antimatter, and take back by visiting my past self, slapping myself in the face, show myself this blog and say, “There you go! Don’t waste your time!”
This film is a solid F! Not worth the SD cards it was saved to in order to create this piece of garbage!