Spike Jeers, Cheers for 'Sam'

Nearly 4,000 people flocked to Manhattan’s Loews Astor Plaza last night to attend the rowdy premiere of Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam,” reports PEOPLE’s Sue Miller. Among those who showed up were Rosie Perez, Michael Rappaport, Puffy Combs, Lynn Whitfield, Jennifer Lopez, Annabella Sciorra, James Gandolfini, Little Steven Van Zandt and the film’s John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, Adrien Brody, Kim Esposito and Lee himself, who, besides directing the movie, also plays a New York broadcaster. Not that Spike had kind words to say about the real press, which has been covering the controversy surrounding his movie. (Family members of serial killer Sam’s victims have been protesting the film.) “I’m personally going to get that guy from the New York Times,” said Spike, alluding to the prison-cell interview the paper did with Sam himself, David Berkowitz, that was critical of Lee.

  • The film itself drew praise, including that from columnist Jimmy Breslin, who covered the Sam murders in 1977. “Spike captured the feeling of that summer perfectly,” Breslin told PEOPLE. “That’s exactly what happened. I never saw anybody do it that well.”
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