Synopsis by Mark Deming
Released one year to the day after the 1995 Million Man March, in which a million African-American men marched peacefully in Washington, D.C. in a bid for greater unity and understanding, Spike Lee's Get On the Bus follows a group of black men who take a charter bus from Los Angeles to the rally in the nation's capital and watches as they interact and air their personal issues and concerns. George (Charles S. Dutton) is the organizer of the trip and de facto leader of the group. Evan Thomas (Thomas Jefferson Byrd) is a truck driver who travels to the march with his son (De'Aundre Bonds) chained to his belt by court order after the boy was arrested for petty theft. Kyle (Isaiah Washington) and Randall (Harry Lennix) are gay lovers who take no small amount of abuse from their fellow passengers. Gary (Roger Guenveur Smith) is the product of a mixed-race marriage who could pass for white but sees himself as black; he's also a cop, which does little to endear him to his peers. Flip (Andre Braugher) is an actor who seems more concerned with getting his next film role than the larger issues of the march. Jamal (Gabriel Casseus) is a good-natured young Muslim trying to lead a righteous life to make up for his violent past as a gang member. A film student (Hill Harper) is capturing the trip on videotape, and Jeremiah (Ossie Davis) sits in the back, reflecting on the struggles of African-Americans in the past and present. Financed by a private group of 15 black American men (among them Will Smith and Wesley Snipes), Get On the Bus speaks less of a single political goal than of the need for black men to set aside their differences to work for their common good. While the film falls short of openly criticizing Million Man March organizer Louis Farrakhan, it does present debate about Farrakhan's ideals and statements, ultimately coming to the conclusion that whoever brought this group together is less important than the fact that they came together in peace and brotherhood.
bus, march [demonstration], activism, on-the-road, cross-country, friendship, journey