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Summer of Sam

Set Piece de Resistance

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Although Summer of Sam (1999, Touchstone, 136 mins., R, also on DVD) explores the Saturday night fervor of a philanderer (John Leguizamo) and the problems of an outcast (Adrien Brody, right), the soul of Spike Lee’s epic is neither disco nor punk. Sixty-eight minutes into the movie is a bravura sequence set to the tremble and throb of The Who’s 1971 anthem, ”Baba O’Riley”: Brody purges himself with Pete Townshend’s sound and enacts a chaotic striptease; Yankees fans pop up in a vigilante mob, Bronx bombers of the head-busting sort; glee alternates with gloom; a guitar falls cathartically to pieces; an overportentous street sign catches the sun: Dead End. This is an ecstatic four-minute tour of New York City as teenage wasteland. B