Its the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and tensions are growing there, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sals Pizzeria. Mookie, Sals delivery boy, manages to always be at the center of the action.
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Still remember walking out of this movie just shaking in '89 and now haveread the script and 'making of' for the first time and the more there is toknow about this movie, the better it seems. Smiley tacking the picturebackup together is still the scariest thing, in a way, that has ever been putonfilm.Hope Spike figures out a way to top this one someday; it would pretty muchput him in the hall of fame to have two this good.If you haven't seen it, do. If it doesn't shake you up and stir you upthenyou just aren't interested in much of the world.
"Do the Right Thing" is a powerful, uplifting, visually stunningmasterpiece. It's a movie that I can watch over and over again, anddeservedly takes the Number 7 Spot of My Favorite Movies Of All Time. Thiswas one of Spike's debut efforts, and until this day--the best one. Spikegives us an honest, unflinching look at the Bedford-Stuyvestant area ofBrooklyn on the hottest day of the summer. He perfectly displays the racialtensions that go on between everybody from blacks to whites to Koreans. Yethe never gets preachy, which is one of the brilliant things about thismovie. Some of Spike's best work is demonstrated in his shots of RadioRaheem, played excellently by Bill Nunn. RR doesn't say much, but he hasthis violent gaze which sums up his feelings without a word being said. Spike gives us some great angles of his face, demonstrating the pure ragebrewing inside of him. He also has a great scene in which he sums up themeanings of love and hate, in Spike's trademark poetry-in-motion style. RRconstantly carries around a boombox, playing the same song "Fight the Power"by Public Enemy. That song is one of the best musical themes in moviehistory, perfectly summing up racial tension among inner cities. This moviedoesn't tell its audience that black people are better than others, nor doesit say that Hispanics are, or whites, or Asians. It just gives us a rawlook at what happens when we let racial quarrels get out of hand. We learnhow sometimes it's appropriate to preach against racism, and sometimes we'rejust overreacting.The cast is terrific, and they deliver memorable performances. I reallywish Danny Aiello picked up the Oscar for his role as Sal, because that isdefinitely the pinnacle performance of his career and one of the best I'veever seen. Other noteworthy performances are by John Turturro, Ossie Davisand Giancarlo Esposito. The film is put together with such fast-paced editing that it doesn't onceget boring, doesn't have any low points. This is a gritty, memorable filmthat I wish can be considered more prominent in the eyes of the averagemoviegoer, because it really deserves great recognition for its unique,unforgettable style. Spike definitely knows how to do the right thing.My score: 10 (out of 10)
I feel like the best way to contemplate the flim 'Do The Right Thing' is to draw some kind of a flow chart- the prejudice runs so rampnt, and the lines of ignorance are actually so crafted that it is difficult to even rationalize some of the hatreds exhibited. There are the semi-prosperous Koreans. There are the very prosperous, and also minority, Italian Americans. There are the low key, feuding Puerto Ricans. There are the majority, belligerent Africans. There are the police. All these rivalries are replaced by unity only in hatred. How odd, that ignorance can unite! How interesting a way to portray this, with the calculated destruction of the very soul of the town (the pizzeria) by the most wise and tolerant of them all. What Mookie- or, truly, SPike Lee- trying to establish by having someone so devoid of prejudice cast the first stone? Perhaps Mookie believed that in order destroy the ignorance- or at leasst stifle it- he needed to bring it into full light. Or perhaps he was trying to cut his losses, and create unity by sacrificing the minority. Whatever the intentions of this topical, vibrant director, one cannot help but come away with the film with a new perception of ignorance, and a new revulsion for it. His use of symbols is dramatic and well placed- the heat of the day with the urgency of the evil at hand, Radio Raheem (sp.) and his persistant, assaulting song, which is ultimately quelled (along with his life), and the most obvious union of violence and peace in the picture of Dr. King and Malcolm X, carried around and coveted by a basically solitary and misunderstood man- perhaps a symbol of the black culture as a whole? I enjoyed "DO the Right THing' for all of these things, and also for the simple humor and irony which undermines the entire film. In fact, it might be one of my favorites so far this year.
well, i was amazed. taking a seemingly boring day at a black neighbourhood and coloring it with the greatest characters, each one has a story of its own but still, until the shocking ending scene, all the characters are like cartoons. very goofy, funny and not a bit serious about their purposes, but the great end changhes it all, spike shows us what can really happen if we wont be patient and live and let live. this is a very funny, powerful, touching film that reflects the life of rainbow colored humen beinges in an urban growing world. its a must seen!
Bearing all the negativity of racism and police brutality this is oneof only a handful of films to explore the smaller, more delicate topicsof racism and prejudice from the clashing between blacks and whites tounfair police intervention (the NYPD play a pivotal role in the demiseof this brilliant film and questions are asked of which side of the lawthey are really on). Another film that touches this topic is MathieuKassovitz's 'La Haine', which is essential viewing in a political, butalso a visually stunning sense. The storyline of Do The Right Thing isquite simple and straight forward; it follows the life of oneparticular individual named Mookie (Spike Lee) as he drifts through theday like any other before. He works as a delivery boy at the localPizzeria under Sal and his fierce disdain of one of Sal's sons Pino,who is played superbly by John Turturro, creates an emphasis on theracial tension. In a sense this film does not truly take off until itsdemise due to all of the racial hatred being contained - in order togather momentum - and when it finally does arrive it is an explosion ofguilt and bitter anger that escalates racism to the peak of its deadlypotential. The film works to great effect with the vivid surroundingsof a true New York City neighbourhood; the nostalgic feeling to itallows us to venture onto the streets so we can breathe, smell andtaste the tension through the scorching heat. With the film opening tothe line 'Wake up' (quoted by Samuel L Jackson) we are already shownimplications of Spike Lee's intentions. This film is seriouslypersuasive in its aim to make us think more about the problems insociety in America and globally, and the fine script, direction andmuch of the acting is courtesy of Spike Lee, whom is in his finesthour. Please see this film to appreciate its unique qualities that areall so simplistic and obvious, yet still stand unchanged.
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Amazon Instant Video) i liked everything about this movie except for the last 20mins. The last 20 minutes is just sooo stupid. I might never watch it again for that exact reason.
With such films as BLADE RUNNER, BLOOD SIMPLE, RAGING BULL and E.T., the 1980s gave us a diverse range of challanging cinema. But it wasn't until the late summer of the last year of the decade did we get a small film by Spike Lee about racial tension on the hottest day of the summer in Brooklyn; and it hit us all like a sledgehammer!Even as the film spends most of its time painting a pleasant and often touching side of American life in Brooklyn, the viewer can feel the tension mounting as the day draws closer to night, until inevitable a racial riot break out and one person is left dead.This was a movie with a strong message, which, 16 years later, unfortunately, we as a society still don't seem to get.
This is an excellent movie. Spike lee did a wonderful job with some newflavorful camera styles such as the monologues in mid scene. Its one pfthe few movies that have a distinct camera work the separates it fromother movies. Can't think of another one like it. The acting was greatand really reminded me of 80's Brooklyn and the stories of how the citywas from my parents. The content is new and sparks many conversationswhich I though was the aim of spike lee. The dialogs of the characterswas real n touched on many social issues of the time. Highly recommendto anyone who seen it and is interested in cinema and cinematography.Masterfully put together.
I have mixed feelings about this film. I think it was filmed well, thedifferent angles when looking at peoples faces. But the story line sortof upset me. I was really mad when Mookie, played by director SpikeLee, threw the chair through Sal's window to his pizza shop. I don'tthink that they neighborhood had the right to riot. Sal was just tryingto make an honest living and support his family. The neighborhoodturned it into a racist thing and thats when all hell broke loose. Itupset me so much because I don't think that Sal was a racist or badguy. His one son was, but Sal gave Mookie a job, and he had a businessin that area for so long. He treated the people living their withrespect. They took what happened to their friend because of the policeout on Sal. I understand the point of the movie and what Spike Lee wastrying to say, but it made me angry and sad that they did that to Sal.
Do the Right Thing is an exercise in style over substance, of adrenalinand bravado trumping plot and realism, of a message beaten intosubmission through sheer weight of numbers.The opening scene is basically a music video, one that has nothing todo with the film aside from setting the tone. That does not mean thatDo the Right Thing is somehow not an important movie, far from it. Itis an at times psychedelic headf*ck, a mish-mash of random movement andbroadly drawn caricatures of various generations, backgrounds andethnicities.As we are told all too many times the film takes place on an especiallyhot day in New York as a bright colourful array of broadly drawncharacters go about their everyday business. For many that's simplyhanging on street corners commenting on passers by, for the homelessman known as the Mayor (Ossie Davis) that means cadging enough cash tobuy a beer, for various shop keepers that means running a businesswhere the clientele openly resent them Â or at least their background.Most notably this includes Sal's pizzeria where the aforementioned Sal(Danny Aiello), his two sons Vito (Richard Edson) and Pino (JohnTurturro), and delivery boy Mookie (Spike Lee). (As something to dowith nothing our family dog is named Mookie, though not for this film,for ex-Atlanta Hawks PG Mookie Blaylock.)As the day progresses and the temperature soars the normally barelyconvivial relationships between neighbours and acquaintances fray, withtempers simmering in the heat. It seems that people of every ethnicityhave issues with those of other races and religions, and that on thisparticular day hiding these resentments and opinions is not high on thepriorities list.In the middle of all this is Sal's, a pizzeria in a predominantly blackcommunity with a black clientele that proudly hangs numerous picturesof Italian-Americans on its walls. Son Pino openly resents both hissituation and customers, Mookie wants to hold onto his job but isconstantly having his patience tested by Pino's poking and prodding,and Sal is proud of his business and standing in the community, andseems to genuinely not see things as being defined by colour or race.There are a lot of subplots and peripheral characters in Do the RightThing who serve little other purpose but to show the extent of themelting pot, to keep the blood pumping and the film moving at 100 mph,eventually though many of these characters converge on Sal's at almostthe same time, and the tense interactions and stress of the day allcome to a head.I won't betray the ending of the film here, especially given that it isreally the only major plot development in a film which up to that pointwas all build up putting several characters on an inevitable collisioncourse.The film is exceptionally edited to remain in perpetual motion, a blurof vivid colour, profane dialogue and loud conversations and rantspeppered with casual (and sometimes inferred) racism.Danny Aiello and John Turturro both have very brave performances, and Isay that realising that 'brave' is a descriptor used all too frequentlyin film, but here it couldn't be more apt.Equally brave and amazing is the writing and directing job done byKnick fan #1, Mr Spike Lee, here still a scrawny chicken legged kid,and realistically one who some twenty years later has still not toppedthis film.I wonder if two decades on Spike/Mookie would make the same decisionsand take the same actions if faced with a similar situation he did in1989. Actually my main hope is that the casual racism and resentmenthas somewhat abated from the levels shown in this film, and far moreclumsy lesser films such as Crash.And if you have to have one song played about 237 times in a film, I'mjust glad it was Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power', and not a millionother crappy songs.Final Rating Â 8.5 / 10. Do the Right Thing might not be the mostsubtle film to deal with the topic, unfortunately it might be the mosthonest.
This could have been a great film. I watched it back in 1989 and was troubled by the ending in which the protagonist, Spike Lee, apparently does the "right thing" when he trashes his neighborhood's pizzeria. This is because the cops killed a neighbor who tried to kill the owner of the pizzeria, who is white and has treated his black customers decently for 25 years. I watched it last night again,to see if I had gained any wisdom to better appreciate Mr. Lee's story. I even watched listened to the running commentary in which one of the commentator said that Spike's character was not meant to be right or wrong, but just reacting. Perhaps so. Then I listened to Spike's ending explanation and all he could do was criticize reviews of the time that dwelt on the window that Spike broke, rather than the dead black man. Well, the broken window sparked the riot that destroyed the pizzeria and probably the innocent owner, as well as race relations. I asked my teen sons, and both white and black said it the ending was "bogus".
Maybe the heat does make people ready to explode, but never so much aswhat "Do the Right Thing" portrays. It all begins on the hottest day ofsummer in a borough of New York. African-American Mookie (directorSpike Lee) works at Sal's (Danny Aiello) pizzeria. As Sal and his sonsare proud of their Italian heritage, they decorate the store withpictures of Italian-Americans. But Mookie's friend Buggin Out(Giancarlo Esposito) notes that the pizzeria's only patrons are black,so Sal should put up pictures of African-Americans. When Sal refuses,Buggin Out announces a boycott. From there...well, you have to see themovie to really understand it. John Turturro, Bill Nunn, Ossie Davis,and Ruby Dee all provide great support. All in all, this was probablySpike Lee's second best movie behind "Malcolm X", and this appears tobe where he began his tradition of portraying Italians negatively(continued in "Jungle Fever" and the under-appreciated "Summmer ofSam").
The colours are bright and coordinated in each scene. The movie looksreally nice but thats about as far as it goes.The plot is awfully tendentious and makes statements which are soobvious that i almost blushed while watching. Racism and poverty areimportant issues. So is also the circumstances under which many peoplelive in the major cities. There are many ways to discuss those, andother political issues in the form of movies. This movie is not one ofthe most appealing ways as it underestimates the intelligence of itsviewers in its categorical manner and lack of nuances. Its is stillquite nice that that very brightly coloured script with its categoricalviews corresponds very well with the appearance of the pictures in themovie.Hardly as good as many here claims, i guess they're just blinded bynostalgia. Nevertheless it is still better than the average Americanmainstream movies./e
Every filmmaker has one truly shining moment above all others, and I daresay Spike himself would admit he'll never top this film.That this film passed by unrewarded by most moviegoers at the time of its release (certainly by the Academy Awards), the joke turns out to be on them, as most films from '89 have aged beyond belief, while "Do The Right Thing" remains as powerful and vital as it was then.The casting is brilliant, including John Turturro, Danny Aiello (and a young Martin Lawrence), Bill Nunn, Ruby Dee, and Samuel L. Jackson, the screenplay is excellent, and the direction is without peer. Spike would go on to use the same techniques for subsequent films such as "Jungle Fever", "Mo Better Blues", and "He Got Game", but never with the same effect as on this one.If you're building a video or DVD library, it isn't complete without this movie.
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (20th Anniversary Edition) (DVD) 2 Discs, Dolby 5.1 soundtrack(which is VERY nice), 11 Deleted scenes, special with the cast Do the Right Thing 20 Years later(Great)& Remastered picture. Quality & price are amazing. If you don't have this, this is the version you have been waiting for. Thank you Criterion for your version but....Universal hit this one out of the park.Thanks Universal......
Spoiler alerti loved this movie...like most of us would say...but i was up all nightthinking about what it meant. I thought about Radio...and why was hechosento die? Well it was weird b/c throught out the movie...Spike Lee sort ofbalances out his characters...like Mookie and Sal..i thought they werelikeequal..that they were alike. But Radio didn't have a balance. I meanBuggin'Out and Pino balanced each other. Mother Sister and Da Mayor balancedeachother. But radio was in the middle...maybe thats why he was chosen. Idefinitaly think Mookie saved Sal by throwing the trash can into thepizzaria. If he didnt, violence would have been brought to Sal and evenDaMayor for protecting him. But it still makes me crazy about the riotingatthe end...i know Radio died and people were p***ed, but, all that riotingand freaking out? I mean Sal fed those people, he was a nice guy, peoplegrew up on his pizza, he wasnt a stranger. Radio was going to kill Sal.Maybe I'm just thinking too much, maybe its just a story about LOVE ANDHATE. And maybe the only way everyone can live togehter is if they liveapart.
It's sometimes difficult to separate artists' public statements fromthe work they're commenting on, or to ignore the politically chargedaura a film generates. There's always that nagging feeling that amovie's point must be sussed out, that the real intentions of thefilmmaker must be understood. But in retrospect--and despite directorSpike Lee's rhetoric--Do the Right Thing may not be as profound aspreviously thought. While it should be applauded for taking on thesubject of race without Hollywood's usual heavy-handedness, simplypresenting a topic doesn't automatically mean anything is actuallybeing said about that topic.Whatever problems there are with the content, Do the Right Thing isstill great film-making. It's a vibrant, passionate, funny movie, andlike a true work of art, it both surprises and provokes. It'stechnically audacious and features one of the most successful displaysof stifling, suffocating heat ever put on film.and it does it withoutbeing languid itself. The dialogue is fast paced, the charactersenergetic, and the camera-work unpredictable, full of clever pans andTwilight Zone angles. And, except for the always excruciating MartinLawrence, the performances are uniformly good throughout. Lee alsomanages to out-Altman Altman by presenting a large cast of characterswithout it ever becoming confusing or disjointed.Taking place over the course of one scorching day inBedford-Stuyvesant, most of the action occurs in and around a pizzeriarun by Sal (Danny Aiello) and his sons Pino and Vito (John Turturro,Richard Edson). But the entire neighborhood is featured as the filmintercuts between various exchanges, many of them tinged with racialovertones: while Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) challenges a whitetenement owner when he feels slighted, down the street three men debatethe right of a Korean to own a variety store in "their" neighborhood.There are personal moments as well: Da Mayor (Ossie Davis) continuallyattempts to soften Mother Sister's (Ruby Dee) opinion of him, whileMookie (Lee) juggles time between his job at Sal's and his increasinglyaggravated girlfriend (Rosie Perez). Although Lee doesn't have the timeto make all his characters three-dimensional, he avoidssentimentalizing or demonizing any one group; there are both blacks andwhites who are sympathetic (Sal, Da Mayor) and troublesome (Pino, RadioRaheem). Only the Korean storeowner played by Steven Parks is a blatantcaricature. (Asians seem to get short shrift no matter who is behindthe camera.) Presiding over the action is disc jockey Senor Love Daddy(Samuel L. Jackson). Like Wolfman Jack in American Graffiti, heprovides ongoing background music, as well as periodic commentary.Eventually, the heat and personal tensions culminate in an explosion ofviolence centered on Sal's pizzeria. The violence escalates after oneof the characters is killed. It's at this point that the film becomesproblematic. The murder is supposed to be a tragedy, meant to provokeoutrage in the audience. But the killing of a fictional character isn'tenough in itself to warrant a reaction. It's not that audiences arejaded, but drama usually elicits judgement based on the narrativealone. If a character is a jerk, his death won't elicit much of aresponse. Like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Do the RightThing relies too heavily on the personal baggage audiences aresupposedly bringing to the film. Drawing on contemporary events andfeelings may be provocative, but it dates the film and makes for poordrama. The reactions of Mookie and Mother Sister to the murder may havebeen understandable to a disenfranchised group, but in the context ofthe plot they appear unmotivated, almost random.The somewhat ambiguous nature of the movie could easily be trumpeted asa selling point. Lee doesn't want to hold your hand; he wants you tomake up your own mind. But there is a fine line between "bravelyambiguous" and "maddeningly directionless." While Oliver Stonecontinually has been pilloried for his blatantly didactic films, thereis something to be said for being recklessly personal and taking astand. Lee made a movie about racism; but we're so starved forchallenging works, for thematically mature movies, we've embraced afilm that ultimately says nothing more than "racism is bad" and "no oneperson or group is to blame."The simplistic ideals of Do the Right Thing are most evident in fourscenes: 1) Love Daddy lists practically every major black musician fromthe last fifty years; 2) in an overly contrived sequence, Mookie getsPino to admit that his cultural heroes are all black (Magic Johnson,Eddie Murphy, and Prince); 3) Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, AlSharpton, Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan are all mentioned; 4) thewords "Tawana Told the Truth" appear spray painted on a wall (areference to the Tawana Brawley controversy of 1987). Nodifferentiation is made between the listed artists, and no context isgiven for the black leaders mentioned. These aren't explorations ofracially-charged issues, it's just name dropping.Despite its flaws, Do the Right Thing provokes discussion. It's animpossible film to dismiss. Spike Lee's subsequent career has turnedout to be a disappointment, but Do the Right Thing, along with MalcolmX, represent Lee at his creative peak.
In the movie, Do The Right Thing, there was a very great scene wherethree gentlemen walked into Sal's. The three African Americans wentinto Sal's place and started demanding that Sal put pictures of AfricanAmerican Heros, not just White Italians. This part of the move reallyexpressed the differences between the people. The Italians suddenlyweren't liked and the police. Then when the police officer choked todeath, Radio Raheem, that's when everything just broke the barrier.After his death there was nothing else for the Black neighborhood, butthe burn down Sal's Pizzeria. It symbolized how they felt, instead ofhurting Sal and his sons, they just took it out on their place.Justgoes to show that there is still tension from the days ofdiscrimination in our country.
Do the Right Thing is a Spike Lee classic film. This movie was soartistically done from the extremely fascinating cinematography to thedramatic disturbances of racism and story. This movie is reallyinteresting to try and analyze, primarily because were not sure exactlywhat message Spike Lee is trying to Convey. The movie being in a blackneighborhood during the late 80's early 90's you'd think the moviewould be all about black racism. However I found Spike Lee to bepsychologically reversing it. Instead I as the audience, a white male,felt for the movie. I felt that Lee was conveying an over poweringblack world that is unwelcoming to any opposite races. Instead ofblacks being discriminated against, whites and other ethnicities were.It was a total reverse effect. They wanted "brothers" on the wall inSal's pizza joint, but didn't really approve of Sal and his Italianson's, because they weren't black. The emotion and anger I felt duringthe denouement of the movie was as if I was suffering from living in aracist community. This to me was so interesting to feel, the simplefact that black people were sort of the discriminators is such aninteresting approach for a movie I thought it was great. I also lovedthe movie's cinematography. lot's of awesome angles and lot's ofinteresting subjective shots some that definitely broke theinvisibility barrier.
If you are searching for the very best edition of this classic movie to purchase, then look no further. This is it! Not only will you get the movie in its entirety on the 1st disc, but you will also get the 2nd disc which includes some extremely detailed bonus features surrounding this classic film. I'm not gonna say they are, but in my opinion disc 2 is well worth the price alone! Trust me. This Criterion version would be ideal for a filmmaker or a serious Spike Lee fanatic. I hope this helps...