Monday, November 17, 2008

Do the Right Thing (1989) R - 4 Stars

Has to be Spike Lee's best movie!!! I just re-rented the movie and it has not lost and of it's flavor. Probably worthy of 3½ Stars, I'm giving it the extra boost to 4 stars just because it makes one stop and take a look at racism from all angles. Though I don't think there was enough interaction with the white man, the movie does a good job realistically, yet comically, of the daily interactions of racism within this minority, late 1980's neighborhood. Spike Lee humanises ALL of his characters so you truly feel and identify with ALL of them as they struggle day by day in the poorer part of town. This would be a great movie to show in a high school humanities and tolerance class but I guess the language might be too strong.

On the hottest day, in a small suburb of Brooklyn New York, Sal (Danny Aiello) and his two sons Vito (Richard Edson) and Pino (John Turturro) are serving up slices of pizza that have been feeding the community for over 25 years. Sal is well known in the neighborhood and he built Sal's Pizzeria up from the ground, brick by brick. For him, these people are his family as he has watched them grow up and old. He's even hired Mookie (Spike Lee) a non hard hard working local black man in the community, to show he holds no prejudices. Vito and Mookie have become friends while Pino distrusts the blacks and is tired of dealing with them daily basis.

Mookie is just trying to get paid and get by with as little as he needs to do to make money to stay with his sister Jade (Joie Lee, Spike's real sister), and help out his girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez) and their son. Meanwhile, the rest of his friends are kickin' it in the street instead of working for a living. Cee (Martin Lawrence), Charlie (Frank Vincent) and Clifton (John Savage) are just up to no good all day doing as little as they can but basically causing no one harm.

Mother Sister (Ruby Dee) looks from her window voicing her disapproval on the behavior of the local drunk, Da Mayor (Ossie Davis) who fancies her. Sweet Dick Willie (Robin Harris), ML (Paul Benjamin) and Coconut Sid (Frankie R. Faison) represent the older crowd and sit on the corner reminiscing of younger days. They're tired of the Koreans taking over the stores instead of black owned business in their neighborhood. Mister Senor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson), watches from his window as he spins his favorite tunes of Love to his listeners at 108 LOVE FM.

Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) shows his power on the streets by his gi-normous bomb box tuned to play Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" over and over. Smiley (Roger Guenveur Smith) is a Malcom X and Martin Luther King supporter and though he is handicapped, it doesn't keep him from actively peddling pictures of his hero's for cash. Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), is named appropriately due to his coke bottle eye glasses. He is passionate about equal rights for the black man and he wants Sal to put pictures of famous black man on the wall in his store instead of the pictures of only Italian's, proudly displayed there now. He feels the need to get together a group to boycott Sal's and enlists the help of Radio and Smiley. But things are about to really heat up with tensions growing as the temperature rises and Sergeant (Joel Nagle), Officer Long (Rick Aiello) and Officer Ponte (Miguel Sandoval) are called to the scene before a riot breaks out.

Awards:

1999 - Do the Right Thing - Library of Congress - U.S. National Film Registry
1988 - Do the Right Thing - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Music Score
1988 - Do the Right Thing - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
1988 - Do the Right Thing - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Director
1988 - Do the Right Thing - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Picture
1989 - Do the Right Thing - New York Film Critics Circle - Best Cinematography

40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Da Moulan Van Movie Company
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Spike Lee
Producer: Jon Kilik
I viewed 11/08

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Homey did this one right.