Best Movies of All Time + [Spike Lee]

DO THE RIGHT THING

DO THE RIGHT THING
1989

TRAILER

Rating: R (for adult content, adult language and violence)

Directed by: Spike Lee

Starring: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, Bill Nunn, Samuel L. Jackson

Analysis: Like most of his work, Spike Lee's 1989 joint focuses heavily on race relations in New York. In Do the Right Thing, we see Lee himself in a starring role as a young, black man working for an Italian-American pizzeria in his own neighborhood. On one particularly hot day, tempers begin to flare (flaring tempers in the heat? shocking), ultimately culminating in a dramatic, rage-filled finale that only Spike Lee could effectively create.

Watching Lee's films is always a little bit of a stretch for me. The list of his work that I've seen is short (25th Hour, Inside Man, Miracle at St. Anna, and now Do the Right Thing), and from those, I've only truly loved Inside Man, probably because it didn't really rely on race. I didn't outright hate any of his films, but because I'm a young, white man, I'm definitely not the audience Lee is looking for. The films are solid and well-made, but I personally just can't relate to the message he's trying to send.

In the case of Do the Right Thing, I don't really have anything bad to say. The script is tight and well-written, and it worked well enough to keep me engaged throughout the movie. The acting is also solid, with special mentions for Esposito, Turturro and Jackson, who make the most of their limited screen time. I also like the choice of music, especially the use of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," which almost served as a theme or an anthem for the film. It's almost constantly playing throughout, and it was stuck so deep into my consciousness that I felt like I could still hear it even when it wasn't actually there.

Just because I couldn't find a way to relate to Do the Right Thing doesn't take away from it's quality: it's definitely a film worth watching, especially if you're interested in seeing one of Spike Lee's earlier attempts at showing race relations. It was critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated, so that should add some credence to its overall quality.

Movie Review Summary:
Score: 7.5/10
Grade: B

Should You Watch It? If you want a good look at race relations