Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Today's film is Do the Right Thing, where almost no one does the right thing and it all ends badly.  It takes place in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn where the only two businesses are a Korean fruit stand and an Italian pizzeria.

I thought the funniest part was the heat itself. 92 degrees climbing up to 100? Please that is a spring day in Florida.  Quit your whining.  Samuel L. Jackson was great as the local dj/narrator of the film.

Part of this film really isn't about racism as it's about being an ass.  Buggin Out gets irate because the pizzeria only has pictures of Italian Americans on the wall and no black people.  I'm not going to go into a pizzeria and yell about them not having any Arab Americans on the wall, because it's their business.  Part of my job is to solve complaints, and I get all kinds.  It is absolutely crazy what people will find to complain about.  Pictures on a wall seem small to the wild things I hear complaints about.  Point is some people just like to complain about things either to get free stuff or to make themselves feel better.

Buggin Out decides to boycott the restaurant but finds no takers. Everyone grew up on this food and won't abandon it. He searches the entire neighborhood until he finds Radio Raheem, a man with the biggest boombox on the planet that only plays Public Enemy.  Buggin Out talks him into boycotting the pizzeria with him.  Their method of "boycotting" the pizzeria is to go in there and yell at the owner.  I thought boycotting meant you avoided the place and didn't give them money.  They blast their horrible music and yell at him and call him a guinea (which is very racist) until he snaps and destroys the precious boombox with his bat.  Radio tries to choke him until the cops come and pull him off.  They arrest Buggin Out and manage to kill Radio in a chokehold.

The next part involves Mookie, a delivery boy of the pizzeria.  He's played by Spike Lee, the director, and is one lazy individual.  He takes two hour lunches and has no intention of bettering himself or taking care of his infant son.  Da Mayor, a friendly old man who is probably the smartest person in the film, tells him to always do the right thing.  So, when the cops are arresting people, he takes a trashcan and tosses it through the window of the pizzeria.  This ignites a riot and besides the violence, the pizzeria is set on fire.  The neighbors turn their sights on the only other business there - the Korean fruit stand.  The owner saves himself by declaring himself "black". And it ends with Mookie returning to the pizzeria he helped destroy and demanding to be paid.  Everyone is such a class act in this film.  But the filmmaking itself was good so I'll give it a 7/10.


  1. I'm in the minority (no pun intended) on this film in that I don't think it's brilliant. My biggest problem is that Spike Lee cast himself in the pivotal role of the person who kicks off the riot. I don't know if he felt that role would be a lightning rod for criticism and didn't want to make any of his actors have to catch the fallout so he cast himself, or if he cast himself out of ego because he knew how imporant the role was. Unfortunately, he's a far better director than he is an actor. I just didn't think he had the acting chops to pull off that important a role. Because of that, all the rest just didn't work for me.

    1. I also don't see how throwing a trashcan through a window is the right thing to do. I had no idea until the end that he was the director, I just thought he was a bad actor.