Tuesday, February 08, 2011

AFI 96 - Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing
Directed by Spike Lee
Netflix sleeve: What begins as an uproarious comedy evolves into a provocative, disquieting drama as directory Spike Lee chronicles trivial events that bring festering racial tensions to the surface on a sweltering day in a largely black Brooklyn neighborhood. After a number of minor misunderstandings--and an effort to boycott the local pizza parlor--a young man (Bill Nunn) lies dead, the pizzeria lies in ashes, and the racial schism is wider than ever.

This is a new one to me. At the time this movie came out, my only exposure to life in Brooklyn came from The Cosby Show. And the Huxtables did not live in the neighborhood depicted in this movie. Stories about race relations are always a touchy subject. More often than not, they're pretty controversial. From what I've read, this movie was no different when it was originally released. Having seen it now, I think it's a pretty good movie. I usually do like the sort of thing that shows a slice of life like this one does. It all takes place in the span of a day when everyone is just trying to deal with a summer heat wave. I'd be lying if I said that I totally understood the message that Spike Lee was trying to get across to the audience. I can only assume the reason for that is because I'm just a white kid from Virginia who's sitting in his living room watching a movie. The acts taking place in this movie are nothing I've ever experienced. But all it takes is to turn on the news every now and then to see that this can and does still happen from time to time.

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