AFI Top 100: No. 96 Do The Right Thing

I sat on the couch stunned and speechless after watching Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”. All I could think about after the movie was, did anyone do the right thing in this movie? Could this have been avoided? Would this neighborhood be the same after an incident like this?

I thought the movie was going to be a comedy after the first half hour, even though I knew it was a Spike Lee film. The exchanges between the many different characters seemed light-hearted and other than the fact the temperature outside was hot, it seemed like a friendly community. Da Mayor gave a bit of foreshadowing early on when he told Mookie to do the right thing.

Slowly the racial tensions between characters became more and more apparent. I found myself enraged at Pino, annoyed by Buggin’ Out and amused by Radio Raheem. The movie switches its tone almost entirely after a well-done scene featuring several of the main characters, and several other neighborhood figures, expressing their frustrations with the different races.

After the violence occurred, you couldn’t help but try to pinpoint whose fault it was. I read later on Spike Lee was trying to prove a black man’s life was worth more than a white man’s property. Whether or not Spike Lee was able to prove this to his audience is one question, but there is no doubt this film generated thought and conflict in a person’s mind. There are a variety of emotions that come through after watching this film that become even more conflicted after reading the two clashing quotations from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Maybe, they’re both right.

Next Up: No. 95 The Last Picture Show

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