Reading this week’s practicum objective, I was reminded I let a group of homeless and foster kids watch the Spike Lee Joint Do the Right Thing (yes, I got permission). In my moment of nostalgia, I asked my spouse on a dinner and a movie date (I think asking your partner on a date is great way to let them know you’re not taking them for granted). I also felt that it would be a good check in with myself to see if my views had changed.
Here is my review: This film is cinematically brilliance; a thought-provoking view of contemporary race relations. The film is set in 1989 on the hottest day of the summer on a block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. It’s one of the few movies that introduces you to a plethora of characters. There is Mookie (Spike Lee), the black pizza delivery boy; Sal (Danny Aiello), the white Italian owner of a pizzeria; Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) a black “protestor”; Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), a drunk and part wise elder; and many more that inflict racial slurs against each other. There is only one character that shows that she is all good and that is Jade (Joie Lee). She is the small piece of hope that tries to keep all the races together, but she is in very few scenes (which also confirms the lack of understanding between the races). The black neighborhood is patrolled by white cops and commercialized by both an Italian family pizzeria that has been a mainstay for twenty-five years and a Korean grocery store. The racial tensions simmer as Radio Raheem demands a photo of a black celebrity on Sal’s wall of Italian heroes. Mookie is caught between allegiance to his black community and his Italian employer. Doing the right thing is sometimes hard, not only to do, but even to know. Every character in the movie is somewhat racist. Even though there are glimpses of different races helping each other, there is another scene right after to contradict the previous scene. The film ends with the climax of a riot out and sides are taken. Lee takes it a step further and leaves the movie goer to pick a side as the film ends with powerful quotations from Martin Luther King and Malcolm X support. Have you seen this movie, what are your thoughts? What film has impacted you?