2017 Blind Spot Series: Do The Right Thing

It's gonna get hotter. 

What I knew going in: Aside from the themes about racial divide, not much at all.

Sal (Danny Aiello) owns a pizza place in Brooklyn. His customers are almost exclusively black due to the area he built in. His racist son, Pino (John Turturro) thinks he should relocate, but he refuses. One day one of his customers, Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) asks why he only has photos of Italian American white men and no black men on his walls. This disagreement turns into Buggin Out attempting to boycott the pizzeria, which continues to escalate throughout the day. Mookie (Spike Lee) A friend of Buggin, but an employee of Sal finds himself caught in the middle.

Doing "day in the life" films can be difficult. It's hard to follow someone, or a few people around for a set period of time if their story doesn't progress or shift in any way. Do The Right Thing makes it look easy. There's a lot going on in this film. Through Mookie's eyes, we meet all of his neighbors. Some more memorable than others but every single one felt like they served a purpose.

It's hard for me to describe how this film was shot. To me, it looks like a music video, and it absolutely works. The camera is often above our character, shooting them at a downwards angle. It's not afraid to get in their personal space. I imagine that's how Lee wanted his audience to feel. Like we needed to get in there to understand the importance of it all.

It's so strange for me to see Esposito in a role like this after being so used to him as the methodical Gus Fring in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul.  I'm glad Lee cast himself in this as well. The acting is great all around, especially from the supporting cast. I felt myself getting very defensive of Roger Guenveur Smith's Smiley several times. But I can't for the life of me figure out why out of all these people, Aiello ended up with the lone acting Oscar nomination. He's good, don't get me wrong, but I didn't feel that he was the strongest.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You should boycott the barber that fucked up your head."  - Sweet Dick Willie (Robin Harris)

14 comments:

  1. So glad you finally watched and enjoyed this. I love everything about it. Totally agree about the performance s. For me,Esposito walks away with the movie. Funny you should mention that it's odd to see him in a role like this. Do The Right Thing was the first thing I saw him in. From then on, the first thing I think when I see his face is 'There's Buggin'Out.'

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    1. Breaking Bad was the first thing I really noticed him in, so he's always Gus Fring to me. It would've been amusing, I think, to have seen this first. Buggin' Out being a king pin.

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  2. Really glad you saw this one. I love the cinematography as well, it has always stayed with me. And yeah, what a trip to see Giancarlo Esposito in such a different role than we're used to seeing him in now.

    What is so damn sad about this movie is how relevant it still is. For example, it is shocking how similar Radio Raheem's death is to Eric Garner's. "Hate, hate, hate!" Mookie screams. Hate, indeed.

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    1. It is. I thought of Eric Garner and the entire Black Lives Matter movement too when watching that scene, it's depressing.

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    2. Yes Alex. I 100 % agree. This is a movie that every adult needs to see. It's as relevant as ever. So glad you watched this Brittani

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  3. I do love this film and it is a very important film that is more relevant right now given the times we're in.

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  4. Great reaction to a supremely meaningful and memorable film. Lee is great here as an actor, even better behind the camera. This is when he began to really hit his stride. I love this movie, anxiously awaiting the day the Criterion upgrades it to Blu-ray.

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    1. FYI Kevin, this movie is on Blu-ray, but I don't think it's done by Criterion.

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    2. Agreed, Kevin! Yeah, it is on Blu Ray because that's was an option on Netflix, though I watched this on HBO Go.

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  5. This is a new one to me but it sounds like something that needs to go onto my watch list!

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    1. It should! I'm glad I finally got around to seeing it.

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  6. I haven't seen this film since an early film class back in my college days, but between this post and Dell's undying affection...I feel I need to revisit this one asap.

    HBO GO, you say?

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