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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An EYE OPENER
The eye opener of the year...I loved it. Excellent story line and a must see movie by mature audiences only. Very compelling!
Published on June 29 2004 by Nick Rocco

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3.0 out of 5 stars This is a dumb movie!!!!
I didn't understand it back then and I still don't understand it now it represents black people in a very negative way!!!! I enjoy most of Spike's movies but this one I really didn't all this film shows is the negative lives of black people and I don't think that this is the way that all black people live I am sure that Spike is a pround black man and that he doesn't...
Published on Oct. 26 2003 by A. R SCOTT


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An EYE OPENER, June 29 2004
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) (DVD)
The eye opener of the year...I loved it. Excellent story line and a must see movie by mature audiences only. Very compelling!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Day In Brooklyn, Jan. 3 2003
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) (DVD)
Spike Lee's 1989 film Do The Right Thing is among a handful of films that rise above the level of actual entertainment. It is thought-provoking, educational study of race relations. The film takes place during one extremely hot day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is predominately black, but the film centers around a pizzeria owned by Sal (Danny Aiello) who is white. All of Sal's customers are the black, but on his wall he has pictures of white film and music stars. This is a source of irritation to some customers, especially the radically minded Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito). But Sal refuses to change and he goes about his business. Sal's two sons, Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson) also work at the pizzeria as does Mookie (Mr. Lee) who is Sal's delivery boy. Pino is highly bigoted and isn't afraid to let his opinions be know, while Vito is more sensitive and adverse to confrontation. Real life husband and wife Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee appear as the neighborhood elders, Da Mayor & Mother Sister who are constantly trading humorous barbs at one another while dispensing advice to the locals. Other interesting characters such as Radio Raheem, Sweet Dick Willie & DJ Mister Senor Love Daddy are featured throughout the film. Mr. Lee does a brilliant job of conveying the extreme heat that has overtaken the neighborhood. You can almost feel the heat while watching the film. Tensions also slowly rise through the film until the climatic riot scene where Sal's pizzeria is burned down, started by Mookie throwing a garbage can through the window. This is particularly devastating to Sal as he genuinely cared for Mookie and can't believe Mookie would do this to him. Mr. Lee's message in the film is that one doesn't know exactly what the right thing is. He illustrates this by the messages of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Dr. King was for a peaceful solution to racism while Malcolm X said to fight for equality by any means necessary. Is passively sitting back right or is violence right? Mr. Lee never answers the question, which is exactly his point. Do The Right Thing was shunned at the 1989 Academy Awards garnering only a nomination for Mr. Aiello (which was richly deserved) in the Best Supporting Actor category. Ironically the film that won Best Picture was Driving Miss Daisy which was the stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of blacks as subservient workers and the type of film that Mr. Lee's pictures were the antithesis of. All in all, Do The Right Thing is a brilliant movie and one that deserves all the accolades that it received.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "The left hand is hate. The right hand is love.", July 13 2004
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie is largely an angry, outrageous film. But it is also a beautiful and enlightening one. DO THE RIGHT THING garnered Spike Lee, writer, director, and star of the film, both praise and criticism. But what you must remember, those who either praise it or look down upon it, is that DO THE RIGHT THING couldn't be further from the truth.
DO THE RIGHT THING was an introduction to Lee's brazen and bold style of filmmaking. He had a part in every aspect: direction, cast, production, writing the screenplay, etc. That's why, if someone is interested in seeing a "Spike Lee joint", I will definitely recommend DO THE RIGHT THING first and foremost.
It's a look at race relations in America circa 1989, a drastic glimpse in which the outsiders, meaning the audience, can feel as if they are right there in Harlem with Mookie (Spike Lee).
Mookie is an unmarried father, a boyfriend to Tina (Rosie Perez), loud and outspoken with her buxom figure. She pushes Mookie to spend more time with her and their son, complaining about him being a deadbeat dad. His excuse? Work.
True, much of Mookie's time is spent working at Sal's, a pizzeria in Harlem, run by white Italians in a neighborhood where the population appears to be around 99.5 percent black.
Other characters include Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jade, Mookie's sister (Joie Lee). Radio Raheem's dialogue throughout the film it limited - he more or less expresses his freedom through his incessantly blaring radio. In fact, throughout the entire movie, Public Enemy's "FIGHT THE POWER" blasts throughout the neighborhood. Buggin' Out is irked with a situation at Sal's that he feels must immediately be taken care of. He just wants Sal to "put some brothas" up on his restaurant's walls, right beside pics of Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable. Sal (Danny Aiello) refuses to comply with Buggin' Out's request.
In the end, Radio Raheem and Buggin' Out fuel an argument that quickly evolves into a neighborhoodwide conflagration. Alas, Mookie fuels the fire by hurling a trashcan through the glass window of the pizzeria - his boss' pizzeria - and the brawl proceeds, with Sal and his sons standing on the sidelines.
DO THE RIGHT THING is an odd title for a film like this, some people may think. Is the right thing done? Does Lee believe that the characters in his film did the right thing? I'm not sure. The title can be interpreted in a number of ways, I suppose. First, I suspected it was irony. No, Mookie didn't do the right thing! He fueled the fire and instigated the riot to mammoth proportions! Property was destroyed and damaged! My second conclusion was merely that "doing the right thing" serves as an argument for the people, for people unwilling to make compromises or verbally come to an agreement through reasonable, mature conversation. In reality, the film isn't about who is right and who is wrong and why. You had people like Mookie, who seemed to act on impulse, and then you had Da Mayor, trying to calm the livid people down, trying to talk sense into their heads. People evidently followed Mookie's lead and in the process, they hurt and killed others, seriously damaged and neighborhood properties. Not only that, but mere misunderstanding and hate seems to exist between them, even after the riot ends. That's a sad thing, yet it's also a very true thing.
Lee's picture clarifies the fact that yes, misunderstanding between peoples does fuel hate, which, in turn, fuels even bigger and uglier physical problems. DO THE RIGHT THING was taboo for how it portrayed peoples of different races, yet for film's time, the state of Harlem and its residents was portrayed with frank and genuine realness that simply can't be denied. Certain characters, settings, and events rung clear and true. DO THE RIGHT THING is arguably one of the finest examples of race relations illustrated in film. You can watch and rewatch - and learn - from this tumultuous and dramatic "Spike Lee joint".
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5.0 out of 5 stars That�s the double-truth� Ruth, June 29 2004
By 
Itamar Katz (Ramat-Gan, Israel) - See all my reviews
In all likelihood Spike Lee's most important achievement - as director, writer and actor (though to my taste Mo' Better Blues is just as good a picture) and one of the strongest films you'll see about race relations, 'Do The Right Thing' looks dated at times, but it lost none of its impact and relevance. The movie takes place in a particularly hot day in a primarily African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, and follows the various personalities who live there throughout the day; the center of the story is Sal's Famous Pizzeria - its owners, some of the few white people living in the neighborhood: Sal (Oscar nominated performance for Danny Aiello) and his two sons (John Torturro and Richard Edson), and Mookie (Spike Lee himself), the black delivery boy. What starts out as a light, entertaining movie with some amusing characters and light humor, gradually builds up tension to the point of being unbearable, up to the dramatic and tragic climax. Spike doesn't put as much emphasis on the characters themselves as he does on the relationships and the tension between them; and in this image of a very specific and small frame in time and place, makes a strong and important message about racism and race relations in general.
The film is populated with many different characters, all of them very memorable and each one a representative of a certain belief, mode of behavior or state of mind - on both sides of the conflict. From the uninhibited anger of Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) and Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) on one side and Pino (John Torturro) on the other side, to Jade (Joie Lee, Spike's sister in the film and in real life) and Vito (Richard Edson), who are trying to connect and live at peace with the other side, to Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), in his isolated but peaceful state of mind, living in complete peace with the world around him, and Smiley (Roger Smith), living in his own isolated existence. Then there's Mookie, who is stuck in the middle, torn between his commitment and responsibilities to both sides. Finally we have Mister Senor Love Daddy - played gorgeously by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson, in one of his finest performances - half active character and half all-knowing narrator - who represents the voice of reason in the conflict, the reason which is bound, ultimately, to collapse. Each and every character plays an important part in the climatic and dramatic conflict to which the movie builds up, and though it's the radical ones - Buggin Out and Radio Raheem - who trigger the events that cause the tragedy, they are not necessarily the ones who finish it. It is Mookie and Sal, in fact, who ultimately play the main part.
Do The Right Thing is not an easy watch; it's a mesmerizing, tense, difficult film that breaks many taboos and slaughters many holy cows. But in the end of it - hopefully - you'll be wiser than you were in the beginning, and that's what Lee have always tried to achieve in all his films. Watch it to get a real view on racism that doesn't duck the difficult issues and isn't afraid to tackle the real problem, and to see a master director at work. It's one of the best films of its time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a controversal film that explores racism, June 13 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) (DVD)
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" is a groundbreaking film indeed. It takes place in Brooklyn NY on a hot summer day. The heat is causing people to be more irritable and when one thing leads to another, the situation explodes into a riot.
I thought that the film depicted Blacks in a very stereotypical manner. But since the director is black, I guess it would not be considered racist. The film had a well deserved R rating for a scene of sexual content, a scene of violence, and a lot of profanity.
The film only shows shat racism is alive and well in America and that it is unlikely to end soon. As a Christian, I feel that this is an important film to see and the negative effect racism has on society, but feel that they could have made the film a bit tamer as far as the nudity is concerned. The violence and use of the N-word, while disturbing to many, is necessary to demonstrate how bad the problem is and why racism must end.
The DVD is a double disc feature with many special features on it.
Disc one contains the film with optional audio commentary with Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Wynn Thomas, and Joie Lee
Disc two contains, Theatrical trailers and TV spots, an excerpt from the Cannes film festival press conference. There is an hour long documentary on the making of the film with preproduction scenes including a script reading. There is a second making-of documentary, the music video for the movie's theme song "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy, storyboards for the riot scene, and an interview with editor Barry Brown. In addition to this, many of the features include a brief introduction by director Spike Lee.
This remains an important film that shows the negative effect of racism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do The Right Thing, May 3 2004
Ah, Spike Lee's ''Do The Right Thing'' made in 1989 is one of the most controversial ever made, it brought bough negative and critical acclaim for Spike Lee, it was
probably his best movie during his rise to fame. He had just done ''She's gotta
have it'' which was basically a hormonal sex based movie and ''School Daze'', not necessary Oscar material so Spike got serious and gave us his best effort to date. He has since gone a spiral delivering some good hits and some misses but Spike whether the film is bad or not, is one director that I can say no matter what strikes a chord with you after watching one of his film (with the exception of the first 2).
''Do the Right Thing'' was made during the long hot summer of 1988 , shot on location in the bed sluy slums of Brooklyn New York. The special 2 disc dvd of the film revealed several details of the film which I found interesting, though not surprising which I will explain but first the plot.
Plot:
Well this is a film about racism plain and simple, however the debate seems to be which party in the film is right and which party is wrong.
Danny Aieloo plays Sal owner of Sal's Pizzaria in NY. Sal is a very proud Italian American who has had his business for over 25 yrs years with his sons Pino (John Turturo) and ML (Paul Benjamin). Sal is an oldfashioned, hard working man who makes his living of his pizzas. He does have some views, he views Italian American's as the best people around around. His son on the other hand Pino (John Turturo) can be called a racist, he views black people as ''monkey'' and ''apes'' and hates
the sight of one. His brother ML on the other hand is very tolerant of the people around him.
Sal has a worker named ''Mookie'' (Spike Lee) a somewhat deadbeat father with a loudmouth Puerto Rican girlfriend (Rosie Perez). In fact his girlfriend doesn't seem
that fond of Mookie. Mookie as it turns out like Pino has some racist views of his son, he doesn't particulary like white folks and when he brings in his black friends Radio Raseem (Bill Nun)and CoconuT sID (Frankie Faison) to stir up trouble in Sal's
pizzarria well sooner a clash of cultures will erupt in violence. However the debate is which side is right and is this really a movie about race or a movie where one race tries to impose their culture on someone else's ideals?
For instance, Sal (Aiello) does not invite Mookie's friends to the Pizzarria. He dislikes them very much. Mookie's friends equally dislike Sal because for one , he doesn't put black people on his walls, but then the questions arises. If Mookie's friends dont like Sal, why do they come to eat pizza there? Why do they time and time again impose their black culture on him? You can very much make the argument the black characters although they are trying to make out Sal as this monster racist, actually come to be the racists themselves. Sal himself almost throughout the whole movie displays no violence. He yells at these guys and tells them to leave but it never reaches an an extreme the Mookie character who by the end purposedly starts a riot. In fact there is one great where Sal tells the group that this is his place and if they don't like it they can go somehwere else, but they never do. By that alone Sal, has acted in the most nonviolent way possible and still standing up for himself and his ideals.
Before that, we see more of this bigoted racists attitude but not on Sal, but on Korean characters in the movie. During one point, a couple of black unemployed old men, start pointing several of the neighborhood Korean shops and immediately start throwing obscenities about the Korean people working in them.They never once consider the situation from the point of the Koreans,the shop is their only livelihood, but as far these racist black men go, the Koreans are taking the jobs away. It's a very stupid and racist attitude to have, even Sal's attitude never reaches that extreme.
Going back to near the end movie it's the black characters who become the aggesor such as when Radio Raseem invades Sal's pizzarria and turns his radio on loudly inside the man's shop, not only is it disrespectful, when Sal himself has said not to do it, but it's an act of aggresion, it's an antagonizing to bait other people to do the same thing and bring on harm to Sal's pizzaria.
So you can see although Spike Lee tries to make this film about race and race culture, he doesn't do a great job in that end because one side ultimately looks worse than the other. His message of trying to create an atmosphere where both blacks and whites are at fault for the disintegrating situation fall fault.
Still ''Do The Right Thing'' as flawed and misguided as it is, does bring up this topic of race relation and the wrong way of trying to reconcile a bad situation in that regard, the movie should actually be called ''Doing the Wrong Thing''.
The 2 disc dvd I saw were great providing a great variety of info on the movie such as the 60 minute documentary on the making of the film which is very intriguing. The audio commentary by Spike Lee is there too as is a ''Look Back'' 10 yrs at the events of the film, how it has somewhat affected peoples views. Overall the DVDs for the
film were great, including the music video by RunDMC ''Fight the Power'', but it wasn't something that presented anything I already didnt know.
But check out the dvds and if you don't have a copy check out the vhs as ''Do The Right Thing'' is a bit of phenomen with some important views on racism although it just doesn't present them in the best possible manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do The Right Thing, March 18 2004
By 
Geminigirl (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
I still remember coming out of the movie theatre crying after seeing this film. Spike Lee is one of the most thought provoking writer/directors of his time and this film proves it.
Using the hottest day in Bed-Sty as the backdrop for escalating racial tensions was genius. Watching the film, one never knows why on this particular day Buggin Out became enraged about the fact that there were no pictures of African Americans on the pizzaria's wall of fame but then, one doesn't have to. The message in the film was & is to this day that racial unrest/tensions simmer just below the surface in situations, neighborhoods, and work and ANYTHING at any time came cause those passions to escalate into an out of control situation.
The title Do The Right Thing encourages each viewer to ask him/herself exactly what the right thing is. The character of Mookie was not there to show that his actions were the "right thing" only how one young man reacted in a given situation.
I still remember reviewers advising strong police turnouts at theatres showing this film stating that "the natives" might riot due to the nature of the film - patented to keep the white people scared and away from the film. Thankfully it didn't work and hopefully people who view this movie do so with open minds - it's a great commentary on race relations because quite frankly, a lot of us live in neighborhoods just like this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Do the Right Thing and see this movie, Jan. 20 2004
By 
This movie is very confrontational, and not really a movie. It's a pissed off guys way of telling the world "HEY WE'RE ALL THE SAME YOU MORONS NOW LET'S STOP WITH THE RACIAL HATRED AND BIGATRY AND GET ALONE!" That's pretty much the message this movie sends. The ending will have you astonished. It's sad that we as people are biggots because of skin or nationality differences. So take this movie's advice and "Forget ABout It" okay! We're all the same! All equally created. No one person is better than the other. So see this film cuz it'll make you wanna kick the crud outta some KKK member or some Nazi punk. Not saying you should, cuz we need to understand each other, and love each other regardless if they have an opposing view. That is what this film comunicated to me, and I strongly recomend that every boy and girl should see this movie. Whether you're black, white, or an off color green, just see this important film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic !, Jan. 4 2004
By 
nadav haber (jerusalem Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (VHS Tape)
I first saw this movie in 1990. I have seen it a few more times since then, and today I am convinced that the movie stands the test of time.
The reason for its success is its apparent banality, everyday quality. It seems like nothing happens, a regular day in a black neighborhood. Some people work, some stay home, and some just hang out. Nothing special.
But a tension is built. Small things, almost unnoticable. Then suddenly, everything explodes, emotions burst out, and destruction follows. What Lee shows in the movie is the daily dynamics of countless neighborhood in the world, wherever the residents of the neighborhood feel frustrated, discriminated against, closed in. Nothing special indeed, regretfully.
Is Lee right ? Is he wrong ? By breaking the Pizza's window he probably saved Sal's life, but that is not the issue. Even the cop who killed Radio Raheem is shown not to have meant it. We cannot judge what has happenned without looking into politics - who controls the budget, the school system, the Media ? It is not Sal, nor Mookie, nor even the violent cop. They are mere puppets on strings, playing out the roles expected of them.
See the movie !!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars An Overrated Effort that was Almost Great, Nov. 30 2003
By 
This review is from: Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) (DVD)
This film had so much promise: the beautiful colors, the eventual all-star ensemble cast in great roles, the poignant topic, the up-and-coming director's early film, and so on. It looked like an intelligent French art film. The ending ruined it for me, however, and cheapened the whole experience.
For a while, I got the feeling that Lee was making a film critical of his own community for creating many of their own problems, while not ignoring the external ones (as evident in John Tuturro's character and the NYPD), in a way a white director could never get away with these days. During those scenes, Lee also portrays simple, stereotypical images of Koreans, Puerto Ricans, and Italian-Americans. But it was all colorful and entertaining, leading us towards the climactic finale...
What was Lee's message in this film? Ultimately, I got the feeling that he felt his character "did the right thing" by inciting a riot. If that is the case, then this film is utter trash. If not, he should have told us so in some manner, however obscure, before it ended. In either event, the film's ultimate failure at poignancy destroys all the beautiful art that came before. In the end, I felt much less empathy with the plight of the African American community than I did before. The only character that seemed to be vindicated by the events was the racist Italian son. Is that what Lee was aiming for? Result: A sad failure.
If you want to see a good Spike Lee "joint", I recommend you watch Clockers, Malcolm X, or even Son of Sam.
A final note, history has not been kind to this film. One scene shows graffiti saying "Tawana told the truth" (in fact, we now know she lied), and in another, Lee defends Jessie Jackson's honor (now seriously in question on numerous counts). That certainly doesn't help the cause of Lee's preachy tone, nor his apparent belief that Mookie "did the right thing".
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Do the Right Thing (Widescreen)
Do the Right Thing (Widescreen) by Spike Lee (DVD - 2002)
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