Do the Right Thing - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Do the Right Thing Reviews

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September 26, 2016
The concluding sentiment is agreeable and especially pertinent with today's crass race politics, but it is delivered by way of a loud pantomime with a collection of obnoxious, dull characters that generate little pathos.
August 29, 2016
Disturbingly reminiscent of Eric Garner. And the too-many black deaths at the hands of police and others over too many years....
August 27, 2016
This film is a powerful drama that truly challenges your assumptions and prejudices, as a great work of art should do.
August 9, 2016
The movie is a powerful film showing a difference to racism here someone believes they're above another race or prejudice and stereotypical. A man who lived in a white neighborhood before black people moved in. Mookie is a worker who knows sal and his two sons. One son has grown to like black people while the other doesn't and prefers to use the term "niggers" when preferring to them as he thinks they're loud, rude, and violent while Mook tries to show him how he's right the film has its own unique how Spike directs you towards getting to know the characters is great with his usual style a zoom up close to the person to get a fell of the emotion and what the person says as if it there brain right there before us speaking exactly what it's felling. Its urgent, loud, and memorizing with amazing efforts I find it to be on of the best films on this topic leaving the question, "Who did the right thing".
August 3, 2016
Spike Lee undoubtably has talent, or he did at one point. Regardless of what his reputation as a filmmaker and human being is today, he can, when he wants to, be a man of peace and love and a great filmmaker. In this film, Lee touches on all the things racism leads to: violence, anger, resentment, and suffering. Blacks aren't the only victims of racism; we all are. The film is at times lighthearted and at times deeply serious; it's the love and hate relationship described on Radio's rings. This film is more than just it's story; it's life.
July 29, 2016
It's been a long time since I've seen this movie; don't remember the last time I've seen it, but I watched it tonight. It might as well have been the first time, though, because I didn't remember too much of it.

I'm not saying anything new when I say that this is a classic. From what I have seen and read of Spike Lee's oeuvre(which I'll admit is not nearly enough), this seems to be the most accessible of his works. It's bold and unapologetically black, but warm and funny with a dash of heaviness to it - basically, it's a Spike Lee joint.
The dialogue is snappy and even-paced and the characters are memorable - I remember reading somewhere that even the heat itself seems like it s own character; in the background, always lurking and prodding the tension. I think one of my favorite things about this is that it seems like a small snapshot of a time and place and when it's over, life goes on; it was just a two hour look. At times it's like we're listening in on small-talk conversations that aren't necessarily riviting but interesting nonetheless. Sometimes I'm in the mood for movies that are driven by "unimportant" talk.

I was seven when this movie came out, so I don't know first hand how 'Do the Right Thing' was received. I know that it is a reaction to the very real-life racial tensions that existed then and certainly exist now. If ever white America needed evidence that ugly racism and police brutality in the inner-city are nothing new (you may be surprised by how many people think "this whole anti-police attitude" is a new thing), this could be exhibit A.
I mean, what year was this movie made? Because, it goes without saying that the last 15 minutes could have taken place in 1969 just as much as it could in 1989, just as it could (and has) in 2016.
July 20, 2016
About two weeks ago, I read news about the independent deaths of two black civilians, Philando Castile and Aldon Sterling, under the hands of local police forces. Soon after that, I heard about two separate incidents of lone black civilians shooting and killing multiple officers of their respective police forces. All of these stories reminded me of where I normally believe violent tendencies root from: pressurized frustration. I generally sell myself as a pacifist, and, no matter how large of a protest I may ever take part in, would never want to resort to violence for achieving my means. However, having watched Do the Right Thing in light of what has happened -- mind you, this movie is almost thirty years old -- there is something to be said about the fact that such incidents are what leads the vast majority to talking about these issues otherwise brushed to the side. Spike Lee does not want you to choose a side. He wants you to choose both sides, and, pardon this moment of exploitation, know what is the right thing to do in a given situation. He wants you to understand where everyone comes from, what each individual wants, and why particular incidents are bound to happen. Do the Right Thing is phenomenal. I have not said a word about the movie.

1989!! Brooklyn, on a hot summer day. Oh, but first, Spike Lee takes the time to introduce one of hip-hop's all-time greatest songs, Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," to the world in its full three-verse glory, while female dancers break it down like a revolution were about to burst through their souls. Okay, Spike(R), I am ready. Brooklyn, on a hot summer day. We see a small chunk of a neighbourhood, almost entirely black in its community. Exceptions include a favourite pizzeria named Sal's, owned by, you guessed it, an Italian-American Sal (Danny Aiello), and a grocery store owned by a recently immigrated Korean family. On the morning of this day, tensions between everybody seem normal, in that any anger is primarily released between people of the same race. This provides us with the comedic portion of the script. The relationship between Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), local old drunk, and Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), local old crazy, is very playful in how they express their resentment. The fact that the actors were married in real life might have helped. Main character Mookie (Spike Lee) and his girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez) quarrel with one another constantly; this may come from Mookie's historically irresponsible attitude about everything -- parenting, working, loving, and, arguably, standing up for himself when appropriate. Throughout the day, we hear the optimism of the local radio host (Samuel Jackson), the stuttered soliciting of Smiley (Roger Smith), and the industrial funk of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) and his loop of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." Mookie works for Sal's pizzeria as a delivery boy, and during his travels around the block, he encounters these localized tropes over and over, not fully aware of the resentment building inside everyone against one another. No one except Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito), who has no qualms in confronting Sal about the lack of a single black person on the establishment's wall of fame, has any clue of what such containment can lead one to do.

As the sun goes down and the moon and artificial lights brighten the nightly streets, stakes rise higher and higher. Each race continues to confide in one another for peace, escapism, agreement, strategy. Spike Lee does not blame any particular group for that. He blames everyone, but he also forgives everyone. Biologically, we are inclined to confide in those we trust the most. Those people tend to be those that we grew up with or raised, and from there, we cling to those who look like people we grew up with. It is practically inevitable, when we are not conscious about it. That is what is so illuminating about Do the Right Thing. This is a wake-up call that has been ringing for the entire duration of the movie, but we may not even notice until huge tragedy strikes. And when it does strike, everything I love about this movie hit me at once: the humanity, the political enlightenment, the urgency, the despair, the optimism. A masterpiece of art like this is not easy to find. With all due credit to the craftsmanship of director and screenwriter Spike Lee, this may have more to do with the industry's desire to reject works like this for being too confrontational. Personally, I live for facing confrontation.
June 29, 2016
intense and up close from start to finish in the thick of complex and varied
personalities and groups. I have been in families and teams mad and with mixed feelings and trying to do the right thing to keep the relationships and dialogue going, to keep from yelling, conflict or cutoff, sivorce dissolution or harm. but I've never lived in a neighborhood so heated like this block. I've been privileged that way.
½ June 4, 2016
Spike Lee's ultimate hangout film is also an incredibly profound look at racism and African American culture. Made in 1989, it's just as relevant today and probably more so. The cinematography is inventive, all the performances are wacky and wonderful and there's so many ideas here that always feel are brought to full circle. It's a very memorable and profound film that's more personal than anything Spike's ever done.
May 30, 2016
So, I watched this again after more than a decade. And while I still find it a pretty decent commentary on racial/social relations, there are things in this movie I just really didn't care for. From the ridiculous questioning about who on the wall of a man's business, to the lack of respect shown toward elders & "others", this movie pissed me off more than a little. But Rosie Perez (a celebrity crush), and the awesome soundtrack made it all tolerable.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2016
A mixed bag for me. The topic and actual plot events were fascinating, but I found it a little tedious to watch. The movie has this very static quality where actors tend to stand in one spot when they're delivering their lines, instead of moving around naturally, which makes it feel at times like an amateurish stage play. (Perhaps most of it was filmed single-camera?)

The only character I felt for was Sal, Danny Aiello is a superb actor. I'm not sure if we're supposed to like the main character Mookie, tbh. Some of the dialogue (especially by Mister Senor Love Daddy and the three old men sitting around) is hilarious with great flow, but a lot of times, for example when tempers run hot, the lines people yell at each other are clichéd and carry no meaning.
May 4, 2016
Do the Right Thing (1989) ????
Stunning film about multiple race hardships in undisclosed side of Brooklyn. One of those rare great films that has the power to pierce your soul. Little film put director Spike Lee on the map and is one of the best and most important American films ever made.
½ May 1, 2016
Definitely a classic and a true piece of social commentary. The movie has a very authentic feel.
½ April 26, 2016
Amusing look at the lives of Brooklyn youth who engage in a riot on the hottest day of the year. Danny Aiello was overlooked at Oscar time in what is arguably his best performance of an otherwise outstanding acting career.
March 31, 2016
An effectively dramatic, and sometimes surprisingly funny, portrayal of racial tension. Do the Right Thing's impact and message are just as relevant today as in 1989, and its presentation, in many ways like classical Greek drama, yields, perhaps, an additional element of timelessness. Lee poses an important question, lays out possible answers, but leaves the "right" answer up to viewers' reading of the film. This allows and necessitates a dialogue about the film to take place, making it immensely more successful that some films about race that attempt to "instruct" audiences in a heavy-handed manner.
February 21, 2016
When i watched this movie i saw what a stylistic achievement it is. Spike Lee was 32 when he made it, assured, confident, in the full joy of his power. He takes this story, which sounds like grim social realism, and tells it with music, humor, color and exuberant invention. A lot of it is just plain fun.

Do The Right Thing is an extremely powerful, important and also fun movie that needs to be seen.
January 29, 2016
A supreme triumph in American cinema, Lee's vivid and passionate film is filled w/ lush photography, vibrant characters, and powerful emotion. 25 years later, it still might be the most unflinching and honest exploration of racial tensions in America. It not only pops off the screen. It speaks to us. And we should listen.
January 20, 2016
5/5. From the moment Rosie Perez bursts onto the screen dancing to Public Enemy's "Fight the Power", Spike Lee's masterful essay on race and interpersonal tensions compels, engages and delights. Taking place over the course of a furiously hot 24 hours in the lives of the residents of a single street in New York City, "Do the Right Thing" charts the progress of an explosive riot by exploring the multiple experiences and perspectives of his protagonists through a series of conversations, confrontations and altercations. Lee's wonderful screenplay uses humour to temper what could otherwise have been an exhausting essay on rage and violence. These themes are part of the package but it is the comedy and the humanity of the characters which allows us to stay with them. The cinematography conveys stifling heat so effectively that no matter what the weather is like when you watch this film, you're going to want something cold and icy to enjoy it with. Flawless casting, acting, writing, direction etc. Lee has never been better and this film is a fucking revelation. This is how it's done.
January 16, 2016
The Message: Racism is bad! Fight the Power!
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