It's the hottest day of the year in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Mookie, a 25 year old Black man, is getting paid delivering pizzas for Sal's pizzeria. Buggin' Out, a local Black activist, has a problem with Sal's because all of Sal's customers are Black and Sal has no pictures of any Black men on his "Wall of Fame," only White men like Al Pacino, etc. Mookie works for Sal and wants Buggin' Out to cool it. Sal's Black customers love his pizza and they, too, tell Buggin' Out to get lost. All the while, rage is boiling up in Sal's oldest son, Pino, who warns his younger brother, Vito, to take a side and stop socializing with Mookie. Meanwhile, a young Black man named Radio Raheem wanders the neighborhood with a massive boombox that overpowers everyone else's music. Radio Raheem is angry and Buggin' Out channels that fury into rebellion against Sal resulting in tragedy. When the sun sets on the hottest day of the year, the lines are drawn and Mookie is forced to take a side and do the right thing!
There are movies and there are miracles; Spike Lee's film, Do The Right Thing, falls into the latter category. When this vibrant, ferocious little film came out in 1989, most of the top reviewers rated it as the best film of the year, and among the best of the decade. Critics Siskel and Ebert named this film as the best of the year, up there with Scorsese's 1980 Raging Bull as among the most important films of the decade. This film is the purest and hardest crystallization of racism and other problems in our society such as children born to parents out of wedlock, and alcoholism. The alumni of this film include Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson. There are films that capture their time but very few that predicted the future; Sidney Lumet's 'Network' comes to mind. This is 1 of the most beautifully shot films ever courtesy of cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, a film so lushly colored that it pulls you into it almost against your will. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay (Spike Lee) and Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello) and came away empty-handed in both categories putting this film in rather good company with a flick called Citizen Kane that was also completely overlooked. Looking forward to hearing your interpretation and analysis of this extraordinary film.