Criterion Blogathon – Do The Right Thing (1989)


This post is part of the Criterion Blogathon being hosted by Criterion Blues, Speakeasy and Silver Screenings

Thanks for letting me participate!
do the right thing “Today’s temperature’s gonna rise up over 100 degrees, so there’s a Jheri curl alert! That’s right, Jheri curl alert. If you have a Jheri curl, stay in the house or you’ll end up with a permanent black helmet on your head fuh-eva!” – Mister Senor Love Daddy

Number of Times Seen – 1 (18 Nov 2015)

Brief Synopsis – On a hot day in NYC, as the temperature rises, so does the tension between the different races living within close proximity of one another.

My Take on it – I am a bit shocked that I’ve never gotten around to seeing this movie before now because it is such a well known and well respected film.

When I saw that this was an available choice for this blogathon, I grabbed it in order to finally see for myself what all the hype was about.

I understand what Director/writer/actor Spike Lee was trying to accomplish with this film and I think he comes close, but slightly misses the mark.

I liked the way that this movie shows both methods of protest preached by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and uses a small neighborhood as the backdrop for showing them from a micro-perspective.

Certain scenes felt very forced in order to move the plot along faster and I think it might have been served better to have had them move at a slower pace.

The charcaters Lee created are all unique and interesting to watch develop as the day gets hotter and hotter and the tension rises higher and higher among all of the different races living in the area.

The cast is excellent and fetaures many actors who were not known then, but are now household names.

Bottom Line – Very controversial film that tries to show the two main methods of protest used on a smaller scale.  It mostly succeeds, but I felt that certain scenes felt too forced when they should have been done slower. Excellent cast led by Lee (who also wrote and directed).  Recommended

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to President Barack Obama at a fundraiser in New York, he and First Lady Michelle Obama saw the movie on their first date in 1989 though they were also planning on seeing Driving Miss Daisy (1989). (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy

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12 thoughts on “Criterion Blogathon – Do The Right Thing (1989)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

    • Right on, Summer. I’m right there with you. This is my fav Spike Lee Joint too. That music, eh?! It infused each scene with so much energy it sparked the air. I still love Rosie Perez’s intro, from music, to movement, to editing. So many great characters too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing movie… too bad you didn’t like it more. It’s rare for a character drama to have so much energy. This is the birth of a lot of Spike Lee’s trademarks too. How was the Criterion Disc? Does it have a behind the scenes doc or commentary? Thanks for spotlighting this retro cult classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Criterion Blogathon: Day 5 Recap | Criterion Blues .....

  4. I haven’t seen this movie since it came out, so I’m curious how it might look now, as far as whether or not it looks dated. It’s got to seem almost historical, I imagine, when at the time, it was a slice of contemporary culture. I thought it was well done, and I should see it again. Nice review, and I enjoyed the bit if trivia too—something I didn’t know.

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  5. Nice take Rob. I still need to see this one. I’m always reluctant to watch Spike Lee movies because of the ones I’ve seen, he makes white people look so terrible. It’s like reverse-racism. But that might just be my issue.

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  6. I’ve got a bit of a thing for movies that are set in a 24 hour period and this is an absolute favourite of mine. Love the typical Spike Lee racial slurring “monologue” he does between the characters.

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  7. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1989 |

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