It's been awhile since I posted anything on my movie review project. So without further ado, I present to you, "Do the Right Thing" and "Crash."
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Being no stranger to controversy, director Spike Lee's agenda of this film was to show a slice of his own life as a resident of Brooklyn by uncovering Italian and African American and at times Asian American aspects of hate between one another.
The majority of the story takes place at Sal's Pizza Shop (Danny Aiello). Sal seems to be a virtuous man that is in tune with the community and his customers despite being a white Italian pizzeria owner in the middle of a black neighborhood. His son Vito (Richard Edson) is much the same way while his son Pino (John Turturro) is extremely racist.
The main character of the film, Mookie, played by Spike himself, is a slacker delivery boy who probably still has a job because of Sal's kindness and loyalty to consistency.
The movie starts to get crazy when two trouble makers come into play. First a disgruntled character named Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) is upset with the price of the pizza and also Sal's lack of American American representatives on his celebrity wall, which features Italian sports heroes and entertainers. After a heated argument Mookie convinces Buggin' Out to leave it alone.
Another guy, Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) comes into the shop with his boom box blaring Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" (he is constantly blasting this song the entire movie). Naturally Sal is peeved at the noise pollution in his pizzeria and gets into an argument with Raheem.
Things quickly escalate out of control and an all out race brawl breaks out between Sal and his sons, the black customers and neighbors near by and the white cops that show up to the scene.
It would be a shame to spoil the ending so I won't, but it is very powerful and sad. The effect of actions over petty hate is unbelievable.
However, Spike Lee misses the mark with the message which I will get to later.
Here is one of the most famous monologues in movie history. WARNING GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
IMDB - 7.8/10
TheSIBandGuy - 3.5/5
What's most incredible about this movie is the all star cast they assembled: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Jennifer Esposito just to name a few. This film just like "Do the Right Thing" deals with racism and stereotypes in a much more clearer and emotional direction than "Do the Right Thing."
The movie covers many different racial relations: Black, White, Hispanic, Arabic and mixed races all while playing on stereotypes and sadly everyday negative occurrences people of ethnicity go through.
Perhaps the most telling of these characters is Matt Dillon's portrayal as a racist cop who takes advantage of his power to black citizens, specifically Thandie Newton and Don Cheadle.
Another moving scene involves the character Daniel (Michael Pena) and his daughter when an Arabic man pulls a gun on him assuming he sabotaged his store because of his Mexican heritage.
Every story has a unique plot twist and a powerful outcome that warrants an emotional response. The movie was done so well, and yet had such a small budget. It's amazing because it is an award winning movie and in a sense, an indie film.
I would highly recommend watching this film, but make sure you pay attention!
IMDB - 7.9
TheSIBandGuy - 4.5/5
So the obvious reason I grouped these movies together is because of the topic of race and stereotypes. Another reason was because of their ensemble casts. Lee's movie featured a popular lineup of actors he used in his early works while "Crash" featured A-listers in small roles, pretty cool.
Here is why I liked "Crash" better; the story was a lot more clear and there was a message at the end. Where Spike Lee missed the mark in "Do the Right Thing" was in the message he was trying to convey. At the end of the film it almost seemed like he glorified all the madness that happend without ever really addressing right and wrong. He brushed it off as normalcy with no prospect for a brighter and different future. "Crash" addressed these issues and showed the real power behind hate while making amends for the actions.
All and all, two classic films that are a must see and take on two different time frames of American culture.