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Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

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Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

Old 09-14-09, 10:53 PM
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Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

picked by yours truly. Let the discussion begin!

Old 09-14-09, 10:56 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

In every discussion I've ever had regarding this movie, not one person has ever thought that Mookie did the right thing...
Old 09-15-09, 12:27 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

Originally Posted by gglass4269
In every discussion I've ever had regarding this movie, not one person has ever thought that Mookie did the right thing...
I think the one person that unquestionably did the right thing was Da Mayor, whom was trying to calm down the mob and take blame off of Sal.

As far as Mookie doing the right thing goes, I think due to the context, while it wasn't necessarily the right thing, it was the lesser of two evils. At this point in the movie, nobody has done the right thing; Buggin' Out and Radio Raheem didn't do the right thing by harassing Sal, Sal didn't do the right thing by destroying the boom box, Raheem didn't do the right thing by attacking Sal, and the cops didn't do the right thing by killing Sal. By this point, everything has devolved to the point where violence will break out any second. It's been argued that Mookie throws the trash can as the pizzeria, to try and prevent any more deaths (as he states to Sal the next morning, "Motherfuck a window, Radio Raheem is dead!", stating that he values human life over property; something that Lee has stated is a key point).
Old 09-16-09, 06:10 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

I think it's intended by Spike that Mookie does the right thing since in the film Mookie sort of sighs, gathers himself and then very deliberately picks up the can and tosses it through the window. This is in contrast to the other characters who never seem to stop and reflect upon their actions.
Old 09-16-09, 08:58 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

It seems to me that by expressing his pent-up and rising anger (which he also seems to be a conduit for the community's anger as well), he is is doing what he feels is the right thing, at least at that time considering the happenings around him.

By protesting/throwing the garbage can through the window, its essentially a public display of insubordination and rage. This could be compared to what some people might call the "Right Thing" by rioting when the WTO comes into town (as in that act, it is the only way to loudly call into question the WTO organization as all other means are ineffective).

I don't personally agree that it's always the "right" thing to do, but we can all point to many strong and out of control historical protests that actually sparked change. Many anti-war, anti-government, pro-civil right marches, especially in the 60's and 70's, through tragedy and standing up (sometimes in a misdirected fashion), seem to have had profound positive impact. The Kent state shooting some say accelerated the government's withdrawal from Vietnam, the beatings, fire-hosing, and dog attacks in the civil rights movement led to civil right legislation and integration in the schools.

I think obviously what made this movie so controversial is white America's general fear of the "Angry Black Man", specially during when this movie is made as the hip hop movement was gaining large visibility and momentum in American society. What I remember then and now is how 2 different audiences seem to have seen Lee's action as either the Right or Wrong Thing, split on racial lines. For me, this movie is so well executed he did the Right Thing by making it and not copping out with a easy ending. What Mookie did was true to his character, and it wasn't entirely right or wrong.

My interpretation of the movie was always that the movie was a call for all of us as Americans to do the right thing, as choices are presented in the movie as neither right or wrong, but reactions to different communities living together. We are to judge what we think is right or wrong, but by trying to "Do the Right Thing", maybe things will change, person by person. The characters in the movie merely serve as examples of choices.
Old 09-17-09, 11:12 AM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

Originally Posted by MTRodaba2468
I think the one person that unquestionably did the right thing was Da Mayor, whom was trying to calm down the mob and take blame off of Sal.
i agree with the comment about Mayor. i felt that Sal up to the point he smashed the boom box was a decent character also. he respected the neighbourhood, took pride in it and felt that he really belonged there even though his sons and those around him didn't feel the same way.

his smashing the boom box and getting into the tragic fight with Radio Raheem was an act of anger and i don't think he was looking for an excuse to go off. he definitely didn't want the poor guy to die.'

i felt the ending didn't do much justice to Sal's character also. he had already lost his business that he spent a lifetime building and his sons probably will never come into the neighbourhood again. i just can't understand why Mookie would still go up to him and ask to be paid... just sounds cold...
Old 09-20-09, 09:25 PM
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Re: Criterion Film Club Week Five: Do the Right Thing

I've seen this film a number of times and I have the DVD in my collection, so I figured I would watch with the commentary for a change. It's one of the better commentaries that I've heard as there are constant rotations of major contributors to the film.

The insight that Spike Lee provides throughout the commentary shows just how difficult the issues surrounding this film are.

I think that, more than most films, this can spark some pretty significant debate, especially when we get into a discussion of what "the right thing" is...and who, if anyone, does it. I've always been in awe of the entire feel of the film, the translation of heat (hot summer day) to the film and the characters that feel authentic are two of my favorite elements.

A good choice and a great film. I was certainly glad to revisit this one.

Originally Posted by InnocentBlood
i just can't understand why Mookie would still go up to him and ask to be paid... just sounds cold...
In the commentary, Lee says, "I had no problems with Mookie taking the money. The whole film he's talking about, you know, getting paid, getting his money, so I felt it would be too big of a character jump for all of a sudden him to not take the money. I don't think those incidents from the night before would have changed his view about the money."

Just thought that might help answer at least where Lee was coming from with those final actions by Mookie. Ultimately, Lee says that Mookie still has a child to take care of and no longer has a place of employment.

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