For Spike Lee’s third feature film, he blended an idea he got from an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode where the characters talk about the theory that hot weather increases violent tendencies with stories of police violence against African Americans that ended in their deaths. He created a film that speaks to family and neighborhood as much as it speaks to violence and anger. It’s a film chock full of flawed characters who feel lived in as much as the streets of this fantastical version of Bed-Stuy do themselves. It’s a film with no easy answers. One that raises a lot of questions and makes you think. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Spike Lee series with his 1989 film Do the Right Thing.
We talk about the nature of family and how it relates to ‘neighborhood,’ and how that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone likes each other. We discuss the violence as tensions erupt in the third act, what we think Lee is saying, and how many critics interpreted it. We chat about the brilliant performances across the board from many faces who only grew in stature as the years went by. And we look at how the cinematography, production design, costume design, and music all lent a hand in creating this seemingly alternate version of the neighborhood that feels both slightly outside of reality and overwhelmingly hot.
It’s a masterclass in filmmaking from an incendiary auteur. We have a great time talking about it on this week’s show, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.
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