The Frida Cinema is proud to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of one of the most ground-breaking films of the late 20th Century – Spike Lee’s potent, timeless 1989 classic, Do The Right Thing.
Radio Raheem. Buggin’ Out. Da Mayor. Mother Sister. Smiley. Sal’s Pizzeria. “Fight the Power.” In the 30 years since its release, there is so much about Do the Right Thing that has become iconic, and the stuff of cinema lexicon. A collage of young faces that would go on to stardom – Martin Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, Rosie Perez, and of course Lee himself, starring in his third feature film, and establishing himself a leader in the new wave of independent auteur filmmakers. That incredible soundtrack and score, blending Bill Lee’s soulful, sultry jazz with contemporary rap and R&B including tracks by Public Enemy and Keith John. And of course, that remarkable dialogue, both written by Lee and, in the case of the hilarious trio sitting on the corner, improvised.
Despite being almost universally acclaimed, winning both Best Picture and Best Director from both the Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics Associations, the film’s frank handling of race relations, police brutality, and other controversial themes are what likely caused a virtual shut-out at the Academy Awards. Upon its press screenings many reviewers openly stated in several newspapers that the film could incite black audiences to riot, prompting Lee to criticize them for implying that black audiences were incapable of restraining themselves while watching a fictional motion picture. Yet even despite their warnings, critics were near unanimous in their acclaim, with both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert ranked Do the Right Thing as the Best Film of 1989, and later ranking it as one of the Top 10 Films of the Decade.
Directed by Spike Lee | 1989 | 120 minutes | Rated R.
Monday, February 18 – 2pm, 5pm, 7:30pm
Tuesday, February 19 – 2pm, 5pm, 7:30pm
“Do the Right Thing is an exceptional film, a movie that wisely deprives you of the cozy resolutions and epiphanies so often manufactured by Hollywood. Like the film’s principals, you are left feeling that you have been torched where you live.” – Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
“This might sound like a depressing story, but the level of performance and filmmaking is so high that Do the Right Thing becomes a most entertaining warning.“ – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
“Do the Right Thing is complex, bravura movie making. It is also hugely entertaining, since fortunately for us, Lee’s seditious method is to use humor to carry his biting message.” – Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times