Do The Right Thing is considered to be Spike Lee’s opus and the quintessential film for those interested in race ethnics and cinema. And this is true, for the most part, if you can stand any of these characters. Just about everyone hates someone else, which leads to a volcanic eruption of a conclusion, one that still sifts through my mind.
Not to say that the film isn’t enjoyable, because it is. It wasn’t until the last quarter of the film, where Radio comes into the Sal’s Famous Pizza place, that really got me hooked though. Sure, I enjoyed watching the inhabitants of this small community interact, but it always seemed the same, and ended in someone getting pissed off and swearing. I liked Da Mayor and the radio dj, and I even liked Sal. Personally, I do think that Sal is racist, but unlike his son he is much more tolerant to the community. He gets along fine with Mookie’s sister but when Radio refused to turn off his boombox Sal erupted into a pile of racial slurs before annihilating his boombox. One could argue that it’s just a spur of the moment thing, that Sal wasn’t really thinking and maybe only said those words to get Radio out of his place, either way Sal is alright in my book.
Mookie, however, not so much. Spike Lee explained that Mookie represented most African-American males at the time period: lazy men who avoid responsibility. We can see this in Mookie since he avoids his girlfriend and his son like the plague. There’s a lot going on in this film, but once it settles down in your head, it is quite enjoyable.
And then there’s the trash can to the window. Was it justified? I don’t think that it was, but I’m sure that Spike Lee will just call me a racist for deeming a white man’s property as more important than a black man’s death. That’s false and Spike Lee is an idiot for making that comment. I feel that Mookie didn’t really resent his job, but he did resent it just enough to incite the riot and let the place burn to the ground. The kind of thing where he can claim credit for starting it when people ask him why he wasn’t inside tearing the place down. In all honesty I felt really bad for Sal, and Sal could have just called the police when Radio refused to leave, but he made the mistake of destroying his music. People have been debating this for twenty years, so here’s my two cents.