Thirty-one years later, the power of Spike Lee’s "Do the Right Thing" still resonates with a nation in turmoil.
"Rewatching Lee’s 1989 masterpiece in its entirety the other night, up to and including its galvanizing finale, I was reminded anew of how vivid and real it all feels," says film critic Justin Chang. "How forcefully and yet precisely it captures the chaotic choreography of angry protest and police brutality."
Join Chang and his guest, sports and culture columnist LZ Granderson, for a live discussion about the movie at 6 p.m. on July 9. The free virtual event will be livestreamed on the L.A. Times Classic Hollywood Page. Or tune in on YouTube or Twitter.
The movie: "Do the Right Thing" focuses on racial tensions that are aroused on a smoldering hot day in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Lee, who wrote, produced and directed the film, also stars as Mookie, a delivery boy at Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, which is run by Danny Aiello.
The showdown: Chang launched the weekly virtual series in May with this premise: "What if we took this summer — set to be the worst summer at the movies since the dawn of the medium more than a century ago — and instead used it to celebrate the best? What if we put our heads together and, over the next four months of presumed self-quarantine, compiled a list of our favorite summer movies week after week and watched and discussed them from the safety of our homes? What if we turned the summer of 2020 into the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown?"
The first nine winners, chosen by Times readers, are: "The Avengers" (Week 1); "Bridesmaids" (Week 2); "Mad Max: Fury Road" (Week 3); "Alien" (Week 4): "Finding Nemo" (Week 5); "Jurassic Park" (Week 6); "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (Week 7); "Jaws" (Week 8, June 19-25); and “Do the Right Thing” (Week 9).
To recap the rules: Chang presents readers with a list of 16 movies from 1975 to 2019, all of which were released during a particular summer time frame. You may vote for your favorites on his Twitter account @justincchang. Each week’s polls are posted at 5 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday.
What's next: For Week 10, it's time-travel week as readers considered a field of 16 films that came down two finalists: "Back to the Future" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” In the final voting, "Back to the Future" narrowly won.
Watch the winning movie on your own, then join the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 for a livestreaming conversation on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.