In this series, I’m going to explore movies from the past that couldn’t really be made today. Some movies are simply products of their day. Be it the technology, ideology or even social climate, some movies are simply products of their time and couldn’t be made for today’s audiences.
Today, in honor of Martin Luther King Day we explore seminal 80’s classic, Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee. You can check out the synopsis here. Do the right thing came at a time in America where race relations where coming to a fevered pitch. Street violence was at an all time high. African Americans were afraid to go to the police for help. What’s that you say? All those things are happening right now? Well yes you are correct. However, back then when someone made a political statement, it brought about a forum for people to actually discuss things and get to some kind of solution. Sure, it wasn’t a permanent solution but it opened up the forums to get things happening.
There was a time after Do the right thing came out and several other pivotal movies of the same genre were released where the country did just that. We talked about it. We got things moving. And for a time, people of different races saw each other as equals. If a white man and a black man hated each other, it was because they were assholes, not because of the color of their skin. But in today’s world, no one can express any kind of opinion without someone getting offended. So much so that actual militia’s are forming because people feel that their rights are being infringed upon simply because they hear an opinion that differs from their own. If a movie like Do the Right Thing were made today, it would not open up the forum for debate but simply send everyone into a rage, hell bent on destroying the people that made the movie, claiming that their rights have been violated, completely ignoring the fact that the people that made the movie have every right to make the movie in the first place.
I leave with a couple of speeches, orated by two men far more eloquent than I, who spoke of an America that could be great if we just pulled out heads out of our collective asses and started to “Do the Right Thing”