Monday, July 20, 2009

"Do the Right Thing" - 20 Years Later

Just about every filmmaker has a particular film that became the catalyst for them wanting to become a filmmaker. For me that film was Do The Right Thing which dropped at the end of my freshman year of college in 1989. (Yes, I'm Old School, y'all.) A few months later, I changed my major to Film and never looked back. Actually, that's not accurate. I've looked back plenty over the years, but I never turned back.

1989 was the year that I decided to stop being an aimless knucklehead in college and really try my hand at something I felt passionately about. It was also the year that I lost a lot of respect for the Academy Awards.

When Do the Right Thing - this seminal movie that managed to tackle the "third-rail" film subject of race-relations in a way that was totally thought-provoking, compelling and humorous lost the "Best Picture" Oscar to MF-ing Driving Miss Daisy - a forgettable film about the relationship between a cranky rich lady and her subservient Black chauffeur, I realized that the Academy Awards were clearly not based solely on merit, craftsmanship, originality or cultural importance. (And I'm really cleaning up the way I feel about it for my younger readers...but I was pissed off and disheartened to say the least. )

No doubt there are thousands of other young people like me who were inspired by Spike's work to create the images and ideas that help shape our world and define our culture. So on this 20th Anniversary of the movie that started it all for so many of us, I thought a few words from Spike himself about the film would be appropriate.

Which leads me to another thought - I wonder why there are no thoughtful 20-year retrospectives on the cultural importance and impact of Driving Miss Daisy? Hmm...

Spike Lee In His Own Words on CNN

Read the full Article.