john turtorro


12 Films That Take Place In A Single Day – Scene 10

Do The Right Thing – Spike Lee/Danny Aiello (1989)

It has taken me awhile to write my tenth of twelve movie reviews. In this case, it was because I had to find time to watch the film in it’s entirety. Unlike the other films, I have not seen Do The Right Thing since I first watched it approximately 25 years ago. At that time, I thought it was a brilliant film. I also told myself I could never watch it again because I was too emotionally drained afterward and I did not think I could take another viewing. However, in 25 years, I forgot a lot of detail, so I felt that I needed to see it again. It is just an incredibly well made movie with a story that takes place in a 24 hour period, starting on an extremely hot summer morning. Sal (Danny Aiello) is an Italian American that owns and operates a pizzeria in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, a former Italian neighborhood that is now a predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood. His employees include his two sons, Pino (John Turturro), Vito (Richard Edson) and a neighborhood resident, Mookie (Spike Lee) who is the pizza delivery man. Filmed entirely on one city block in Brooklyn, it starts as a day-in-the-life of the restaurateur and his neighbors. As the day goes on, the simmering heat of the summer starts to bubble up racial tensions that have been hidden beneath the surface for many years. Although ultimately a drama, there is plenty of subtle comedy that lies in the multitude of characters with their banter and expressions. Aside from the aforementioned cast members, there are some fine veteran actors (Ruby Dee as Mother Sister and Ossie Davis as Da Mayor) and an array of younger actors that went on to have fine acting careers; (Samuel L. Jackson as Mister Senor Love Daddy, Rosie Perez as Tina, Martin Lawrence as Cee, Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem, Giancarlo Esposito as Buggin Out, and Joie Lee, Spike Lee’s real life sister who plays his sister Jade in the film).  I love the way the film flows between the many characters as they interact with each other and ultimately all come together during the climax of the film. After 25 years, I thought I could compartmentalize my emotions, but I found myself fighting back tears when Da Mayor tries to console a hysterical Sister Mother and during the final seen with Mookie and Sal.  The film is as relevant today as it was in 1989. As a writer/director, some say this is Spike Lee’s finest film.  I haven’t seen enough Spike Lee films to make that judgment, but of the Spike Lee films I have seen, I like it the best.


“Bernard… You’re fidgeting”

“I aint fidgeting…”

“Yes, you are… It’s okay to be nervous”

“Of course I’m nervous! My crazy wife is trying to kill me! Annie, I can’t be goin out to a party! They’ll poison my food or shoot me!”

“You’re very adorable when you’re twitchy, but don’t be so scared! You know I’d crush anyone that tried to hurt my Bernie.”

“*Grumbles incoherently and looks around*”


For my friend 4eyeswordsmith because it’s cute lol