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Posts posted by JamesBrown

  1. On 1/5/2020 at 12:27 PM, Mashiara Sedai said:

    February: Watch a film directed by a person of color


    Do The Right Thing

    40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, 1989.

    Directed by Spike Lee

    Starring Spike Lee, Dannie Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee


    Do The Right Thing was written, produced, directed by, and featured Spike Lee, received numerous awards, and was selected by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant."


    Set in a neighborhood in Brooklyn, the story features a wide cast of characters during a summer heat wave. Racial tensions are always high, and only exacerbated by the humid heat. Lee plays the role of "Mookie", a pizza delivery man with little ambition, working for the pizzeria's owner, an Italian-American named Sal (Dannie Aiello) and Sal's two grown sons. A friend of Mookie's named Buggin Out doesn't like that Sal's restaurant features a wall of Italian-American celebrities but doesn't have any African-Americans, especially since the neighborhood is mostly black. Sal refuses to change his wall of photos, and Buggin Out tries to foment a protest and boycott.


    Tensions continue to rise, until a young black man named Radio Raheem, who is known for blasting Public Enemy on his boombox, gets into a heated argument with Sal. The police are called, and in the scuffle, Radio Raheem is accidentally killed by the arresting cops. The neighborhood residents are outraged at the police brutality and start to riot, directing their anger toward Sal and his sons. Mookie throws a trash can through Sal's window, and the crowd surges inside, looting the restaurant and eventually setting it on fire.


    In the aftermath, one young man is dead, Sal's restaurant is destroyed, and everyone is simmering with anger. The film ends with two opposing quotes about racial violence, one by Martin Luther King Jr who advocated non-violence, and the other by Malcolm X who argued for armed resistance to oppression. In the end credits, Lee dedicates the film to six families who have suffered racial violence or police brutality.


    Critical reception of Do The Right Thing was high from the beginning, making many Top Movie Lists for 1989. However, some were critical of the film's content, concerned that it would encourage black rioting. One unanswered question is whether Mookie did in fact Do the Right Thing by throwing a trash can through Sal's window. It seemed clear to me that it was the lesser of two evils--had the crowd not been distracted by the chance to loot and burn the restaurant, they likely would have turned their violence against Sal, against his sons, against the Korean grocery store across the street. Mookie chose to channel and diffuse the mob violence into a safer, non-lethal avenue. 


    I found this film difficult to watch. The set is designed with bright reds and oranges, suggesting the summer's heat that had so many characters on edge. It was hard to watch so many angry people shouting at each other. But as a white man growing up in tame, suburban America, I have no reference to the inner-city challenges that Lee portrayed on screen. It's easy to dismiss characters like Mookie and Buggin Out for suffering deprivation due to their own lack of ambition. But what use is working hard if the end result is systemic oppression? 


    I don't have the answers to such questions, but I support Spike Lee's effort to raise them.

  2. On 2/5/2020 at 7:26 AM, LadyWordsmith said:

    OMG yes! We have gotten rid of 'so many things' while packing and putting things in storage. 


    The worst part is unpacking something at your new place, then deciding you don't need it after all and getting rid of it.

  3. Welcome, you two. We warders don't have anything in the pipeline right now. I certainly wouldn't want to compete with the Brown Ajah's Chocolate Week.


    Sadly, our activity here is rather slow and sporadic. I prefer to think that most of our numbers are Out On Assignment™. 

  4. I'm a Rookie fan. Of course, any first-year police officer who undergoes as much stress as he does would be suffering from PTSD, but hey, it's just a show. 


    I think it's fair to say that anyone who enjoys Nathan Filion will enjoy The Rookie. 

  5. Whoah. I too am selling my house this month. We close in a couple of weeks, and we're moving into a temporary apartment while they finish building our new house, slated to be finished in April. 


    There's nothing to make you question every single bloody thing you've ever bought than having to pack it up and move it somewhere.

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