A reflection on ‘Do the Right Thing’

dotheright

And speaking of the opening credits:

So why are we thinking about “Do the Right Thing“?

Because Radio Raheem died this week.

Bill Nunn, a versatile actor best known for playing the role of Radio Raheem, the boombox-toting neighborhood philosopher killed by police officers in Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” died on Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was 63.

His death was announced on social media by Mr. Lee. His wife, Donna, told The Associated Press that Mr. Nunn had cancer.

THE JOB, BILL NUNN, 2001-02

Bill Nunn

What I didn’t realize was that we’ve seen Bill Nunn in a lot of things. He was in the Spider-Man movies, appeared in “Sister Act” and was a regular character actor on television.

Also, here’s something interesting to consider. Radio Raheem’s death by cop in “Do the Right Thing” happened decades ago. Very little has changed, but there has been an interesting reaction to similar circumstances today:

colin-kaepernick-time-maagzine-cover-leadAnd this is why Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Because brutality that was the climax of a movie in 1989 that had pundits like Joe Klein saying that the movie was dangerous because it would make blacks want to riot (that’s right Joe, I haven’t forgotten that piece of editorial diarrhea) still happens today and doesn’t appear like it’s going to stop anytime soon.

Spike Lee was criticized for making it the focus of attention in 1989. Colin Kaepernick is criticized for making it the focus of attention in 2016.

Screenings, premieres and seeing people true stories are based on

So, I’m on my way to a baseball game, because the Washington Nationals have a deal where you can pay $75 for standing room tickets to all of the team’s home games in September. And as I’m about to go into the Metro, my brother calls and asks if I want to go to a special movie screening at the Newseum.

Let’s see: Use the $5 ticket to stand up for a nine-inning baseball game, or get in free on a movie that will cost $12 when it opens in D.C. theaters on Sept. 23. Movie it is.

But here’s where it gets strange (for me. I’m sure other people do this all the time and are used to it). It’s at the Newseum, and there’s an open bar. Free drinks!

Waiters are carrying around hors d’oeuvres. Free food!

And as we walk into the theater, there are boxes of popcorn and candy and bottled water. Free snacks!

So into the theater and head up to the cheap seats, because, like, it’s free and there’s no such thing as a cheap seat when you’re not paying anything. But someone comes along and asks us to move to one of the rows closer to the screen, because they don’t want the stars of the movie coming out to talk to empty seats up front. OK.

But before the movie, there are speeches.

So we get one from a Disney executive, since it’s a Disney movie.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from Brooklyn.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from California.

Then we get on from a senator from Delaware.

And all of them make it a point to recognize the senator from New Jersey sitting in the row in front of us.

(Is this how we do movie screenings in the nation’s capital?)

And when they’re done, they bring out two people who are the main subjects of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” based on a true story about a female Uganda chess prodigy.

And then the two stars of the movie: David Oyelowo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma” and Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Here’s the background trailer:

So this is the second time in a week that I’ve been to a performance where the subjects of the story actually show up at the event. Last week, it was at Ford’s Theatre (yeah, the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) for the second night of a new musical about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (And yes I realize how potentially tasteless that sounds, and no, the name of the musical wasn’t “Springtime for bin Laden.”)

The musical, “Come From Away,” was very good and is headed to Broadway. It’s the story of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, pulled together to take care of the people on the 38 passenger jets that were rerouted to the small island community when all of the air traffic to the United States was grounded. The special appearances were by the woman who was the captain for a Paris to Dallas American Airlines flight, and a middle aged couple (Brit man, Texas woman) who met and fell in love during their five days in Newfoundland and later got married.

Following the performance there was a half hour Q&A with the playwrights and the subjects of the musical.

(Oh, by the way. The Nats lost in 10 innings.)

The view from Trump Tower

1303ckcomic-view-from-trump-towerThis is a pretty accurate representation of how the soulless yam sees the rest of the world.

And just as a reminder: If you think the GOP could have come up with a more acceptable candidate for president, here’s a look at one of the last Republicans standing during the primaries, the governor from the land of the Saps (based on the above map):

John Kasich waded into the [New Hampshire] state primary last week, endorsing Republican Chris Sununu at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The former presidential candidate then promptly stole the spotlight.

Following the announcement, the Ohio governor toured downtown Exeter with Sununu and his posse in tow. Inside a bookstore he didn’t much discuss Sununu’s candidacy. Instead he looked at the latest Harry Potter book and pondered why British actor Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist. Then he wondered aloud which Olympians would find success after the recent Rio games.

“You know that Daniel Radcliffe has declared himself an atheist?” Kasich said to no one in particular. “I’m serious. What a weird thing. Why would a guy who has had all that success just, I mean, what the hell is wrong with him?”

Yes, when they think of Harry Potter, some in the alt-right freak out over witchcraft:

But this guy talks about atheism.

And he was considered the sane Republican.

 

Mel Brooks on Gene Wilder

Honest to God, I didn’t know Anne Bancroft had died!

But let’s look at “Springtime for Hitler,” from “The Producers,” the most tasteless (and funniest) musical number of all time.

And since Mel talked about “Young Frankenstein,” let’s look at some outtakes:

What the hell!?!? Madeline Kahn is dead, too??!! Have I been living under a rock for the past 17 years?!?!?

And Gene Wilder died last week at 83.

(Oh, no! Marty Feldman died 33 years ago! I now consider myself oblivious to reality.)

Talk about politics and brain damage!

I would like to thank Stephen Colbert for reminding me of this turn-of-the-century video:

Since the mango tango combover and former mayor bald spot are encouraging people to go on the Internet for proof that Hillary Clinton is too frail to be president, it’s only fair for others to encourage people to go on the Internet for proof that these guys shouldn’t be within a five Zip code range of the White House.

Hence:

As for Giuliani, he swears Clinton has brain damage. But keep this in mind. He also said this:

You cannot be more brain damaged than this, right? Something pretty big happened in those eight years before Obama.  I think Joe Biden said it best: