When the mercury rises above 100 degrees on a summer afternoon in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, the sweat can’t be helped. Spike Lee’s 1989 Do the Right Thing paints a picture of a neighborhood simmering with racial tensions, which reach a boiling point on the hottest day of the year. After a disgruntled black activist tries to mount a boycott of a local Italian-American pizzeria, his actions unleash a wave of discontent that culminates in violence, and the oppressive heat only serves to fuel the friction. The movie’s tagline tells us: “You can do nothing, you can do something, or you can … do the right thing.” In this case, perhaps the right thing would be to cool down with some air-conditioning?
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