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#074 Spike Lee: Do The Right Thing vs. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus





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In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Spike Lee's best and worst rated films, Do The Right Thing (1989) and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014), respectively. Nate hates vampires, Austin wants to let Spike Lee do his thing, and they both think racism is bad (so brave). Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and Iron Man 3 (2013), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with director Spike Lee about the impact of Do The Right Thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNpI-VIlONw

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status.
  • Ratings: IMDb 4.0 | RT 43% C / 17% A
  • Released: 2014
  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Writer(s): Spike Lee (screenplay), Bill Gunn (original screenplay), Vinnie Lewis
  • Cinematographer: Daniel Patterson (Gun Hill Road, Evolution of a Criminal, Out of the Night)
  • Notable actors: Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Rami Malek, Elvis Nolasco, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Joie Lee, Felicia Pearson, Jeni Perillo, Katherine Borowitz, Donna Dixon
  • Budget: $1.4 million
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • Filming was completed in 16 days.
    • The Kickstarter funded Spike Lee joint Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) is a modern reinterpretation of Bill Gunn's cult classic blaxploitation film Ganja & Hess (1973).
    • According to cinematographer Daniel Patterson 90 percent of the film was shot with two and sometimes three cameras rolling simultaneously.
    • Marks the first film appearance of Donna Dixon in 19 years. Dixon retired from acting with her last appearance in a feature film being Nixon, which was released in 1995.

Do The Right Thing Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.
  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 93% C / 90% A
  • Released: 1989
  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Writer(s): Spike Lee (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Ernest R. Dickerson (Bulletproof, Juice, The Walking Dead)
  • Notable actors: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Spike Lee, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Paul Benjamin, Frankie Faison, Robin Harris, Joie Lee, Miguel Sandoval, Rick Aiello, John Savage, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez, Roger Guenveur Smith, Steve White, Martin Lawrence, Leonard L. Thomas, Frank Vincent, Luis Antonio Ramos
  • Budget: $6 million
  • Box office: $37.3 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Spike Lee originally wanted Robert De Niro for the role of Sal (Salvatore Fragione). But De Niro turned down the part, saying that it was too similar to many of the parts he had played in the past. In the end, the part went to Danny Aiello.
    • Spike Lee wrote the script in two weeks.
    • This film was inspired by an actual incident in New York City, where some black youths were chased out of a pizzeria by some white youths in a section of New York City known as Howard Beach.
    • According to Rosie Perez, her face is not shown in her nude scene, because she felt exploited and was crying. She later decided she didn't mind, and appeared nude again in other movies.
    • Graffiti on the wall behind Mookie and Jade reads "Tawana told the truth" in reference to the Tawana Brawley alleged rape and abduction case of 1987.
    • All of the scenes of the corner men (Robin Harris, Paul Benjamin, and Frankie Faison) were improvised.
    • Martin Lawrence's feature film debut.
    • The title comes from a Malcolm X quotation that goes, "You've got to do the right thing."
    • The key scene when Danny Aiello and John Turturro talk alone, approximately midway through the film, was partly improvised. The scripted scene ended as the character Smiley approached the window. Everything after that, until the end of the scene, was completely ad-libbed.
    • Radio Raheem's explanation of the love and hate rings he wears, is an homage to the speech that The Preacher gives in The Night of the Hunter (1955). Robert Mitchum's preacher has tattoos on his hands that say "Love" and "Hate."
    • Danny Aiello admitted that he almost turned down the part of Sal when he saw that he'd be playing the owner of a pizzeria, believing it to be a lazy stereotype of Italian-Americans despite the high number of pizzerias that are owned by Italian-Americans.

Intro music by Eric Lynch

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