If you have the "Mo' Better Blues" because you feel like you are into your "25th Hour" at the video store, "Do The Right Thing" by watching these 4 Spike Lee movies. Lee is Morehouse College- and New York University-educated, a proud Brooklyn New Yorker and a New York Knicks basketball enthusiast who has directed many of the most applauded movies about race relations ever created. Spike Lee has also fed audience's appetites for non-fiction with documentaries about Hurricane Katrina and sports heroes like Jim Brown and Kobe Bryant. These four Spike Lee movies capture his ability to either squeeze your heart with relentless drama or tickle you unexpectedly with comedy.
"Do the Right Thing" Spike Lee wrote, directed, produced and starred in this stunning story of what happens when you mix blistering summer heat, a diverse Brooklyn neighborhood and the hell-on-earth known as hatred. This 1989 Spike Lee "dramedy" gave Danny Aiello his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, and Rosie Perez and Martin Lawrence their first feature film roles. Spike's character, Mookie, will get another chance to handle the humidity when he returns to the screen in Spike Lee's 2012 directorial effort: "Red Hook Summer."
"Malcolm X" Once again, Spike Lee stares controversy directly in the eyes with this biographical epic adapted from Alex Haley's book "The Autobiography of Malcolm X." Denzel Washington's transformation into the Black Nationalist leader Malcolm X earned him an Academy Award nomination. Spike Lee passionately managed to save this under-funded project from shutting down when he raised funds from famous friends such as Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan to keep production going.
"Inside Man" A-list actor Denzel Washington made magic with Spike Lee again as a cop facing off with a clever bank robber played by Clive Owen. This 2006 crime thriller marked Spike Lee's twentieth year as a feature film director and was his highest grossing film with over $184 million in worldwide box office receipts. For moviegoers who feel more comfortable when the screen is filled with familiar faces, this ensemble cast also includes Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
"She's Gotta Have It" This artistic 1980's time capsule is a romantic comedy about a sexually confident young woman and her three potential male suitors. The movie employed many of the qualities Spike Lee would later become famous for: a captivating catch-phrase title, an African-American New York state of mind, eye-grapping marketing material and at least one unforgettable character. The winner for "most memorable" this time around goes to Spike Lee's own performance as the feisty hip-hop culture representative: Mars Blackmon. How often does a supporting character from a low budget independent film become reborn as a Nike co-spokesman with Michael Jordan in advertisements for Air Jordan sneakers?