It’s been 26 years since writer/director Spike Lee unleashed Do The Right Thing, a relentlessly inventive and unflinching look at racial tension in a Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of summer. The film remains a landmark of independent cinema, and for more than a quarter century has stood – like “Fight the Power,” the song that serves as its anthem – as one of the most enduring portrayals of racial issues in America.
Racism is still around, and still a thing we have to fight, but the Brooklyn of Lee’s film is gone, replaced by a frequently parodied, gentrified land of fair trade coffee, thrift shops and insufferable vinyl freaks. Jimmy Kimmel is not the first milk Brooklyn’s hipsters for comedy, and he won’t be the last, but his “sequel” to Do The Right Thing hits all the right notes, thanks to a careful imitation of the film’s confrontational style and a cast of guest stars that includes hipster icon Zooey Deschanel, Billy Crudup as Mookie, Rami Malek as “Vinyl Raheem,” and perhaps most appropriately, Girls co-stars Alex Karpovsky and Andrew Rannells. Kimmel himself even gets in on the fun, playing Danny Aiello’s role as a pizzeria owner who’s sick of watching the world change and sick of people asking for tofu on their pizza. It’s one of the whitest things you’ll see on the internet this week…in a good way.