It's not every day that a movie gets a recorded shout out from the leader of the free world. Then again, Do the Right Thing is not just any movie.
Spike Lee's career-making flick is ranked the 96th greatest film of all time by the American Film Institute, was declared "culturally significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress, and was selected by a young law student named Barack Obama for his first official date with Michelle.
It's probably worth mentioning that, unlike Obama, Michelle wasn't another summer associate at Sidley & Austin; she was actually Barack's advisor — and she wasn't too keen on dating someone she worked with. Only after being turned down many times, and even offering to quit his job to eliminate the conflict, did Barack convince Michelle to go out with him. In other words, he finally swayed his (unofficial) boss to go out on a date, so he probably felt a lot of pressure to get it right. Fortunately, it seems that he did — and now, a quarter of a century later, he seized the opportunity to thank the filmmaker who helped bring them together.
Looking quite cozy, President Obama and the First Lady shared a short video message with the director and crowd at a commemorative screening of the groundbreaking film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
"Sorry we can't be with you today, but we want to congratulate Spike and all of you on the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing," Obama began.
The film was "actually the first thing we saw together on our first official date," his better half chimed.
"We'd eaten lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago, gone for a little walk, and then I took her to this new movie everybody was talking about, directed by a guy that not many people had heard of, but it was supposed to be pretty good," the President reminisced.
"He was trying to show me his 'sophisticated' side by selecting an independent filmmaker," Michelle noted with a smile. "And it ended up being a pretty good movie — really great!"
"So Spike, thank you for helping me impress Michelle," Barack noted before joking about how things have changed since the film first hit the big screen. "I've got a few more gray hairs than I did back in 1989. You don't look like Mookie anymore." Still, the President noted that, while 25 years have passed, some things remain the same.
"Do the Right Thing still holds up a mirror to our society and makes us laugh and think," he explained. "And challenges us all to see ourselves in one another."
- Arts & Entertainment
- Barack Obama
- Spike Lee
- American Film Institute