Notes For The Post-Gentrification Do The Right Thing II: Do The White Thing
- Plot unfolds around two twenty-something white males – Mookie (eh?!), a graphic designer, and Stephen (first name that came to mind) who has an experimental bedroom project that will “take off any day now” – who move to Brooklyn after finishing college, but have to live in Bed-Stuy because their parents are holding out on them.
- With a can-do attitude and some laughs along the way, they attempt to acclimate to the neighborhood by drinking Olde English on their stoop and greeting the neighbors who pass by. In a nod to the original, they blast “Fight the Power” from their Harman/ Kardon Soundsticks III while pre-gaming for nights out in more gentrified areas. On one or two occasions, they grill out with their neighbors, while Stephen describes his bedroom project to indifferent listeners (“They’re not so much songs, as sound experiments… they have repetitive elements, but they’re not meant to be catchy. You see what I mean?”). Mostly their neighbors just ignore them, but they’re able to develop a first-name-basis with a few of the friendlier ones. (This is the part of the movie where everyone is having fun.) Possibly write in two cute, mousey girlfriends with thick-framed glasses who make an appearance now and again. Maybe a scene of a freeze-frame high-five between Mookie and Stephen after being described as “so brave” by one of the girls on a walk back to the train. Spike Lee here cameos in the role of a wizened owner of a nearby pizza place and gives the two leads life advice (think Wilson in Home Improvement except you can see his face. Morgan Freeman could also work here if Spike is unavailable).
- Now for the conflict. Include a scene where Mookie and Stephen are on a leisurely bike ride, maybe on a crisp autumn day (a month or two into their September lease). Possibly in a montage with that song from That 70’s Show, the two giggling leads unsuccessfully attempt to ride with no handlebars or pretend to ride up the ramps of unloading trucks to the chagrin of the workers. All is well, until they ride past a gang of local 12-15-year-old street toughs led by Sal (EH?!). The camera shifts focus and the music becomes foreboding as Sal says something like “Who are these assholes? Get ‘em!” At this point, Sal and crew (made up of maybe three other boys) mount their BMX/ Huffy mountain bikes and take off after our protagonists. An uneventful chase scene ensues, where Sal and crew shout insults between bursts of incontrollable laughter. They chase Mookie and Stephen back to their building, but stop short as the two leads scurry inside. Later, Sal and the gang spray paint “Faggots” across the front door of the building.
- After recuperating and a talk with Spike Jones’ character, Mookie and Stephen plan to confront Sal and crew to teach them about the benefit of community. They plan to discuss how everyone deserves a shot at acceptance, be they black, white or “faggot.” Instead, they ask their landlord to cancel the lease. Not wanting to have to paint the door again, the landlord agrees.
- Mookie and Stephen move to Greenpoint, where they have less money to buy beer and go to the shows they like, but tell exaggerated stories about Bed-Stuy to feign street-cred.
Fade to Black/Cue one of those slideshows that explain what happens to the characters where we learn…
- Mookie’s girlfriend breaks up with him after he cries about being passed up for a promotion. He eventually gets a different promotion and moves to Dumbo. Stephen’s girlfriend leaves him for some guy in a buzz band. He quits everything and goes to law school “to fight for the rights of the less fortunate,” but ends up a clerk at a tax law firm.
Cue First Half of Credits
- We see ol’ Spike making a pizza at his “joint.” In walk two white male twentysomethings dressed in tightly fitted, neon clothing. One says “We just moved in down the street, and got a little lost on our way to an 80’s party!” Shaking his head, Spike turns to the camera and says, “Here we go again!”
Cue second half of the credits over the Run-DMC/Aerosmith collaboration of “Walk This Way”
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