"Do the Right Thing
" (1989): Not the most upbeat or feel-good of examples, granted. But it simply radiates heat, from the record-setting, sweltering Brooklyn day on which it takes place to the tension that builds between residents of various ethnicities to the flames that engulf the neighborhood pizza joint in a climactic, riotous frenzy. This is still one of Spike Lee's best films, easily — an expert blend of style and substance, of sharp writing and colorful characters. To this day, I can't hear Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" without thinking of its significant use here.
Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.
Online: You can see the many inspired responses Matt Singer got to his survey about the perfect summer movie at http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/the-criticwire-survey-the-perfect-summer-movie .