I’ve decided to change it up by adding a new type of review for you all to behold. Talkies have been around since the late 1800’s and have since evolved into a dynamic and plentiful entertainment medium with films most people have yet to see. What I want to do is bring you guys what I am calling Vintage Film Reviews where I review movies that have been released over the years that are either not as commonly talked about or films I just consider to be worth your time to watch. Kicking off this new category of reviews in director John Singleton’s best film, Boyz N The Hood.
From the title alone, I can image those who haven’t seen the film would be deterred of it’s story premise and that’s fair when you can’t really relate, but this is what makes this film so remarkable in its own right. This was a film that starred a young Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, and Lawrence Fishburne as residents in South Central Los Angelas during a time when L.A. was one of the most notorious cities in America to be a resident.
Gooding Jr. plays Trey Styles and Fishburne is his father Furious Styles. Trey gets sent to live with Furious after too many issues in his school while living with his mother and the consequence of the matter is residing in Crenshaw (the hood) with his old man. Like Fishburne is great at, he plays the wise, classy, long in the tooth mentor and father for Trey as he grows and experiences the different facets of life as a boy growing up in the hood. Trey’s friends, Doughboy (Ice Cube) and his athlete brother Ricky (Chestnut) could not be more opposite, but its these clashing personalities and the friendship between the three that produce such a human tale of everyday life being a black teen in Los Angelas, whether you are gang-banging, being a football star, or focusing on your studies (and girls), we are given it all.
Ever since I first viewed this film years and years ago, I couldn’t help but get this beautiful swarming feeling of genuine comfort and sedative like qualities. It is because of its human nature throughout and the expertly written script that does not support the gang life and instead following the basis of reality beyond the ghetto that really speaks to me. Not being a “brotha from hood” I could still relate to the everyday struggles and joys these boys faced through the film and if you can relate to a film at all you have a winner.
The performances in this film are vintage 90’s but it doesn’t deter from the film at all. Fishburne’s character is a scene stealer to the degree that you really sound like you were hearing from a Malcolm X type figure and he is speaking to the viewers and the characters in the film. Cuba Gooding Jr. as Furious’ son brings us that vulnerable, adolescent spirit most 18 year-old boys possess and it fits into the puzzle beautifully with him being the main protagonist.
As far as antagonists, well, that’s another beautiful element of this movie. We don’t have the pencil stashed villain or mask revealing Darth Vader like characters in this movie and the issues the characters face are far scarier. The world of gang violence, teenage pregnancy, and going to college are things these boys face and it is equally as gripping as having a set in stone type villain.
This film is far more iconic than people are aware with a scene in particular that takes the wind out of your sails, waiting, and anticipating what happens next. Boyz N The Hood is truly a remarkable film and to me is considered a masterpiece in storytelling through world of film and should not be condensed into a box as a “black film” or “Hood film” because its more than that. Sure, the main cast is very much black and they’re clearly in the hood, but it’s a story of perspective and realities of the times this was made that makes this film so great and that is why this film gets an A+.
I encourage those who haven’t seen it to go out and view it and tell me what you think!