Boyz N The Hood (1991) Movie Review

Boyz N The Hood (1991)
Boyz N The Hood (1991) DVD/Blu-Ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

Loading...

Growing up in the same South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood, the lives of boyhood friends Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Doughboy (Ice Cube), and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) take drastically different directions.  The film opens on the three at 10 years old, setting up the story, which takes off seven years later.  Ricky (also Doughboy’s half-brother) is struggling in school, and at the age of 17 is already a father.  However, he also  is a strong football player, and is on the verge of an athletic scholarship.  Doughboy, meanwhile, has just been released from juvenile hall, and is keen to return to life as a small time criminal, spending his time antagonizing rival gangs.  Tre meanwhile has been kept on a short leash by his father Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), and is looking forward to college, while falling in love for the first time.

A Toast

Hard as it might be for younger generations to believe, John Singleton was once the most promising young African American filmmaker in Hollywood.  Of course, the John Singleton of today is best known for the box office bomb Abduction, a sawed-off Bourne Identity clone that might be the Taylor Lautneriest Taylor Lautner that ever Taylor Lautnered.

Taylor-Lautner-Abduction

Taylor Lautner

Disappointing as this may be, the fact is Boyz N the Hood is a bonafide classic of 90’s cinema, and if this remains the only great film he ever made, I can forgive (though not necessarily forget) his subsequent artistic transgressions.

AbductionFuck

Ok, so I’m still a little bitter over that one…

Boyz N the Hood was a trendsetter, followed by a whole slew of films set in South Central L.A.  Few of these came even marginally close to equaling the realism and timelessness of the message on display here.  At its core, BNTH is a fable about leading by example and overcoming your surroundings to succeed in life.  Laurence Fishburne’s character is the heart and soul of the film.  Furious was born and raised in this poor neighborhood and didn’t make the best decisions early on, but he got his act together and made a life for himself, becoming a mortgage loan officer, and building a nest egg to help send Tre to college.  His life lessons that he bestows upon his son Tre, along with his authoritative style of parenting, forges Tre into an intelligent individual capable of making his own decisions, even when faced with the trying emotions of the teenage years.  Tre’s friendship with Doughboy and others often leads him into trouble, but he is strong and smart enough to learn from them.

Boat trip

Can you guess who else could have learned that lesson?

On the other side, there is Doughboy’s story.  Doughboy is not a bad person, but lacking any kind of father figure, and with a mother who dotes on her other son far more than him, he is left to fend for himself in the poisonous atmosphere of the ghetto.  Director Singleton manages to avoid preachiness, while teaching a valuable lesson to viewers about taking responsibility for your actions in life.  He also makes it clear that the problems of South-Central are more complex than just this, refusing to define it on simple good vs evil terms.  This is embodied in the character of Ricky, who is coming close to bettering himself, but under risk due to the company he keeps.  So many films from this time glamorized gang culture, whether intentionally or not.  It is refreshing to look back on a film that spoke frankly and honestly on the subject, and wasn’t afraid to be blunt.

snow-dogs

What the bumblefuck, Cuba?

Verdict
zzztoast

Director Singleton has never done a better film, but there have been very few films on the subject to equal this.  The story is solid, the pacing is perfect, and the acting is simply excellent.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: when you see someone drinking a 40

Take a Drink: whenever the movie gets depressing, only to take an even more depressing turn

Do a Shot: if you are old enough to remember when Cuba Gooding Jr. actually made decent movies

Red Tails

Seriously Cuba, you already starred in a far superior film on the same subject, stop it.

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

4 comments

  1. Good review. I agree, this was one of my favorites growing up and it is true, that New Jack City, Juice, Menace to Society, and Poetic Justice, were just lame copy cats.

    • Hiiiiiighly disagree with that statement Amelia. I think New Jack City, Menace to Society and Juice are on par with, possibly even better than Boyz in the Hood. Don’t get me wrong, Boyz in the Hood is a fantastic film and started the genre but the other films tell just as good of a story just by different means and set in different areas.

  2. Love the blog, the reviews and the fact that you are saying what you think… Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!