Boyz N the Hood (1991)

DailyView: Day 363, Movie 517

With just a couple of days remaining in the DailyView, I have finally gotten to a classic film that was on the first page of my list from way back in last April. I watched the iconic John Singleton written and directed film, Boyz N the Hood. This was the directorial debut for the late, great Singleton and it showed such an amazing wealth of talent, from behind the camera to in front of it.

Boyz N the Hood is a coming of age story that takes place in South Central Los Angeles as Tre Styles (first played as a child by Desi Arnez Hines II and then by Cuba Gooding Jr). He was sent to live with his father ‘Furious’ (Laurence Fishburne) by his mother Reva (Angela Bassett) when Tre got into a fight at school. It was here where he met brothers Doughboy (first played by Baha Jackson and then by Ice Cube) and Ricky (first played by Donovan McCrary and then Morris Chestnut) Baker.

The three of them grew up in this neighborhood that featured plenty of violence, shots fired in the distance and the sound of police sirens. Doughboy was a gang member and had a friend Chris (Redge Green) who had been shot and ended up in a wheelchair.

Ricky was a local star football player and was trying to get a scholarship to college to play football. He discovered that he had to take the SAT and score at least 700 in order to receive the scholarship.

After taking the test, Ricky got into an argument with a rival gang that caused Doughboy to wave his own gun around to try and straighten out the situation. This was leading to even more violence later in the film.

I was surprised how emotional this movie made me and how much I was into the story without even realizing it. While the language used in the film always makes me uncomfortable, I found myself really rooting for Ricky and Tre, despite the fact that I had a bad feeling about everything that was going on.

This film showed the real world in these neighborhoods without diving into hyperbole and stereotype. We see these characters as real people, not just the typical gang members you might see in a movie. These are very believable and allow you to connect to them even more.

There are great performances from Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Morris Chestnut, in particular. Laurence Fishburne brings an entirely different vibe to the film and does so with the gravitas that he always brings to the movie.

This is powerful and potent, shining a light on the dangers and the trials that face these people everyday in the hood. This is an absolute masterpiece.

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