It’s no secret to anyone now that I LOVE MOVIES.
It wasn’t a secret when I was 15 years old either.
My idea of a great birthday was playing basketball with my friends at the hoop we had in our driveway all day, and then watching movies in the evening before we slept out on the trampoline overnight.
We’d drink Mountain Dew, eat salsa/chips, and have cake later.
I was most excited about the movies. Some of my friends weren’t; but it was my birthday…tough shit.
There was a movie that escaped my view the year before that I really wanted to see. It had John McClane and the Banana Man from “Beverly Hills Cop” in it. I had forgotten the title because I thought it was stupid, so I told my mother the wrong title of a movie that I thought had a great title (also of a movie that I wanted to see, but hadn’t yet).
Long story…I thought I was going to see one movie, I ended up seething this one and I am DAMN glad I got to see this one (one of my friends was not–again, my birthday… #SuckIt).
“Boyz n the Hood” has to be the most educational movie I have ever seen. Talk about a culture shock for me. I was a privileged white boy that grew up in a small town with a very close family with parents that did not divorce, siblings that I got along with (within reason), and my cousins lived one house down from us. I had no idea there was an America like this until I saw this movie.
Like all movies, I’m sure there are instances of hyperbole given certain life dynamics in order to create drama. In general though, this movie felt like a slice of life. Much credit has–deservedly so–been given to John Singleton, the then young writer/director of a very instant classic tale of inner-city life in Los Angeles in the late 80s-early 90s.
I loved the dialogue. There is no other way to put it. I’m talking L-O-V-E…it was unlike any other dialogue I’d heard in a movie before.
The only people I recognized were Laurence Fishburne and Ice Cube…he was known then for his “controversial” music. Everyone else was a new face and you’d recognize the majority of them now. They all started here:
Jaki Brown did not get paid enough. The movie’s budget was only $6 million…it grossed over $57 million. You want to talk about the “margins?” This movie has to be among the best ever made from money spent to numbers earned.
Over 400 words in and I’ve found I really haven’t talked about the movie. At its basic core, it’s a snapshot of one young man’s life growing up in the inner city. There is a culture that is captured in this movie that most people had not experienced at this depth if they had not grown up in it. We meet his friends, his love interests, his father, his friend’s family and their unsavory acquaintances.
Like all great stories, there is humor, drama, tragedy, choices, and above all, the ability for our characters to learn something about themselves. This movie is not short on any of those points.
I find myself watching it every other year. I’m just in the mood sometimes. The second time I viewed it, it was on DVD and I used the subtitles. That helped. Since then I have not needed them. I was not privy to the lingo at the time…it was helpful.
In my first viewing, I do remember my friend being annoyed throughout…he didn’t want to watch movies much anyway, let alone one so fresh as this. He struggled with the environmental aspects and the way that the men talked about their “girlfriends.” I remember being so ensnared in the different points of view that I’d never experienced before that it was not offensive to me; it was interesting, and I wanted to know more…
…kinda like any groundbreaking movie worth it’s weight should be.