peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 01 24 BoyzNTheHood

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

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Apparently I saw this about twenty years ago. Prompted by the realisation that Larry Fishburne was in it (and didn't he get fat soon enough!). His role is Cuba Gooding Jr's dad and their thread is pure father/son how-to-be-a-man, putting me in mind of Moonlight though things are more violent here but not graphically so. All the neighbourhood mothers find the pair irresistible. Angela Bassett does fine in very little screen time as his mum. There's something powerfully inert in Ice Cube: he wasn't going anywhere and nobody is touching his brother. The cast is generally well used and excellent.

The story is getting out of the South Central L.A. ghetto (adjacent to or coincident with Compton) with a side of getting into your girl's pants (Nia Long's in this case, who puts up a Catholic fight as she was taught to do). Things move fluidly from event to event with some great details: a postman arrives with the mail after a mother breaks up her brawling boys, played be writer/director John Singleton. He constantly injects these jarring normalities into the gangland. And also things that just jar, like helicopter search lights.

I enjoyed it immensely up to the last 30 minutes or so when the logic of character and male friendship gave way to the needs of plot.

Roger Ebert: four stars. Janet Maslin: a critic's pick (!). It inevitably invited comparisons with Spike Lee's east-coast Do The Right Thing.