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NotHugh visits da hood 
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Post NotHugh visits da hood
I've collated a few hood-related films in the past few days, and have begun watching them in earnest. (most are revisits)

Menace II Society (1993)

The most impressive thing about this film is that time doesn't seem to have aged it much at all. Perhaps the use of scarcely known actors has aided this, but it still remains an impressive piece of work.

I think the reason for this is that beyond the deliberately ghetto-illiterate title of the film itself, the basis of the story is one of a morality tale played with a straight bat. And one that - despite acknowledging what you may call stereotypes and clichés - is not ruled by them.

Caine is not an untypical teenager. He's angry, lonely, lost, prone to bouts of anger ... but not evil. His character treads this tightrope very well. It would be too easy to make him either a) too not give a fuck, or b) a pathetic martyr type character. But the film actually provides us with a balanced and believable protagonist.

However, his environment is dominated by highly malevolent influences. His best friend is a human representation of psychopathic, nihilistic, ghetto-gangterism. Caine knows this, but is compelled somewhat to tolerate the least worst of his excesses whilst secretly plotting a way out of the hood via his girlfriend-elect - a rather stunning Jada Pinkett (pre hyphen Smith).

What follows is hardly unpredictable, but is well done enough for us to accept it. The basic trope of escaping the consequences of your actions and your past is utilised more than competently.

A good film. And entertaining too.

8.5/10

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:41 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
CB4 (1994)

For me, this is one of the most underrated comedies of the 90s.

Chris Rock plays a middle-class black kid who dreams of escaping and subverting his cringe-worthy suburban conformity and becoming a gangsta rapper.

He and 2 of his pals achieve this by plagiarising the image and mojo of a recently imprisoned career-criminal. Even the groups name - CB4 (as in Cell Block 4) - is stolen from the wing the genuine 'G' is incarcerated on.

CB4 works as a satire on gangsta rap, and most importantly on how middle-class conformity's attempt to hijack it. This is expressly acknowledged in Chris Elliot's sweaty loser journalist who facilitates the narrative to the film via his white, middle-class fettishization of black stereotypes. I love the line he says in complete bemused disappointment when he is slowly realising the group are fakes - "wait, is Stab-master Arson also middle-class"?

The film is consistently funny, and also offers an uncomfortable believability about the sad bastard protagonists led by Rock.

8/10

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:53 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Cool, here's some urban films I would recommend: South Central, Jason's Lyric, Poetic Justice, Baby Boy, Dead Presidents.

Also the Wayans Bros "Don't Be A Menace" is a pretty funny spoof of these types of films.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:25 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
I've seen Dead Presidents and Don't be a Menace, but will add the rest to the list.

Ta

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:46 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
I went through a similar ghetto movies phase. I think I preferred Menace II Society to Boyz n the Hood. The latter's polish worked against it in a way. Dead Presidents also has a lot going for it.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:12 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
JamesKunz wrote:
I went through a similar ghetto movies phase. I think I preferred Menace II Society to Boyz n the Hood. The latter's polish worked against it in a way. Dead Presidents also has a lot going for it.


I went through one too at 13-14 when many of them were being released. Of them, three stand out as defining: Fresh, Boyz N The Hood and Menace II Society. The last one is definitely the most harrowing and the most effective. Juice also has a lot to recommend it, particularly a fantastic soundtrack, great cinematography and very good performances, particularly one from the late Tupac Shakur in his first movie role.

CB4 has its moments. But if you want a really funny gangsta rap spoof, check out Fear Of A Black Hat.

Straight Out Of Brooklyn got a lot of acclaim. But to me it hasn't aged that well. Worth a look. But not as good as the ones I noted above.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:57 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
JamesKunz wrote:
I went through a similar ghetto movies phase. I think I preferred Menace II Society to Boyz n the Hood. The latter's polish worked against it in a way. Dead Presidents also has a lot going for it.


I remember loving Boyz n the Hood as a teenager and then seeing Menace II Society in college and being so blown away that I haven't watch Boyz n the Hood since. Like you alluded to, the lack of polish really makes the movie. It's so great.

I'm also a huge fan of Dead Presidents, and wish the Hughes Brothers would go back to making "black" movies. I actually enjoyed The Book of Eli as a stylish mashup of a western and apocalypse film, but it's a minor movie overall. Make good shit again!


Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:27 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Fresh and Juice I would also recommend, along with ATL


Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:13 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Will Jay Billington Bulworth be making an appearance?

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:45 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
I've always heard good things about Menace II Society, but for some reason, I've never gotten around to watching it.

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:06 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Ken wrote:
Will Jay Billington Bulworth be making an appearance?


Bulworth is an entertaining film worthy to be watched if you haven't !

It definitely has some Hood traits :-)

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:59 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Friday (1995)

Friday, despite being an over the top comedy on one level, also nails quite accurately the boredom and intermittent danger of estate life.

Despite taking place in Southern LA, many of the events could quite easily have taken place on the estate I grew up on. Hence its popularity when I was a teenager. Craig (Ice Cube) is a bored adolescent, who combines that toxic combination of too little skills to succeed in the world, with but too much ego and possibly intelligence to do the mundane alternatives.

He thus lounges on his porch all day smoking weed with his bummed out, ghetto trash talker pal, Smokey (Chris Tucker). Their lives are very much portrayed through the stoner mindset of not achieving anything, and being plagued by events around them.

And they do have problems. "Big Worm", a quite immoral, drug-peddling fuckwit par-excellence is going to brutally murder them that evening if Smokey can't pay him back $200. There is also the hulking neighbourhood thug, Deebo, to content with en-route.

Friday is a good film. It's paced well - relaxing at the beginning, but with the looming threat that something can and will happen. I'm not sure what "the message" is here, but nevertheless, an entertaining hour and a half is always had

8/10

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Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:29 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Ken wrote:
Will Jay Billington Bulworth be making an appearance?


I'd never even heard of it, but it will now!

Ta

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Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:37 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
NotHughGrant wrote:
Ken wrote:
Will Jay Billington Bulworth be making an appearance?


I'd never even heard of it, but it will now!

Ta


Gotta get yourself some Warren-Beatty-as-rapping-politician action

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Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:55 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Bullworth is pretty hilarious though it's been years since I last saw it.


Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:10 am
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Bulworth is amazingly good. It's liberal even by Hollywood standards; apparently no one actually approved the funding for the film but Beatty went and made it anyway. And at Fox no less! Rupert Murdoch must have shit himself when he saw it.

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Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:18 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Bulworth is amazingly good. It's liberal even by Hollywood standards; apparently no one actually approved the funding for the film but Beatty went and made it anyway. And at Fox no less! Rupert Murdoch must have shit himself when he saw it.


The ending is weak, but for the first 2/3 it's a ballsy good movie

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Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:09 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Bulworth is amazingly good. It's liberal even by Hollywood standards; apparently no one actually approved the funding for the film but Beatty went and made it anyway. And at Fox no less! Rupert Murdoch must have shit himself when he saw it.


The ending is weak, but for the first 2/3 it's a ballsy good movie


I like the ending. I think it's the only way it could have ended and stayed true to the spirit of the film.

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Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:56 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
While I am sympathetic to Bulworth's politics, the appeal is in the simple catharsis of an aging career politician who finally refuses to play the game and comes clean and specific (and graphic) with what he really thinks. Everybody wants that, including, I suspect, the politicians.

In fact, I haven't seen Bulworth in a while, but it's probably even funnier now than it used to be. The political arena is more full of shit than ever, and it's a bipartisan problem.

It also makes me wonder if Carlin was right. Maybe we need the bullshit. If Carlin was right, maybe the only way we could accept a Jay Bulworth is at the movies.

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Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:40 pm
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Post Re: NotHugh visits da hood
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Bulworth is amazingly good. It's liberal even by Hollywood standards; apparently no one actually approved the funding for the film but Beatty went and made it anyway. And at Fox no less! Rupert Murdoch must have shit himself when he saw it.


The ending is weak, but for the first 2/3 it's a ballsy good movie


I like the ending. I think it's the only way it could have ended and stayed true to the spirit of the film.


The ending that...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Has Paul Sorvino, insurance executive bigwig, snipe Bulworth from a rooftop? I'm fine with Bulworth dying, but Jesus is that some lazy plotting.

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Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:58 pm
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