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'Boyz n the Hood' still packs a punch

Boyz n the Hood


This year, Steve McQueen (not that Steve McQueen) became the third black person to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for his work on "12 Years a Slave." The first was John Singleton, who earned it for the 1991 film "Boyz n the Hood."

"Boyz n the Hood" stars Cuba Gooding Jr. He plays Tre Styles, a young black man who lives in a Los Angeles ghetto. His parents are divorced, and he lives with his strict dad, Furious (played by Lawrence Fishburne). His friends include Doughboy (played by Ice Cube), a rough young man who became seduced by violence, and Ricky (played by Morris Chestnut), a handsome athlete trying to get a scholarship to go to college. For these and other young people in a crime-ridden area, daily life involves significant financial, educational, social, and familial challenges. Responsible adults are few and far between. Violence permeates their homes, schools, and streets.

John Singleton does a great job making "Boyz n the Hood" authentic. We see how people who live in this oppressive environment behave. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and guns are all constant temptations. A few young people, like Tre and his girlfriend Brandi, can shape a decent future, but far too many meet the unfortunate fates of Doughboy.

All the performances in the film are excellent. Cuba Gooding Jr. shows that Tre is a fairly decent guy because he was raised by caring parents. Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut are both very good as his friends, who have very different personalities. Lawrence Fishburne is strong as Furious, the smartest character in the movie.

"Boyz n the Hood" can be difficult to watch, but it is an important, well-made film the all movie fans should see.