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Boyz 'N The Hood (Jeff Batts)

The film Boyz 'N The Hood follows Tre through a great challenge/rite of passage in his life. Having trouble in school and getting into fights, Tre's mom decided he needs more of a father figure in his life and leaves him with his father for a few years to mature. There, Tre learns what it's like to be a real man and not fall into the traditional pattern of urban living that has taken hold of his friends. Because of this, we see many different types of personalities in the African-American characters. Some, such as Furious and Tre, see the futility of gang life. Others, such as Doughboy, feel that the gang life is all they have. They were born in the hood, and they'll never get out of it, so the best way to deal with that is to be an icon within the hood. Because of this, I can understand why some would argue that the movie demonstrates the sense of nihilism in black culture. many characters are just out for a quick fix, and don't care who they have to step on or over to get it. There are very few times in the movie where Doughboy is not seen with a beer, and never can a girl walk by without getting stared at. Guns are shown as symbols of masculinity.
Ironically, Furious is the most level-headed character in the film. He guides Tre the best he can away from the thug life. Furious may not be able to get out of the hood, but he feels a sense of responsibility to get his son out of there. This personality is a stark contrast from those of Doughboy and his posse. The movie is not critical of all urban blacks, but it definitely shows disdain for the thug life. None of the gang members have a 'good' outcome in the movie. The characters that stay away, such as Furious, Brandi, and Tre, all end up with favorable endings. So, while the movie itself does not cast a good light on urban life, it holds a clear message for how to break free of the life that has taken hold of so many urban blacks.

Jeff Batts