In celebration of Black History Month, we’re making daily movie recommendations, presented in chronological order of the films’ stories.
Stay tuned to Noovie every day as we highlight an original, landmark film worth revisiting or discovering for the first time.
February 16 – Boyz n the Hood (1984 - 1991)
John Singleton’s “Boyz n the Hood” started out as one of the three film ideas he submitted with his application to USC Film School in 1986.
By the time he graduated in 1990, Singleton was prepared to sell his screenplay to Colombia Pictures, but only under the condition that he could direct the semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in South Central Los Angeles.
Starring relative newcomers Ice Cube (member of the rap group NWA), Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and Regina King, along with “Apocalypse Now’s” Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, the story was an acclaimed box office hit upon its wide release on July 12, 1991.
The film starts out in 1984, when a 10-year-oldTre, smart but troubled, is sent by his mom Reva (Bassett) to live with his father Furious (Fishburne) in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, after one too many outbursts. There, Trey reconnects with Doughboy and his half-brother Ricky, along with other neighborhood kids.
Fast forward to 1991, and Trey’s now on the verge of graduating. He and Ricky have plans to attend college and escape their gang-ridden neighborhood, while Doughboy is more resigned to stay where he’s at and do the best he can living in the circumstances of their environment.
After a fatal run-in with rival gang members leads to Ricky's untimely murder (he’d recently been recruited to play football at USC), the two remaining boys in the hood take separate paths. Trey is able to overcome his own thirst for vengeance to seek out a better existence. Doughboy avenges his brother’s death, only to later be killed himself.
“Boyz n the Hood” made an immediate impact upon its release, earning back its $6.5 million budget nearly 10 times over. Singleton became the youngest person (at age 24), and first African-American, to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. He was also nominated for Best Screenplay.
Sadly, Singleton passed away much too early, after suffering a stroke at age 51 on April 28, 2019. He had made several worthy films throughout his career. But he’s still remembered most for "Boyz," which remains a timeless, culturally important touchstone.
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About the Author
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.