Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of any photographic material used unless otherwise noted. This blog is intended for purposes of film criticism, commentary, and humor. If you wish to start this journey from the beginning, start with the prologue here.
Konichiwa, pardner. I am the Wild West Samurai.
Let’s kick this off by going way back to the year 1991.
It was a pretty fucked up year, by several standards. The United States invaded Iraq, won, left, and didn’t go back for 12 years. Soooo… it qualifies as a victory like how a premature ejaculation qualifies as getting laid, only to find your one-night stand at your doorstep years later. With a teenager in tow. It was also a year of profound pop-culture fuck-ups. Axl Rose showed how much of an ass he was by attacking a fan at one of his concerts. Three goats were sacrificed so that Ed Sheeran could be born.
Sorry. Was I thinking out loud? Anyway, 1991 was also the year Bryan Adams’ song “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” made it to number one on the Billboard charts – for seven godforsaken weeks in a row. Like Kevin Costner’s acting in the film the song was written for, it was phoned in, soulless, and as riveting as listening to paint dry on a white picket fence. Outside a bland white house. With a bland white family eating bland whitebread sandwiches inside – with mayonnaise on top. And it won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.
Dark times, people. Dark times.
Had it not been for the brass pipes on Angela Lansbury and her vocal work on the song “Beauty and the Beast,” done in one take – yes, this was done in one take – Adams might have won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Original Song. But he didn’t. The Fire Lord was stopped. Zelda was rescued. Middle-earth was saved. And that’s all that matters.
1991 wasn’t all bad, though. The Soviet Union dissolved, the Berlin Wall came all the way down, and the Scorpions released a bitchin’ single about it.
Nirvana released their magnum opus Nevermind and their single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” not only topped the Billboard charts the next year, it ushered in a wave of grunge music that defined the ’90s. A Tribe Called Quest released their album The Low End Theory the same day as Nevermind, and proceeded to do for alternative hip-hop what Nevermind did for alternative rock. Prince released Diamonds and Pearls, with “Cream” as his last number-one single. A little-known rapper named Tupac Shakur kicked off his solo career with the release of 2Pacalypse Now, with the promise of more spit to come. Michael Jackson released Dangerous, his last good album (fight me). Ice Cube went from a rap career to starting his film career. Whitney Houston sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl, proceeding to blow the minds of 80 million people and holy fucking shit, I feel old. At least one person from all these acts is now dead: Phife Dawg, Kurt Cobain, Tupac, Whitney, Michael, Prince…
Well… except Ice Cube. He’s still around and actually done pretty well for himself: Four kids, been married the equivalent of 4,380 Britney Spears-length marriages, and has never had a rap sheet in his life. Props, man, props. And that film career of his? That started with a role in Boyz N The Hood, written and directed by a young and unknown John Singleton. After mentioning The Homesteader as the first known film ever made with an all-black cast and crew, it only made sense to start with another first. At the 1992 Oscars, John Singleton was the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director. What caught my attention when I’d first read about the film was that in 2002, it was selected for preservation as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress. I remember quirking an eyebrow at that.
So, is it that good?
With an alien breathing down my neck to review this, do I have a choic-?
Right, right! Yes! This is Boyz N The Hood.