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“Hip Hop” Movies: They Kinda Suck

The very first time I watched a so-called “hood film” was over a decade ago in a neighbor’s basement with some of my family members, trying to decipher the bootlegged, halfway scrambled copy of Boyz n the Hood. Two things stood out from that film, though: the infamous “Can you drive stick?” scene, and when Ricky got the ever-loving shit shot out of him near the end. I learned two things from that film: one, stay the hell out of the hood if I can avoid it and two, it’s amazing how, to this day, even without a high school education you can wrap your hands around the biggest blammer possible.

Exaggerated as that film may have been (nobody drives into the hood, stands on a soapbox and delivers a passionate speech about gentrification, for starters), there was once upon a time when urban novellas not only had street cred within its own community but also contemporary credibility from it’s glitzy, Hollywood peers as well. Menace II Society, Set If Off and Juice were like the Straight Outta Compton, The Chronic and Illmatic of their times.

Nowadays, it seems all you need is to cast a rapster or hire Tyler Perry’s bum ass, and you have the blueprint for the next hip hop-inspired movie.

I’ll admit: growing up with four sisters I was forced to watch whatever films they wanted to, and I have a quiet appreciation for the likes of Brown Sugar and The Wood, skewed as they may be. I even quasi-dug Something New, and that is probably the most unbelievable story on interracial love I’ve ever seen. But I haven’t been interested in and kind of Black film in years because they’ve just become flat-out re-tarded, with paper-thin plots and weaker acting. Case in point: the film Just Wright which, although released today, should make its rounds around the Internets by the end of the weekend. The movie is a blatant example of urban flicks today: rapsters-turnt-actors in a film directed by a former music video director, spliced in with the “emotional turmoil” between the two central characters, followed by the “Cinderella ending.”

Coincidentally, the same person who directed Something New also directed Just Wright. So that explains why Common takes the New York Nets to the NBA Finals and chooses Queen Latifah over Paula Patton. Really? Common chose Cleo from Set It Off? Word? You know what I’d like to see? Common actually choosing the gold digger over the woman with the heart of gold at the end, because at least then there’d be some truth to the film. You’ve seen that Basketball Wives show on VH1; you really think that would exist if Michael Olowokandi picked his soul mate over some schmag with a mini-skirt and wide open vagina?

It’s not like I have an issue with urban films, it’s just that I wish that they weren’t so overdone with the same telltale scenarios that you can’t tell the movies apart. But perhaps these are just an indicator of what point hood films can get to. If that’s the case, it’s pretty sad in my opinion.

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