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Top Movies Of The 1990's: #55 Boyz N The Hood

Box Office: $57.4 Million

Oscar Nominations: Best Director (John Singleton), Best Original Screenplay

Oscar Wins: None

MovieRankings.Net: 94/100

Available To Stream: Amazon Prime ($4)

I don't know if I can recall any supporting actor being the heartbeat of a movie more than Laurence Fishburne is in Boyz N The Hood. That he didn't get nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a weak year is outrageous. Jack Palance won for City Slickers. It's a fine performance but what are we doing here? Two actors were nominated for Bugsy! The movie was loved by critics and did get two major nominations but Fishburne's kind yet principled character is so crucial to the movie working. 

Fishburne aside, this is an imperfect movie but few other films can pack such an emotional wallop. The first half hour set in the early 80's shows the four major characters as kids and has an incredible scene showing the kids meeting an older gang. They find a dead body (which seems a bit much) but then the gang steals their football. On paper, a football being stolen (especially with a corpse nearby) doesn't sound like much but director John Singleton makes it brilliant. There is such an overwhelming amount of dread as the gang members toss the football around. Singleton does such a great job making the moviegoer feel unsafe the entire movie.

Giphy Images.

The cast is incredible and features so many young actors before their careers took off. It's the first major roles for future Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr and Regina King. It even has a couple of future Oscar nominated actors (Fishburne and Angela Bassett - for the same movie What's Love Got To Do With It) to go along with Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and Ice Cube. 

For this to work, you need to believe in not just the characters but the location as well. Shooting this on location in South Central is so imperative to this story. Seeing the neighborhood through his eyes is so powerful. Furious explaining the billboards and gentrification is just as interesting in 2023 as it was in 1991.

Giphy Images.

So much of the movie revolves around choices and how important parenting is. The core question of "Can Furious save Tre?" is felt the entire movie and you can completely understand the motivations of each character. I love how the movie flips what the idea of a hero is on its head. In a lesser movie revenge would be the ultimate move but here, it's about your future. It's great how Ice Cube's character also understands that at the end of the movie as well. 

Singleton had bigger hits (2 Fast 2 Furious and Four Brothers) but never had a movie that resonated with critics like Boyz N The Hood did. he also died far too young at 51 due to a stroke. He only made one movie from 2005 until he passed away in 2019 (2011's Abduction). He was still working in television though so I am sure he would have had more movies in him. He was only 23 when he directed Boyz N The Hood. It's just too bad we never got to see what Singleton could do as an older director.

(Quick Note: Sorry it's been so long since the last one of these. I've been traveling a lot the past month but I'll do a better job getting these out every week. Once baseball season is over, I'll double up some weeks to make up for lost time.)

55. Boyz N The Hood

56. Grosse Pointe Blank

57. Independence Day

58. The Rainmaker

59. Go

60. The Firm

61. Magnolia

62. The Talented Mr. Ripley

63. Tommy Boy

64. The Usual Suspects

65. In The Line Of Fire

66. My Cousin Vinny

67. Awakenings

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks