WIRTB Review: The "Hood Cinema" Files, Part One

By Speed on the Beat (@SpeedontheBeat)

What did I do to deserve this?

No, seriously. What did I do to deserve this?

Sigh. Well, might as well get into it. I'm Speed on the Beat and this is a second dose of WIRTB Review. Earlier today on SpeedontheBeat.com, I decided to take a look at the 2005 Honeymooners reboot while gawking at Regina Hall's cakes (seriously, she looks just as amazing now as she did back in the day. #BlackDontCrack). Ultimately, the film was worse than bad. It was just boring and unneeded...unlike the rest of the crap we're looking at today. Now, I really don't like kicking Black cinema--unless it needs to be kicked.

And today's participants need to be kicked. So, let's get into our WIRTB Review of some of the more well-known "hood cinema" flicks, circa late 90s-to-mid 2000s. Now, before you get all "oh, Speed need to go back to dem 'white movies'" on me, the "hood cinema" flick has a certain feel, a certain tone to it, mainly because most of them are low-budget. And even if they're not low-budget financially, they still have the same tone mostly. It's literally a genre of its own because of the multiple mash-ups of better movies we get within these flicks.

We won't cover them all, as my brain won't be able to process that much of fuckery in such a short period of time. But, we'll hit some of the "biggest" names.

Ah, I Got The Hook Up.

Holla if ya hear me, right? What "hood film" retrospective would be complete without this clunker? To sum up the film in a nutshell, it's the No Limit roster selling stolen cell phones (because cell phones in the 90s were unicorns, remember?) and getting into typical crime comedy tropes. Our main characters, Black and Blue--wayment...these assholes are named Black and Blue? Yep. Fuck this movie. Master P can't act and his co-star, A.J. Johnson, disappeared without a trace after this movie. He probably couldn't take the pressure of living up to the hype of this stellar crowning achievement in film history. Either that or people realized that even his stand-up wasn't all that funny.

See what I mean? If he's funny to you, that's cool. To me, he's trying way too damn hard. Hook Up, for what it was, still missed the mark. However, if you're looking for worst of the worst, you can go deeper.

On the opposite side of the NOLA hood flick scene, we had Baller Blockin', which was essentially I Got the Hook Up with cocaine instead of cell phones and the Hot Boyz instead of Master P.

So, obviously, it was light on funny and heavy on the gritty drama. This one, I'll be honest, it's always been a guilty pleasure of mine--mainly because of the random-ass spliced-in scenes of Lil' Wayne's Iceberg Shorty selling. I appreciate the "slice of life" feel the movie was going for with these scenes, but they often chopped up the flow of the movie in a way that's, mostly, ironically hilarious.

3 Strikes, however, is a movie that Satan forged from his bowels.

...no the fuck it ain't.

I mean, in this "comedy," a plot point revolves around the heel of the movie getting raped in prison. When I first saw this flick, it was when it first dropped, in 2000. So, twelve-year-old me was in it for the couple ass and titty shots we got peppered in the movie. Nothing more, nothing less. Even then, I knew this movie was useless. And it's crazy as to how bad this joint turned out!

You had Anthony Anderson, David Alan Grier, Mo'Nique and DJ Pooh involved. That right there should make a funny movie. On top of that, DJ Pooh, the guy who gave us FridayGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the mood of GTA V wrote and directed a movie which included a scene where Faizon Love "sweet talks" a stripper who works at the "Chicken Strip."

...ok, that was kind of funny. But the rest of the movie fails. And hard. Also, was that really late pornstar/model Angel Devi or nah? Fuckin' internet legends.

Def Jam's How to Be a Player (you gotta say the whole thing, like "A Pimp Named Slickback" or "A Tribe Called Quest") is next up.

Essentially, it's Bill Bellamy living out the dreams of most teenagers in America: to fuck everything within earshot. Seriously, that's it. He wants to fuck a bunch of women and not have his girl find out. And guess what? She does. But, underneath this thin plot (and the slew of Def Jam references), we're given a couple of legitimate funny moments, including this scene with the legendary Max Julien.

Now, I've already given a look to Baby Boy in a previous WIRTB. However, let's take a look at Baby Boy 2 a/k/a Waist Deep.

No, I won't clown on how The Game plays a character named "Big Meat." I'm sure there've been enough "pause" jokes made about the name over the years. However, the movie really plays like a Baby Boy sequel. From the fact that it's another Tyrese/John Singleton collaboration to just the overall feel of "young black man who doesn't have it all together gets it together through coming face to face with 'real nigga shit'," Waist Deep feels like a sequel to one of my first WIRTBs.

Somehow, though, I feel like Jody was a better man by the end than O2 was. And what-the-fuck type of name, street or otherwise, is "O2?"

Keeping on the Game Movie Train, we've got Belly 2

Now, Belly, it's an underrated flick. The plot runs thin at times. But, it's a solid film that's shot so well. Belly 2 isn't any of these things. Hell, Belly 2 isn't really even a sequel; Lionsgate just markets it as such to bring in hip-hop fans. Belly 2: Billionaire Boys Club is...you know what? You watch it. I refuse to sit through it again. I did some years back when my mom, God rest her soul, was heavy into hood flicks and revenge films. 

I gave my mother the biggest side eye after the credits rolled. But, it's kind of so bad, it's good. For instance, let's just look at the craziness in the scene below. 

As cliche and outlandish as it was, I personally had a smile afterwards. Would I recommend it to anyone? No. A couple of crazy-ass scenes don't make a good flick. However, it wasn't that bad. Oh, it was bad. Putrid. But, I've seen worse. Besides, you get to see Michael K. Williams dual-fist pistols like some kind of bald, Street Justice version of Master Chief.

Next up? Choices The Movie.

Yep, we're going there. Now, any movie that begins with a man getting his wig split after fucking some chick (nice breasts, by the way) and a prisoner getting released to some Curtis Mayfield? You've got a classic in the making. Out of all the albums-as-movies I've seen, Choices The Movie is actually pretty solid. The acting is cheese, but the feeling's still there. Plus, the music and shot selections are amazing. The sequel kind of fell flat for me, but it was still better than 3 Strikes.

Released a bit after the era we're devoting this one to, I feel that our final film takes the cake in being as bad as advertised and not in a funny way.

Next Day Air dropped in 2009, but felt like it should've came out in 1999. The Donald Faison vehicle saw Faison as a delivery man who (surprise!) unknowingly facilitates in a coke deal gone south, which leads to drug-involved hijinks. At least Lacey Duvalle was in here somewhere, right? Now, this year, the Tupac film All Eyez on Me is slated to release. What do that film and NDA have in common? This man, director Benny Boom.

Next Day Air looked fine, meaning it fit in with a lot of the videos from this time. However, even Boom's direction couldn't save this...thing. The violence was ramped up to about 50 for no real reason (seriously, check out the body count by the end of it), the jokes fell flat, and we still haven't seen Lauren London nude in a movie.

Call me a perv and a sexist. And, truth be told, if what I'm about to say is those things, I'll own it (but only for what I'm about to say, not every day, all day). Lauren London showing cheeks would instantaneously make this movie a GOAT film (even if I'm not really a believer in the "GOAT" mantra anymore).

So, hopefully, I haven't lost the rest of my "urban fanbase" (sarcasm) with this one. Truth be told, there are a lot of bad movies out there--regardless of color or "hood" backgrounds. Race doesn't make shitty films. Shitty people make shitty films. So, instead of holding these fails up as the reason why Black Hollywood isn't taken seriously, go and support Black Hollywood films, gangsta and otherwise, that are actually good and worth your 1:30-2:00.

If you like any of these films, that's cool. I just hope you're not going to sit here and tell me that Next Day Air is better than Pineapple Express or any of the Guy Ritchie films it tries to be. I will shut you down. Quickly.


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