The Why Watch That Talk: Macro’s Classic Black Movie Playoffs
Menace II Society vs. Boyz n da Hood:
After growing up in the gang lifestyle of the Los Angeles projects, 18-year-old Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner) wants a way out. Everyone around him, including his unpredictable friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate), is trapped in their lives of crime and violence. With the help of his caring teacher (Charles Dutton) and supportive girlfriend (Jada Pinkett), Caine plans to leave the city for good. But in a series of tragic events, Caine realizes that escape will not be easy.
Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los Angeles. Although his hard-nosed father instills proper values and respect in him, and his devout girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) teaches him about faith, Tre’s friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) don’t have the same kind of support and are drawn into the neighborhood’s booming drug and gang culture, with increasingly tragic results.
Juice vs. Belly
Four Harlem friends — Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Q (Omar Epps), Steel (Jermaine Hopkins) and Raheem (Khalil Kain) — dabble in petty crime, but they decide to go big by knocking off a convenience store. Bishop, the magnetic leader of the group, has the gun. But Q has different aspirations. He wants to be a DJ and happens to have a gig the night of the robbery. Unfortunately for him, Bishop isn’t willing to take no for answer in a game where everything’s for keeps.
Ever since they were kids, Sincere (Nas) and Buns (DMX) have lived life close to the edge, doing whatever it takes to survive. As adults, they build up their kingdom of crime on drug dealing and robbery. But Sincere grows weary of the criminal lifestyle and joins a black Muslim religious group. Buns, on the other hand, sinks deeper into criminality and faces serious prison time. The cops offer him a deal, however — assassinate the head of the Muslim group, and he will go free.
Do the Right Thing vs. Jungle Fever
Salvatore “Sal” Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito), becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria’s Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors. Buggin’ Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin’ Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions rise.
A married black lawyer named Flipper (Wesley Snipes) begins an affair with Angie (Annabella Sciorra), his white secretary. When the news is leaked through an acquaintance, Flipper’s wife (Lonette McKee) kicks him out of the house. Flipper decides to begin courting his mistress, only to be greeted by disapproval from friends, family and even strangers. The relationship continues to be strained in a society not ready to accept it, and people are hurt during its inception.
Foxy Brown vs. Shaft
Unable to pay back the $20,000 he owes the mob, small-time hustler Link (Antonio Fargas) instead gives up the identity of an undercover cop (Terry Carter) who happens to be dating his sister, Foxy Brown (Pam Grier). When gangsters later kill the cop, Foxy is quick to make the connection and swears vengeance. Posing as a prostitute, and with the help of a group of neighborhood vigilantes, she gradually tracks down the hit men, their Mafia bosses and her own brother.
John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy (Moses Gunn), the leader of the black crime mob, then against black nationals, and finally working with both against the white mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter.