Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't Be a Menace to South Central while Drinking you Juice in the Hood

The film, Killer of Sheep, portrays a run down Watts neighborhood through a lens of reality. Unlike the black exploitation movies of the time, which portrayed blacks as ass kicking, jive talking, brothers fighting the man, Killer of Sheep focuses on depicting the reality of living in Watts. What Killer of Sheep did to films like Superfly, Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood did to the gangsta genre of the early 1990’s. With the release of Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society, came a perceived notion that life in the hood entailed gun toting, excessive drinking and drug use, gang membership, and Daytons. While there is no doubt that some of these acts do exist, the sheer ridiculousness of the films drive me crazy with embarrassment. Luckily the Wayans brothers were there to parody. Don’t Be a Menace takes parts from both Menace II Society and Boyz N the Hood, along with a few others, and pokes fun at every stereotype presented. For instance, in both movies the characters are constantly holding 40 oz. malt liquor bottles. Don’t Be a Menace takes this further buy covering entire kitchens with “40’s.” Even a liquor store is named “Guns and Forty’s.” While Don’t be a Menace certainly takes a different approach than Killers of Sheep, they are both effective in drawing the line between stereotype and reality.

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