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Baby Boy: Singletons' best? (1 Viewer)

Bruce Hedtke

Senior HTF Member
Jul 11, 1999
I watched Baby Boy with a cautious eye. After Poetic Justice and the idea of Snoop Dogg in a film, I wasn't sure where John Singleton was taking his latest project. He launched onto the scene with the incredible Boyz N' the Hood, followed with the tame P.J., then Higher Learning, which I loved, then Rosewood and finally, Shaft. So, his career was kind of all over the place. With Baby Boy, Singleton has reclaimed his position as the best urban studies director. If you parralled Boyz with Baby Boy, they would seem very similar. Indeed, they are. Both stories of life in the jungle that is Los Angeles. Both have the Afro-American youth at their centers. Both are gritty and unflinching. But, unlike Boyz, Baby Boy is told from a more feminine perspective. The main characters may be male, but it is their approach to the opposite sex that is put on display. How much would they go through for a woman? How much can they love? After all the macho talk, where is it that Jody ends up?
The beauty of this film isn't that it is so different, but that it is so alike alot of other gritty, urban films. Alike that they all weave the same basic premise: young kids struggling to cope with life in a warzone. It's outstanding when anyone can take such a story and give it new life. Singleton does just that. His characters are rich and the storylines are layered, so that every action taken by anyone has a ripple effect that works perfectly throughout the film. From the angry, sullen youth of Jody, to the steadfast and broadshouldered mother, to the brash, thuggish Rodney...every characteriztion is dead on. The story is played off itself and it never strays from being poignant and thoughtful. Ving Rhames just about steals the film and would have were Baby Boy any less spectacular.
I think it would be an understatement to say I loved this film. It was the best film I've seen in the last two years and though I doubt it will get a nomination for such, I peg it as my Best Picture winner. (With the Oscar season barely started, I know the big guns haven't been released yet, but it would take a mighty effort to dethrone this). I would hope Baby Boy gets recognition. A very tight, very involving film that doesn't show any weaknesses. Very highly recommended.
Baby Boy


Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love


Supporting Actor
Sep 23, 2003
John is a director who made a passionate, earnest debut for which the industry took notice and basked him with praise. In my mind, it is that early praise which played a small part in his overall career downfall. I believe for talented up and coming filmmakers making a good first picture from sheer love and personal investment is easy. For you are free to explore without expectations held above your head. His sophomore picture, Poetic Justice actually had potential to a compelling work. Although the popular belief was casting Janet Jackson in the lead, I do not consider this a gross misstep. The scene in the picture I refer to, as the “intervention scene” where we see Janet’s character Justice intends to confront her girlfriend Iesha about her alcoholism, was so poorly acted that this very sequence should’ve been removed to keep his lead star from embarrassment. Never mind the fact that had the scene been deleted from the final version of the film the plot would’ve suffered.

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