Thursday, December 22, 2011

boyz in the hood

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Boys N the Hood Justified Violence

Violence is a part of our life in today’s society. The word violence is used quite often in everyday conversations. Not only is violence used and described in daily conversations, but violence is used in the entertainment world as well. By saying entertainment world, in specific, the movie entertainment business is meant. Violence has been used in movies as far as anyone can remember. The original version of Godzilla was made quite a few years ago and with less technology, but that did not stop the makers of the movie to include violence. Sometimes violence is used merely for visual sake and has nothing to do with the plot of the story. The violence in the film, Boyz N the Hood, is entertaining, visual, and universal; some viewers may consider some scenes too violent and unnecessary, however, from the filmmaker’s point of view the scenes are necessary to illustrate conflict and resolution among the characters.

The exact definition of violence is an exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse. Bailey and Hale put the definition in a broader prospective and define violence as a “series of events, the course of which or the outcomes of which, cause injury or damage to a persons or property.” The two definitions are similar. They both define violence as causing an injury. Using those definitions of violence, one can easily conclude that violence is used in a sense as a second language when making films.

The movie, Boyz N the Hood, is a typical example of how violence is used in movies. The main character is Tre Styles, a teenager growing up in South Central Los Angeles. His father, Furious, is divorced and lives away from Tre and his mother, but hes still involved in Tres upbringing. He does his best to teach his son the values of right and wrong. Meanwhile, Tres childhood buddies Ricky and Doughboy are living their lives in terms of the epidemic of violence and poverty that has plagued their neighborhood. Ricky, a talented football player, is striving to get a full athletic scholarship to college. Doughboy lives a life full of crime but still remains true to his friends. The obstacles that these three young men come across result in dire consequences, devastatingly avoidable and inevitable at the same time.

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The movie is acclaimed to accurately portray South Central Los Angeles in the late 80s and early 0s as painted by Jon Singleton, who grew up in that neighborhood. Although violence has a vital part in this movie’s story line, in some scenes violence is overemphasized. Over the course of the entire movie, there are 1 instances of violence during the total 11 minutes. That calculates out to one instance of violence every .4 seconds. The 1 instances of violence can be classified into two different categories instrumental violence, which is violent behavior used by individuals to achieve a particular goal in the end and expressive violence, which is when violence is largely an explosive phenomenon, which generally erupts as a statement of deep emotional forces and feelings. The violence can be encoded as a conflict resolution, meaning that the rival groups of teenagers see what they think is a conflict and they use violence to settle the “conflict.” Basically, violence is used as a means to solve the problem.

There is one particular scene in Boyz N the Hood where an encoded instrumental violence takes place, meaning it involves context and images that amount to hidden or explicit rationales. The scene takes place after Ricky and Tre leave the corner store. As they are leaving, a car full of rival gang members pulls up. To avoid trouble Tre and Ricky run down an alley and they split up. As Ricky is going his way, he is scratching off a lottery ticket and is not paying attention. Tre turns around and sees the car stop directly in Ricky’s path. When Ricky hears Tre’s warning, it is too late. One of the rival members points a gun out the window and shoots Ricky three times. That particular scene can be classified as conflict resolution, because the rival gang settles their problem they had with Ricky’s group by shooting and killing Ricky solely because he was apart of another group.

In the same scene, the violence was enplotted, meaning that certain techniques were used to enhance the violence that is taking place. The violence was enplotted in two different ways through the use of a shock scene and through the use of blood. When Ricky turns around to run, the scene is slowed down and shows him running in slow motion. The “shock” takes place when the gun is shot and the bullets enter Ricky’s body. Since the scene is in slow motion the audience can actually see the bullets enter his body and Ricky slowly falling to the ground. Blood shoots out of Ricky’s body when he is shot and the bullet wounds can be seen. The visual effects make the impact much deeper. The killing scene is made bigger than life and the audience is left, not with sadness of seeing someone being killed, but with the sensational graphic imagery of the act.

Expressive violence, the second way violence can be classified, is. After Ricky’s brother, Doughboy, finds out that Ricky was murdered, he is overcome by feelings of rage and anger. He immediately seeks vengeance upon the thugs that murdered his brother. Vengeance is one way that expressive violence can be encoded. Doughboy decides that he is going to pay back the group that killed Ricky. He finds the rival group at a drive in restaurant. A simple drive by will not satisfy Doughboy’s need for vengeance, so he stops the car and gets out and shoots all three members of the rival group at point blank range. It is only then that he is satisfied. Doughboy doe not consider killing as a crime. Instead he justifies the use of violence to correct the death of Ricky. The violence that takes place in the film Boyz N the Hood is depicted as justified within the story of the film because it solves a problem. The rival groups have a problem with one another; therefore, the use of violence is used to solve the conflict.

In the film, Boyz N the Hood, both the perpetrators and the receivers are young black men who are caught in poverty and violence of a ghetto subculture. The young men are drawn into gangs and drugs, not necessarily because of their choosing, but because of their environment.

Violence is all around us in today’s society. It is an integral part of our real and fantasy worlds. Moviegoers have been exposed to violence for quite some time. Even in the times of black and white movies, violence already played a major part. Violence is a crucial tool for moviemakers, because violence is a moneymaker. An example of a movie that uses violence to tell the story is Boyz N the Hood. The movie has a violent scene about every ten seconds. The writer has been acknowledged for accurately portraying the real life of gang and drug infested subculture of young black males in South Central Los Angeles through use of expressive and explosive violence. The storyline may be accurate, however, some scenes are overtaken by excessively graphic imageries of violence.

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