“Menace II Society” (1993)

“America’s Nightmare. Young, Black and didn’t give a fuck.”

A certified underground classic of the 90s, “Menace II Society” was critically acclaimed and slammed at the same time for it’s raw take on inner city life in Watts. There’s absolutely no glorification here whatsoever, and many of the events that took place in the film were based on real-life stories of the neighbourhood the film takes place in.

This urban nightmare chronicles several days in the life of Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner), following his high-school graduation, as he attempts to escape his violent surroundings but is constantly dragged back, thanks to gang problems, poverty, unsavoury family members and reckless friends, most of all his psychotic best friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate).

Honestly unrelenting in it’s mission to show a true portrayal of how difficult it is to escape an institution that even your parents are a part of, “Menace II Society” contains some incredible acting from a young group of teens who weren’t too far away from the world they were portraying, and some frighteningly realistic depictions of life in a nightmare that really did, and still does, exist.