Judged by the wrong standards: Poetic Justice vs Boyz N the Hood
Before Singleton even released his second movie, he got a word of warning from fellow director, Spike Lee:
“The same people who said you were the second coming of Orson Welles will now say, ‘What happened?’ They’ll feel it’s their duty to ‘knock you down a peg.”
Sometimes Spike is a little off base with his opinions but he was spot on with this one. Riding off the success of Boyz N the Hood it was only natural that reporters and fans alike would compare the two films. While some critics were able to appreciate the differences, others thought Poetic Justice fell short.
Leonard Klady of Variety magazine thought that the films use of language would be too foreign for audiences unfamiliar with that environment.
Though aiming to create a feel for the locale, Singleton periodically loses sight of audiences unfamiliar with the colorful lingo. That flaw will be a major stumbling block toward wide appeal, and overseas prospects seem particularly remote.
Roger Ebert, who’s far more recognized and respected, felt a bit more positively about the film. He didn’t like Poetic Justice as much as Boyz but he could appreciate the complexities of the more romantic side of the street life.
Yes, things are hard. But they aren’t impossible. Sometimes they’re wonderful. And sometimes you can find someone to share them with.
Ladies and gentleman, Roger gets it.
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