You always know you’re watching a masterpiece of a film when the words “tha hood” are in the title. Who could forget the classic Citizen Kane 2: Sledding In Tha Hood, the gripping Schindler’s List 2: Liberated Jewz In Tha Hood, and the timeless Wizard of Oz In Tha Hood: Follow The Yellow Brick Glock. I think none of us could ever forget that memorable scene where Dorothy gets “sexed in” to the Lollipop Gang. It would appear that Jesus Christ himself is following this lead now and has decided to pay a visit to “Tha Hood” as well. Unfortunately, the movie has taken to the less creative title JC In Tha Hood rather than my more alliterative suggestion Ol’ Handholes in Harlem.
The movie begins with Jesus and Satan standing on a precipice overlooking the eponymous ‘hood with Jesus talking about how tired he is of Satan making everybody sin and Satan talking about how much he hates people who sin – which would make it seem like they’re on the same side but, to be fair, that’s a plothole that predates the movie by about 2,000 years.
The meat and potatoes of the movie is a series of vignettes showing people who have been “lost” to sin. One to gang violence, one to drugs, one to suicide, and another to prostitution.
Now this is where I’m going to get into some territory I’m dangerously underqualified to comment on, but am going to anyway. Now before we continue here I’m going to disclose something: I’m from New Hampshire. Around here black people are seen in the same light as unicorns or the chupacabra – we’re not fully convinced they exist because we’ve never seen them. So, with that out of the way, I’m about to say something I’m grossly unqualified to say: “I don’t believe this movie accurately portrays the lives of African-Americans in the ghettos.”
Hold on while I put on my eggshell-walking shoes. Yes, I know this movie was made by real-life black people and it’s a possibility that they, unlike me, may (I AM NOT MAKING ANY ASSUMPTIONS) have grown up in a real-life ghetto, and perhaps had their life touched by things like drug use or prostitution (OR MAYBE THEY CAME FROM A WEALTHY FAMILY OF SUCCESSFUL, ASTROPHYSICIST, CRIME-FIGHTER, ONCOLOGISTS) but it seems like things are a bit over the top in this movie. For example, I’m reasonably certain that when heroin addicts are shooting heroin they probably don’t lean forward and declare with carefree aplomb “I LOVE DRUGS” as they do in this movie.
My entire view of what life in “tha hood” is in 2012 would be basically what I saw in the Gin And Juice music video and the movie CB4 in the early 90s. This movie’s biggest problem is that it looks exactly like that and surely, SURELY, my perspective is comically outdated by now. Right?
Shaky authenticity aside, the story just doesn’t have anything to it. On drugs? Find Christ. Suicidal? Find Christ. Drug-addled hooker? Find Christ. People who are really big on Christ might dig it, but anybody who was going around shooting heroin, prostituting themselves, doing drive-by shootings and contemplating suicide without a thought to whether a deity of questionable origin approves of it will probably find themselves unmoved by the story, as it just rehashes the same old, same old. Bad for their message, but good for us here at CinemAIDS because the story is so threadbare you can’t help but laugh at nearly every scene.
Not only is the content short on value, but the movie itself is short on content, probably clocking in around a half hour or so. Now, O fact-checking, internet-savvy readers, you may be saying “Not so! I see here on IMDB it’s 76 minutes long.” Technically that’s right, but it doesn’t take into account the Director’s unique take on editing flashbacks. You see, usually, if a flashback to an earlier point in the movie is required the director would just show you the important parts. An inexperienced director may let it run on a little longer than necessary, maybe show an entire short scene when a few lines would have done. This film’s director does neither. Instead he decides to walk a less-often walked path and he shows you THE ENTIRE FUCKING MOVIE ALL OVER AGAIN. You will see just about every scene in the movie, sometimes with slight changes, mostly with no changes at all, up to three or four times each. The middle portion of the movie is nothing but an unending torrent of flashback upon flashback upon flashback – it’s like Inception for people with unfathomably poor short-term memory.
The movie may be Christ-like in its mercy, clocking in at just barely over an hour and about three minutes if you decide to fast-forward through the flashbacks, but with its comically thin plotline and hilariously naive view of the world, it still feels like a little slice of cinematic hell.
Shot on video, cheeseball special effects, awful acting/dialog.
Satan is a black man wearing George Burns’s suit from Oh God, You Devil.
Well, that JC Doesn’t stand for Joan Collins, after all.