My friends have been hounding me to watch and review Baby Boy for some time, so I’m finally getting around to it. They told me “It teaches you about women,” and since I’ve been single for the past four months, I figure I need all the pointers I can get. I’ve seen the other big John Singleton movie (Boyz n tha Hood) so I think I know what to expect: a lot of not-so-subtle preaching, some pseudo-intellectual analysis of men growing up in Black America, and raging daddy issues. I would also normally say a lot of swearing and nudity, but I DVR’d this off BET so that will all be edited out.
What follows is a running diary of my Baby Boy experience. Keep in mind that it is 3 hours because of the commercials, and actually was longer than that as I paused it to type up my comments. Tonight, I am drinking Scotch: Glenmorangie single malt, ten years aged. Let’s hope it makes me creative and not just sleepy.
0:00 - The choice to make the opening shot Tyrese (aka Baby Boy) in the womb floating in placental fluid with an umbilical cord still attached is THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF SUBTLE. I get what Singleton is trying to do, but there are better ways of doing it. The only thing seeing Baby Boy in a fleshy clam shell all tatted up makes me think of is some crazy tattoo artist with his hands up mama’s cooter drawing Chinese characters on an unborn fetus. Off to a bad start; I’ve only had half a glass of Scotch and already I’m thinking these things.
0:07 - Oh shit Mama’s banging Marcellus Wallace?! I have a feeling Marcellus is gonna teach Baby Boy how to be a man, and likely beat the shit out of him at some point. I just got way more excited to see this. I love Ving Rhames, especially when he has a 187 tat on his left bicep.
0:14 – It’s literally the next scene, but BET has a lot of commercials so it’s seven minutes later. Just wanted to point out that most people know Omar Gooding as Cuba’s little brother, but I will always remember him as the leader of the orange team on Wild N Crazy Kids. My favorite ep was the snow one, which inspired me to recreate the inner tube whip lash into more inner tubes at my cabin in third grade. I wonder what happened to Donnie Jeffcoat?
0:15 – The words do not match up with the mouths at all. I’m pretty sure they edited out about ten n-words already, which is fine but the dubbing is pretty distracting. I think they have a Puerto Rican woman dubbing Yvette’s voice. By the way, listening to 2Pac will give you nightmares, apparently.
0:20 – I just yelled with glee seeing Ving Rhames in his going out clothes. When I dress like that, my friends make fun of me. They probably wouldn’t if I had gone to prison. Damn he looks good:
0:29 – Okay every line of dialog in this movie is advice. I’m learning so much about commerce “this world moves forward through transactions,” salesmanship “you buy from a shyster, you feel like you got took. You buy from a good salesman and you feel lucky” and Zen Buddhism “Today I begin a new life. I am the master of my abilities... and today will be a great and beautiful day.” I can’t wait to learn about women. Hope I’m not too drunk by then *Refill no. 1*. Also, I want to buy clothes from Tyrese.
0:38 – It’s pretty funny hearing them talk about setting up the VCR and timer to record shows. I remember doing that as recently season 2 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2006). That shit cray. I don’t like Ving Rhames acting like African Americans invented the barter system, though. It was totally the Mesopotamians.
0:51 – I let a lot of the stuff go to this point but listening to Ving Rhames butcher the guns vs. butter economic theory is terrible. Guns vs. butter is supposed to be about a nation’s choice to spend its resources on national defense or consumer goods, not a person’s personal investment in tangibles vs. consumables. Guns nations are North Korea, Pakistan, and Nazi Germany. Butter nations are Japan, Switzerland, and Renaissance Italy. Where would you want to live? I’m pretty sure Singleton got that question wrong on his Econ 101 midterm. Okay, I’m off my soapbox.
0:54 – Whoa. BET edited out three quarters of this fight/sex scene between Yvette and Baby Boy. I’ve actually seen that part, and I love it when they have sex and Baby Boy tells her to make tacos afterward. I wish I could have recorded this off of Black Starz! instead. Sad face. I hope this editing doesn’t compromise my education. I need to learn about women damn it! *Refill no. 2.*
1:17 – Ah, there’s the Marcellus Wallace I’ve been waiting for! Baby Boy pops his mouth off and Ving Rhames puts him in a headlock and basically makes Baby Boy wet his pants. At this point, I’m seriously thinking about naming my first son Ving Savage.
1:24 – This was awesome:
1:25 – Baby Boy loves his Mexican food. I’ve never gotten a milkshake with a burrito, but now I want to. *Refill no. 3.*
1:35 – I’m pretty drunk at this point, but this flash forward scene makes zero sense to me. Let me get it straight: Yvette goes crazy, accuses Baby Boy of something he didn’t do, punches him multiple times, then he reflex slaps her, immediately regrets it, apologizes fifty times as she’s hysterically crying, carries her to bed, starts to go down on her, and all the while Yvette is seeing all these different versions of the future culminating in a dream where Baby Boy gets shot and killed by Calvin Broadus? All I got out of that is “that bitch cray.” I’m starting to think I’ll never learn about women.
1:37 – “One of the Mexicans stole your car.” Well if I had a nickel for every time I heard that in the Pasco High hallways…Also, if Baby Boy rode that sweet ass bike all the time he’d be the coolest hipster in Portland.
1:46 – Finally some good advice about women. Mama: “You have got to stop telling these girls you want them to have your baby while y’all are doing it. Because they believe in your lying eyes.” Duly noted.
1:51 – I can’t take this “make these little crips line-up and punch them because they stole my bike and Alize” scene. I’ve seen too many episodes of the Wire to know shit does NOT work like that in the ‘hood. I need to switch to beer before I black out. *drink no. 4 – beer no. 1.*
2:01 – More good advice about women: always play Marvin Gaye. But I already knew that. Srsly, my first born = Ving Rhames Savage.
2:13 – I may just be drunk, but I’m pretty sure if you put fertilizer on any patch of bare soil in California, a pot plant would grow, so I have no idea why Mama is tripping. And Ving Rhames kisses like a fucking creep. And they really shouldn’t be smoking indoors with all the kids that are just popping up everywhere. I can’t believe I’m only 2/3 through this movie. *drink no. 5, beer no. 2*. I really think that Baby Boy and Mama have a Jimmy/Gillian relationship like on Boardwalk Empire #gross.
2:21 – Just bought “I’d Rather Fuck You” on iTunes. I’m definitely too drunk to be a productive critic right now. This song is so dope. It’s a little disconcerting knowing that Eazy-E had AIDS while rapping this though. Now I’m rambling. It’s Snoop’s fault.
2:31 – John Singleton is not a very good feminist writer/director. He’s basically saying Baby Boy is a good man because he doesn’t try to rape or steal from Yvette, and he only hit her once. And he only cheats on her every once and a while, and never with someone she works with. And he only has one other kid. I really don’t get it. Maybe if I looked like Tyrese that’d be enough. Fuck this depressing movie.
2:32 – SNOOP’S HAIR IS OUTTA CONTROL.
2:32 – Haha Baby Boy and Orange Team Omar are Tebowing!
2:35 – Oh shit Baby Boy got shot! And he had a full ride to USC on the table! Wait, maybe that’s the other John Singleton movie… *drink no. 6, beer no. 3* Wait a fucking second. Did he not get shot? Confused. Rewinding…well apparently he’s okay. I’ve had too much to drink, but Singleton’s terrible directing didn’t help. What was that scene? You don’t play the “psyche” game in a major motion picture.
2:43 – EVERY PERSON IN THIS MOVIE IS A TERRIBLE SHOT. See, a white person just would have called the cops and told them what happened and Snoop would have gotten his third strike and gone to jail for life. Baby Boy doesn’t know how to negotiate the system, so he guns down Snoop with Orange Team Omar. Now he’s in trouble.
2:44 – HE TOOK THE GUN HOME?! When you shoot someone, and that person dies, you THROW YOUR GUN AWAY. Baby Boy clearly needs to watch the Wire. I’m almost out on this movie. *drink no. 7, beer no. 4. Srsly?!* At least Ving Rhames knows what’s up, wiping down those prints.
2:55 – Well it looks like everything turned out okay. Because that’s what ALWAYS happens in the ‘hood. Child please.
3:00 – Well it looks like Baby Boy did actually teach me some things. 1) Wear a condom. 2) Make sure you get baptized after you shoot someone in the face five times in the middle of the street. 3) Don’t light a woman’s candles without her permission and then try to rape her. 4) Try a strawberry milkshake to complement your burrito next time. 5) Tune into “The Game” on BET Tuesday nights at 10/9C.
I didn’t learn a whole lot about women, but it was a fun night trying. Remember, “Mama gotta have a life too!” Peace.