Professor Brizz | Interlochen, MI | 05/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply some of the most powerful footage and commentary on race in America I've ever seen. Powerful Powerful stuff. Something every American should sit down and pay very close attention to. The section on the Watts Riots gave me chills....just incredibly well done. The explication of the economic foundation of LA's ghettoization is succinct and 100% on target. The way the film traces the roots of today's problems so clearly to Slavery, Jim Crow, and the marginalization of the American black in the most prosperous period after WWII is pitch perfect. It's hard to comprehend how someone can grow up in LA and never have seen the Pacific Ocean...but that insular world of crips and bloods is an epidemic America is going to have to confront sooner or later.
Buy this dvd and watch this film..."
An Eye Opener - Thank You Stacey Peralta!
Jim M. Van Cise | Mentor, Ohio USA | 08/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was skeptical. What does a blonde (now grey) former professional skateboarder (now film maker) from the other side of town know about gang wars in LA? And then there's me: a white guy from the suburbs in Ohio who was raised by a gun collector who is still pretty open about his use of the"N" word. When I hear about gang violence: I just shrug: "It's probably a fight over something stupid." Still, this film remained in my queue and wasn't working its way up very quickly.
I elevated this movie to #1 when Michael Vick was signed by the Eagles. In one week: I heard two accounts from completely different lifestyles: Prissy ESPN sports talk show host Mike Greenberg declared that he had never heard of the subculture known as dog fighting until the Vick case made the news. Vick stated that dog fighting in his childhood neighborhood was so common that police would stop to see a fight and then drive away. Dog fighting was the norm. It was then when I knew I had to check out Peralta's newest movie as I'd loved the Dog Town and Z Boys documentary.
The first 25-30 minutes of the movie covers pre-1970 race riots in LA and other cities. How invisible lines created "hoods" by police who would commonly question straying pedestrians about "why don't you go back to your neighborhood?" Then abruptly, the movie takes a sharp turn when vocal black leaders like MLK, Malcom X and others are thrown in jail or murdered. Suddenly, all the icons were gone. Think of the Living Colour song: Cult of Personality - "When that leader speaks, that leader dies."
For the rest of the movie I was hooked. I couldn't grasp what was happening. The Crips and Bloods seemed to come out of nowhere. Peralta seemed to have skipped something important. But he didn't. I didn't understand how there were suddenly two gangs. I didn't understand why they were divided and bent on killing each other based on territories, red or blue bandanas, or other reasons.
Before the movie ended, I got it. Young black men without fathers, mentors or real leadership took a downward turn. Image, status and bravado became a common theme in neighborhoods where there is no hope. I will admit that I'm a Republican with strong beliefs that everybody should pull their weight and not rely on handouts. In a world where police often respond by use of strong force, there's little reason to NOT question authority. I have no solutions. The oppressed respond to violence, with violence.
Jim Brown has a couple of short appearances (he's not in the film enough in my opinion) and he is quoted by someone in the extras: "If the police have not resolved the problem in 40 years, they never will resolve the problem." It's about oppression, not the gangs themselves. Stacey says the an outtake that he wanted to make this movie because he didn't understand why there is no gang violence in suburban or upscale neighborhoods. Why are people arming themselves and having gun battles with former childhood friends in impoverished communities?
This movie is a must see for anyone even mildly afraid to drive thru certain neighborhoods or better yet, the generation of kids from the suburbs who were raised on hip hop, MTV and anything that glorified the gangsta lifestyle. In the extras, Snoop Dog and Lil Wayne each give a heartfelt, unscripted point of view that really was impressive."
It's NOT just a gang thing
Adam Selene | outside Los Angeles | 05/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I lived my entire life in the Greater Los Angeles area, and NEVER was I even aware of what was going on thirty miles away. The incredible power of this film makes it an absolute Must Watch -- especially for us "ignorant white folks" who see South Central as just a gang problem."
B. Connor | 07/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tears cascade down the faces of family members holding pictures of loved ones murdered by gangs in the streets of their communities. Los Angeles, California has a history of destructive social unrest beginning in the early 1940's that created the environment from which, two of the world's most notorious street gangs, the Crips and the Bloods was born. Crips and Bloods: Made in America is a hard-hitting emotional documentary that is gripping and compelling. Debuting as an Original Selection at the Sundance film festival in 2007, this film has been regarded as one of the best documentaries created in years.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America is Directed by Stacey Peralta and Narrated by Emmy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker. Produced for DVD release by Ducudrama Films in 2009, this unrated documentary is a comprehensive and emotional film that keeps on giving. This film is a historical chronicle on the development of the Crips and Bloods street gangs.
The plot of the movie is to identify the causative factors of gang activity and offers solutions to the problem using history and individuals involved in gang activity. University professors, interventionists, active gang members and community leaders discuss gang life and its impacts on individuals, families and society as a whole during in-depth personal interviews. Historical events are presented in a storytelling format supported by newspaper articles and graphic video footage. The interviews and stories are intermixed throughout the film resulting in a complete work on Crips and Bloods that leaves no topic untouched.
I think that the personal nature of the interviews coupled with the historical backdrop is one of the most interesting features of Crips and Bloods: Made in America. The viewer gets a sense of realness and humanity from the interviewees. Ex-gang members reflect on their past and discuss how and why they changed their ways. Active gang members show frustration and a desire for their lives to be different. One of the most emotional parts of the film is the interviews of family members who have been killed in gang violence. They share the stories of their loved ones and exhibit deep sorrow while explaining different coping mechanisms they use to get by on a daily basis. The way in which the interviews are presented can have the viewer heartily laughing or shedding tears.
I highly recommend this movie. Anyone interested in gangs would enjoy this movie. Law Enforcement could gain benefit from the movie in training sessions as it gives historical perspective and shows gang members as being human beings with feelings. Educators from junior high school through college could use this film for classes ranging from gang prevention/intervention to American history to Administration of Justice. Families should share this movie with their children at an age them deem appropriate as a parenting tool.
There is usage of graphic language and images of violence that some viewers may find objectionable. I think that the movie presents all of that in context and to omit such would defeat the purpose of the move and detract from the overall message. A unique feature of this project is that it is ongoing and viewers are encouraged and shown how that they can get involved in its efforts. I give Crips and Bloods: Made in America five out of five stars.