If I ever happen to become a person of particular note, and people find my existence on this earth to be truly worthy of documentation - the chapter detailing my Senior Year of High School will be entitled “Bullies, Virginity, and New Jack City”. The Bully part of the equation refers to a man-child of a 17 year old who knew that I couldn’t fight him for fear of being kicked off the track team. So because of this he made untoward advances at my girlfriend and publicly questioned my hetero-street cred for not doing anything about it. Let’s just say that I paid him back in kind by riverdancing on his skull him in front a few curious onlooking classmates after school. Even though I technically lost my virginity during my freshman year, I only feel comfortable counting the coitus that I was a part of during my senior year - primarily because it was the only sex that where the words “Um, that’s not it honey.” weren’t uttered. That explains the “Virginity” Part. But what happened during March of my final year of Physical education classes, stuffing books inside of a locker, and having my blackness questioned solely because I owned a skateboard really made 1991 one for the record books - and that was the release of a little movie called “New Jack City”.
Of course I loved “New Jack City” like most people. I mean, you can’t beat a flick chocked full of quotables and random acts of violence - lets just say that I have a history of saying “Rock-a-bye baby” and “In Broad Daylight” at some truly inappropriate moments But more than 20 years later, either due to the rigors of life heightening my cynicism or just an organic wisdom sullying my memory of a movie that I once adored, I now see “New Jack City” with a different pair of eyes. Here are a few problems that my 39 year old self has with a movie that my 17 year old self obviously overlooked.
Pookie undercover: To the makers of “New Jack City”: I know you made sure to show the audience that there was widespread skepticism throughout Stone’s(Mario Van Peebles) team over the decision to send Pookie in to infiltrate the Carter. You also made sure to imply that Pookie had been sending the CMB crew customers over a respectable period of time to gain their trust. That said, who in their right mind sends a crack fiend fresh out of rehab to a job where he’d be handling cocaine all goddamned day? The shit is not only ludicrous, it’s cruel man. I mean, did they edit out the part where Scotty and Peritti were taking bets to see how long Pookie would last? I know they were desperate to nail Nino Brown and all, but there had to be some other available route outside of sending a kind recovering drug addict to his death sentence. Give credit where credit is due, the white boy(Judd Nelson) got this one right.
Craziest whiteboys ever: My favorite Dave Chappelle quote is the one where he talks about that one white dude in the crew of black guys being the craziest motherfucker out of them all. He says, “There’s no telling what kind of crazy shit they’ve done to get them black dudes respect!” That said, there isn’t a white dude in existence that’s as crazy as Don Armeteo crew of goons. Ok, I get that Nino Brown has been taking over shit with reckless abandon and also cut Don Armeteo out of their agreed upon 10%. But expecting to survive after running up in Nino Brown’s New Years Eve party, only three men deep, with a lawn jockey with a noose around it’s neck? Sure, they all survived, with the only damage being the impromptu haircut of Frankie Needles thanks to Nino - but there should have been motherfucking murders that night. Shit, try that with me and I can’t guarantee that you’ll walk away from that incident - and I’ve never shot a school teacher, sold poison to my own people, stabbed Christopher Williams in the hand, or used a little girl as a human shield.
The Gang who couldn’t shoot straight: Speaking of using toddlers as human shields, the one thing that I noticed about that gun battle against Don Armeteo’s crew at the wedding was how terrible Nino Brown’s crew was at basic marksmanship. It wasn’t like they were using bow and arrows, they were equipped with Uzi’s and their targets were stationary white guys. My nearly 80 year old mother would have made sure that all of those Italian gentlemen took a rather untimely dirt nap.(And she probably would have screamed “Riverside Motherfucker!” afterwards. Ok, that’s a different overrated movie.) Sure, two of them got clipped as they drove off in the van but that’s pretty shoddy handywork when you have 4 shooters. Totally unacceptable. I guess when you’re running a successful drug distribution operation you don’t have time to go to the gun range.
“Too soon, don’t do, reconsider..”: Women have been man’s downfall from the beginning of time, or so I’ve been told, but the CMB being taken down by someone that G-Money only slept with once is quite the head-scratcher. Dear G-Money, nothing says your girl isn’t wife material like her claiming that you have “no papers” on her while she shamelessly flirts with your best friend in front of his wife. That’s some ratchet ass shit as the kids say nowadays. So, Nino Brown deciding to sleep with this caliber of lady is going to make G-Money both hit the pipe and make side deals without Nino’s knowledge? I can see doing something like for Jill Scott, or the woman who plays Michonne on “Walking Dead”, but not for “Uniqua”. Shit, the sound of her name alone should have shaken G-Money out of his momentary lapse of judgement.
You knew what you signed up for: The same way I’ll never understand all the friends that I’ve ever had who met a stripper at her job, starting dating her, then miraculously had serious problems with her choice of profession - I’ll never understand the wives of bad guys who suddenly take issue with how they went about making that almighty dollar. The scene after the wedding shootout where Nino’s wife screams “You’re a murderer Nino, I’ve seen you kill too many people!” always makes me giggle like a teenage girl meeting Justin Bieber. I mean, did she have a senseless killing limit? She was cool with knowing about 20 murders, but any more than that was a bridge too far? Get the fuck outta here.