They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Menace II Society 30th Anniversary cover art for episode 51 of the They Reminisce Over You Podcast

May 19, 2023

Episode 51: What You Say About My Mama? Menace II Society

Episode Summary

This week we are discussing the debut film from The Hughes Brothers, Menace II Society. We briefly mentioned the movie in our Larenz Tate episode (also named What You Say About My Mama?), so we decided to drop our thoughts on the cast, our favorite scenes, and whether or not it holds up today. May 26th will mark the 30th anniversary of its release in 1993, so why not take a look back at one of our faves.


Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods or Podchaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.

Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.

Christina: And to move up on the charts as well. So help us get the word out.

Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We’re @troypodcast on the ‘gram and the bird . Also check out our website, It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.

Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?

Miguel: Let's do it.

[theme music]

Christina: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. We're back from a small hiatus.

Miguel: Yeah, we had to go do some stuff.

Christina: Do some stuff. But in case you didn't know, I'm Christina.

Miguel: And I'm Miguel. This episode we're gonna be talking about the debut film from directors Allen and Albert Hughes Menace II Society. It was released May 26th, 1993, so that means one week from today, we're looking at the 30th anniversary of the debut of this film.

Christina: See, that math ain’t math-ing? I mean, it is, but it doesn't feel like 30 years. It feels more like 20.

Miguel: It doesn't, I was just about to graduate high school, so I was probably going to two classes a day and hanging out in the gym for the rest of the days, 'cause I already had enough credits to graduate. And you were probably what, 7th, 8th grade at this point?

Christina: Yeah. That sounds about right. Should be 8th or as we say in Canada, Grade 8.

Miguel: Grade 8. So, 30 years. We're gonna talk about Menace II Society, one of our favorite films. So, you just wanna get into it?

Christina: Let's do it. “Wake your punk ass up!”

Miguel: That's how you just wanna start it?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: A little MC Eiht action. So, we spoke about this multiple times, and this came out at a point in time where black culture and entertainment was starting to gain a lot of ground in a big way. So, you had like, The Cosby Show, Oprah, BET was starting to blow up. Michael Jackson was the biggest, not even artist in the world, but person in the world.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Sports figures like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: Hip hop is starting to become a major part of entertainment as well, and it seemed like studio execs were like, you know what? Maybe we can tell these stories that Black people have been asking us for, rather than giving us these white savior stories like Webster or Diff’rent Strokes and stuff like that.

Christina: Yeah. Like, many of these TV shows or movies, you had to incorporate white characters, 'cause the thought was, if it was an all Black cast, the quote unquote general public wouldn't be interested or couldn't relate.

Miguel: Yeah. So, those factors is what led to two 20 year olds and a 23 year old screenwriter getting a chance to make this movie. And what a movie it was.

Christina: What a movie it was.

Miguel: There were other movies, quote unquote “hood movies,” that were out around this time. So, you had New Jack City, Straight Out Of Brooklyn, South Central and South Central, the TV show as well. Juice, but most famously Boyz n the Hood. That was the big one.

Christina: That was, yes. The biggest one and the like highest grossing one at the time.

Miguel: Yeah, it was the highest grossing at the time. It's slightly different than this one because to me, at least, and I'll let you give your opinion in a second. The difference between that film and this one for me is this one you had nobody to root for. Like, at least—

Christina: Not Ronnie?

Miguel: Okay. Ronnie, she's probably the only character that you're rooting for.

Christina: Sharif?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Oh, the side--they were side-ish characters.

Miguel: Yeah, Sharif really wasn't involved enough for us to make like, uh, caring part of our feelings for him. Ronnie, I'll give you that one. But like with Boyz n the Hood, you had Ricky. He was about to get his scholarship to USC. He was gonna be this big time football star and he was pop, pop in the alley because he ran in a straight line and didn't zig-zag. That's another story for another day.

Christina: Even though he’s a football player.

Miguel: Yeah. But for this one, I feel that there's nobody to root for in this movie.

Christina: I think on, on first glance, or when you think of movies around this time, we tend to kind of put Boyz n the Hood and Menace II Society in the same category, myself included. I didn't really think about the differences that much until literally today. I was watching an interview with Allen Hughes on The Breakfast Club[1], and he was saying that he was actually not inspired by Boyz n the Hood at all, because he thought it was a little more “positive.”

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And I was like, positive, but Ricky died. But then, I thought about it and he was talking about it a little bit more, and he said he was actually inspired by, um, American Me with Edward James Almos, this Mexican mafia movie. He said he actually wanted to be a little more gritty. And now that I think about it, I'm like, it's true because as you're saying, you're rooting for Ricky and it's kind of a story about these kids like, quote unquote, wanna get out of the hood or they wanna like, improve their lives. Whereas Menace, I mean by the end, Caine kind of wanted… like, even then he was like, what's the difference with going to Atlanta, right?

Miguel: Yeah. He was still hesitant.

Christina: Yeah, and O-Dog was O-Dog. I mean, Stacy was leaving 'cause he had a football scholarship—

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But it wasn't as like, uh, I guess there wasn't really a message of like, “increase the peace.”[2] Like they did at the end of Boyz n the Hood, right? It was just like, all right, this is…

Miguel: This is what's going on.

Christina: Yeah. This is what's going on. And this isn't meant to be some kind of heartwarming story. Like, this is just how it is for some folks.

Miguel: Right. Because it had similar themes. Like you said, Stacy was going to college with his football scholarship and in Boyz n the Hood, practically all of 'em were going to college. So Tre, Ricky, Nia Long's character, whose name I can't remember.

Christina: I forgot her name too.

Miguel: Like, Doughboy and his friends were the only ones who weren't.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And they were trying to push Ricky towards that. Whereas with this movie, Stacy's the only one who is, and everybody else is just kind of stuck in the projects.

Christina: Yeah, because even, even Doughboy's character, even though he was…wasn't going to college or anything, he kind of knew that Ricky had to go.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And he felt bad about, well, obviously his brother getting killed, but he felt bad at the situation. And even though he and his friends engaged in violence, it was, it felt more necessary for them, whereas like, O-Dog is like, I don't give a fuck.

Miguel: Right. He's just Tasmanian Devil, basically.

Christina: Yeah. Like it wasn't necessary.

Miguel: Yeah. And you see that from literally the opening frame of the movie.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like, it's a black screen and you hear O-Dog and Caine talking as they're walking into the store.[3] You see the New Line Cinema logo pop up on the screen. They're yelling at somebody who's asking for change out front, and then you're right in the middle of the action. Like, the most pivotal scene that happens in the movie is at the very beginning.

Christina: Yep. Which sets the tone for the rest of the summer.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: And, you know, yes, they were being racially profiled.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, they were, rightfully upset. However, again…

Miguel: It wasn't justified what they did.

Christina: No.

Miguel: Wasn't just—well, what O-Dog did.

Christina: What O-Dog did was not justified, and that's where you're like, oh, this is different.

Miguel: Yeah, because Caine was trying to diffuse the situation on both sides. He was just trying to pay for the stuff.

Christina: And go.

Miguel: They get out of there, leave these store owners alone. They don't have to get yelled at anymore. And then ol’ boy had to say, “I feel sorry for your mother.”

Christina: “I feel sorry for your mother.”

Miguel: He had to make that one slick ass comment.

Christina: And…

Miguel: It was a wrap.

Christina: Yep. And that was the excuse that O-Dog needed.

Miguel: Yeah. It could have been anything.

Christina: It could have been. But that was like, excuse me, what?

Miguel: Yeah,'cause when they were in there, he said that every time he comes in there, they treat him like that.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, it was—

Christina: This ain’t new.

Miguel: Yeah, it wasn't new, so he didn't have to do this. But as soon as you brought his mother into it, that's when he snapped.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And that's basically what the entire movie is about. The perception of disrespect, whether it was purposely disrespectful or just a passing comment. Because you see, when Caine is a kid, same thing happens with his father at the card game.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like he didn't have to kill this guy, but he did it because he felt disrespected.

Christina: Exactly. But now, his house is bloody.

Miguel: I don't think he was concerned about getting blood out of the carpet.

Christina: I’m like, okay, so now what are you gonna do?

Miguel: He had somebody come in and clean the shit up

Christina: Now you have to dispose of this body. Your wife has puked all over the place. You got this dead man…party’s over.

Miguel: With witnesses.

Christina: With witnesses, many witnesses.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Including his young child.

Miguel: He was not concerned about what was gonna happen with him shooting this man dead at this table.

Christina: Meanwhile, baby Caine is still young enough to be wearing pajamas with the footies.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I think that this movie, they tried to give a fuller picture, I guess, of how did we get here? Rather than like, okay, this is the hood and there are a lot of people trying to get out and be better and “increase the peace.” This was just like, there's some problems going on here.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And we just wanna show you.

Miguel: These are the reasons for it. And make your own decisions.

Christina: We’re not saying it’s justified, but we're saying there are reasons why it is the way it is. And also, I mean, they tied in the Watts riots of the '60s and saying like, this has been happening.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And here we are—

Miguel: These are the results of the decisions that happened—

Christina: Right. Like, 30 years later now we got more riots. Although I think this was filmed before the 90…what was…

Miguel: This was filmed after.

Christina: After, okay.

Miguel: Yeah, because that was ’92. This came out in ’93.

Christina: Okay. ‘Cause I wasn't sure if it was filmed before, ‘cause I knew it came out after. ‘Cause I, I read a bunch of stuff and watched a bunch of interviews. I think Allen or one of the brothers said that they asked them to try to incorporate some of the, the Rodney King stuff or the, riot stuff.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But he was like, nah.

Miguel: That’s right, I did see that. Where they wanted him to—

Christina: Maybe they were filming like, around the same time.

Miguel: Yeah, because they did want him to add or them to add that kind of content to say, ooh, this is the reason that this is going on, it’s because of the Rodney King stuff. And they're like, no, it's been happening.

Christina: Another little tidbit I saw on the IMDb trivia, and I don't know how, true this trivia is 'cause it's unverified. Like, there's no footnotes or anything.

Miguel: It seems believable though.

Christina: Yeah. But the first scene with the, the robbery that apparently they were supposed to cut to Caine looking over and seeing their child playing with the toy.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But the, the child actor was so engrossed in playing with the toy.

Miguel: That—

Christina: That they end up cutting the scene.

Miguel: Yeah, I could see that though. I could see that him looking down at a kid and thinking about him, seeing a shooting as a kid and just tying all that stuff together.

Christina: And now he's like, now I'm a part of this.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: For some other kid's life.

Miguel: Exactly. So, as a 14 year old in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Now, first of all, did you see it when it came out, or was it a little bit later? Because I don't want to pin you down as a 14 year old if you saw it at 16.

Christina: I definitely saw it not in the theater, but should have been close to the time it came out. Because a lot of these movies weren't showing in the movie theaters in my town.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So, I'm gonna say this likely didn't show um…

Miguel: Yeah, I don't think this one would've made it to Abbotsford.

Christina: Yeah, no.

Miguel: I've been to Abbotsford. I don't think that's a Menace II Society town. In 1993?

Christina: Yeah, you've been to the Abbotsford of now.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Which is different from the Abbotsford of 1993.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: However, you know, I had access to some, some bootleg stuff.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And I've realized all this time I've been watching the director's cut, which is more violent.

Miguel: That is funny.

Christina: So, I don't know exactly when to watched it, but it should have been pretty, pretty close to the release date.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, I was definitely, you know, 14, 15. And I can't say that I think that much different of it now. I think just as an adult I process it differently.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Just like, um, when we were watching the OJ documentary[4] and they were talking about the Rodney King beating and how I was saying I didn't remember the video being as brutal as it was, from my memory as a kid, and I think that's kind of how I feel about the movie now, is that I didn't realize a) I mean I knew they were young 'cause like Caine had just finished high school.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And O-Dog is younger than him. We don't know exactly how old he is, but we just know he's a little younger.

Miguel: I read an article from the screenwriter Tyger Williams, and he said that O-Dog was supposed to be about 15.

Christina: Yeah, I saw that too. But in the movie, they don't make it clear.

Miguel: They never specifically say it.

Christina: They just say he's a minor.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, we know he's a little bit younger. So, again, we talk about this all the time too, when we're about the same age, obviously we don't realize how young they are because they're sort of the same age as us.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, I think now things like that, as an adult, it's like, damn, these are supposed to be like, children basically, like, this is supposed to be, you know, summer vacation from school.

Miguel: Exactly. Oh, what a summer it was.

Christina: Oh, what a summer it was. And so I think just processing the themes as an adult feels a little different than when you're watching it as a kid. But I don't think I have any different feelings about the movie, if that makes any sense.

Miguel: It does, it does. For me, I was a little bit older than you. And also I see it every day because I'm from Los Angeles. So, I know, well, I obviously don't know these specific characters. But I know of a Caine or an O-Dog 'cause I went to school with these people. I saw them in my neighborhood. So, it was realistic in that sense.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And looking at it as a 17 year old who is about to leave high school the same way Caine was, it made a lot of sense.

Christina: Did you feel like, I don't know if this makes, I feel seen, like did you feel…because you know, of these people, you weren't necessarily involved in some of things.

Miguel: Yeah—

Christina: But did you feel like, did it feel… good? Even though it was not necessarily a positive story, but it—

Miguel: I wouldn't say it felt good, but it was good to have another vehicle on the scene to say Black people are on tv, or Black people are in movies. And it's just not Kindergarten Cop.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Or, Terminator film, it was something that was like, hey, Black people exist. And we have stories as well, even though this is a very violent story. But like I said, I could relate to it because I quote unquote knew these people.

Christina: Well, I think that they did a good job of humanizing the characters or just showing how good and bad isn’t… you don't have to be either or. Like, even though we were saying how you don't really have characters to root for, you, I mean, you kind of do like as much as Caine did, I wanted him to leave and go to Atlanta with Ronnie.

Miguel: Yeah. Yeah. I, I get that part, but, but what I meant was, and this is gonna lead into my next question.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Is he wasn't a good person, but he was trying to change.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And become a better person. But I didn't think that he was a particularly good person.

Christina: I didn't think he would change once he got to Atlanta, though.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I was just hoping that he might be able to change.

Miguel: Yeah because you could see he wasn't really committed—

Christina: Right.

Miguel: To changing because you had Sharif's dad talking to him about moving to Kansas. He wasn't trying to hear that shit.

Christina: And he still had that temper.

Miguel: Yeah. Ronnie was trying to get him to move to Atlanta. He didn't want to hear none of that, even though he would've had a fantastic time in Atlanta as a dude from Los Angeles. Moving to Atlanta in 1993? Aw man, that would've been amazing for him. He would've left Ronnie as soon as they got there.

But, like I was saying, I didn't think he was a very good person to begin with. He is framed as what you think a good person should be, just based on him being a little kid and watching his dad kill somebody. And being 17 years old, 18 years old, and seeing his friend kill the people at the store. He didn't do the killings, but he was placed in that situation and it didn't seem fair. But at the same time, he's out jacking cars.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: He's...

Christina: Selling crack.

Miguel: He's selling crack and weed. He's getting revenge on his cousin Harold getting killed.

Christina: And Ilena's cousin. Whooped his ass.

Miguel: Yeah. So, he pistol whipped Chauncey.

Christina: Oh yes, he pistol whipped Chauncey. All he had to do was like, all right, Chauncey cool it.

Miguel: Right. There's a lot of things that he did that weren't particularly good.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Even though he's supposed to be the guy that you root for.

Christina: Yeah, I think they wanted to show that it was still in him though, because, he took—helped to take care of Ronnie's son.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And even O-Dog too, when they were around, his grandparents and Sharif's dad, they were just like, “Oh, hello sir.”

Miguel: They're, they're, all polite.

Christina: They're, all polite. They try not to curse. They're hiding the weed. So, there's still, I think that kind of shows that there's still like maybe something in them.

Miguel: Yeah. They, they have humanity. They're not just complete monsters.

Christina: They care about their friends. They may not care about their enemies but they care about their friends.

Miguel: They don't care about the other side, but, they care about their people.

Christina: Deeply about their friends because at the end, like, O-Dog’s basically crying. He's so choked up and shocked that like, Stacy's like, “go and get help!” And he's just standing there like, uhhh.

Miguel: And that just shows how young he is too.

Christina: Right. ‘Cause he's literally a child still. There was something I wanted to say. This is completely off topic, but just when you were bringing up Caine, doing the carjacking. I don't know if you noticed this, I think I may have said this to you when we watched it last, but the guy that he's robbing, he looks like the adult version of Ronnie's child [5]. They got like the same—

Miguel: That's funny.

Christina: Same haircut and they're all kind of like, the same tone. And it makes me chuckle every time. I'm like, Pernell is not that child's daddy. It's this guy.

Miguel: Oh man. So, yeah, it's just all those things that make me say that even though Caine is supposed to be the one we root for, he's just an asshole. He's an asshole. He has multiple opportunities not to do the things that he does but he still chooses to do them.

Christina: They show you like, the backstory of his life, as well as just the Watts riots from the '60s. So, they show a backstory of like, how the city came to be as well as his home family, so, they kind of give you an idea of like, maybe he could have been different under different circumstances. However, not everyone who grew up that way turned out that way.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Because, you know, Stacy doesn't do any of that. Ronnie, even though she was involved with Pernell, as far as we know, she didn't do any of that. And now she's like, a responsible mom trying to take care of her son.

Miguel: And something happened with Sharif to make him turn his life around.

Christina: So, we see that, yes, while there are reasons why certain folks end up this way, there's also people who don't have to go this way.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because, um, that LA Times article[6] that you sent me, that did a review of the movie. They said that Ronnie's character was unbelievable because she was too angelic, too nice, too perfect. And I was like, but he said to her, you act like you wasn't down. And she’s like, I have a child now.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So, she's not, we, we have a glimpse that maybe she's not perfect, but she's trying to be better now.

Miguel: And that’s kinda like I was talking about with movie execs, specifically white movie execs and TV execs around that time is they have this preconceived notion, of what they think Black people are like.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And if you don't fit what they think it's like, not believable.

Christina: Ah, here's the quote. "A bigger problem is the way the filmmakers sentimentalize Caine's struggle by working in a girlfriend, Ronnie, who pleads with him to go with her and her young son to Atlanta to start over. She's so angelic that she's unbelievable." I believe her character.

Miguel: Yeah. Because again, I knew the Caines and the O-Dogs. I knew the Ronnies too.

Christina: Yeah, and like—

Miguel: So, why couldn't that be believable? And that's just because white people don't know us.

Christina: And she literally said, “I have a son now.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, I mean, if that doesn't try to make you be better, like she has no girlfriends throughout this movie. All her friends is—

Miguel: Yes. Are these guys.

Christina: These guys. So, you gonna tell me that maybe she hasn't done a little dirt or she—

Miguel: I’m not saying she's done any drive-bys.

Christina: Yes, but she knows people who do them.

Miguel: She obviously knows the people who do them.

Christina: Pernell's in jail.

Miguel: Yeah. Her baby daddy's in jail. And he was basically running the set.

Christina: Right. And her new boyfriend is Caine.

Miguel: Yeah, his protege, so…

Christina: His protege. And she knows he ain't squeaky clean. She's friends with O-Dog.

Miguel: Chauncey, all of these people are her friends.

Christina: We don't see her with no girlfriends. Like we see girls at the parties, but we haven't seen her hanging out with any girl, so.

Miguel: Right. Yeah, I think that's just an outsider’s view, thinking that they know what—“I know black people!”[7]

Christina: Right. There's no way that there could be a nice girl who lives in this neighborhood.

Miguel: Right. That's crazy.

Christina: So, I think having characters like her and stuff too just shows that like, yeah, there's these guys who are involved in gangs and violence, whatever, but there are just regular people who just live here.

Miguel: Yeah. All right, so, for the next question I have for you, I think I know the answer to this question.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Now, this movie has a whole lot of memorable scenes, a whole lot of lines that we've been reciting for 30 years already.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: What is your favorite scene and why?

Christina: Well, I have so many, but I'm just gonna go with the one that I put down first.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And you probably know.

Miguel: I know what it is.

Christina: “Be back here around 10:30.”[8]

Miguel: Yes, I knew that's what you were gonna say.

Christina: You can't beat the “ten thuddy.” And then how he like, widens his eyes as he says it. Like, yes, that white dude who was getting him to steal cars was probably racist, but are you gonna tell me you're not gonna be scared of someone who says “ten thuddy” with their eyes wide open like that?

Miguel: Oh man.

Christina: Like, even if you're not racist, that's not a scary situation? Like, you telling him to come back here so you can do this little business arrangement, but you look at him like you're threatening him.

Miguel: And you know, he doesn't want to come back at “ten thuddy”.

Christina: He does not wanna come back at “ten thuddy” and yet you insist on it anyways.

Miguel: Yeah. Yeah. That scene was amazing and it's one of mine. And because I knew you were gonna choose it, I couldn't choose it.

Christina: You could.

Miguel: I could, but we gotta, you know, add some variety to the show, give some options.

Christina: I have other ones.

Miguel: Okay. What else you got?

Christina: When Ronnie / Jada spanks her son for playing with the gun with Caine and she spanks him and you hear the kid just, you hear a thud and that poor kid got that spanking for real cause he fell down. You hear a thud and then you see him get up and scamper away. I'm like, that poor kid. That just makes me laugh every time 'cause she's like, get your tail outta here or something like that. You hear a little [smack sound] thud.[9]

Miguel: Oh man. Well for me, since you've chosen those two, obviously I have to choose Bill Duke when he's interrogating Caine.

Christina: Well, yeah.

Miguel: “So, you dropped the bottle at 12:15? Yeah. Yeah, 12:15. You know you done fucked up, right? You know done fucked up?”[10] I love that.

Christina: Well, there's a lot of cheeseburger lines.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because—

Miguel: When he was jacking the car, he asked for a double cheeseburger.

Christina: “I said wit cheese!”[5:1]

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And the guy was like, “Uh, let me get a double burger and some fries.” He didn't ask for fries.

Miguel: He didn't, he was giving him some fries.

Christina: He asked for cheese.

Miguel: He's trying to make this a little more pleasant.

Christina: Yeah, he’s getting you some fries “I said with cheese!” So, there's that, and then there's of course, when O-Dog—

Miguel: The crackhead.

Christina: The crackhead and he's like, “y’all want hamburgers?”[11] And then, there was one more bur—oh, when the, the guys that killed Harold, they're arguing with the girl.

Miguel: Oh, when they were at the burger stand.

Christina: Yeah, trying to get some burgers and “take your big earring ass and get us something to eat.” So, they're just arguing with this girl over some cheeseburgers. And those were their last words.

Miguel: So, what you're saying is this movie should have been called Cheeseburgers II Society?

Christina: Maybe, because when I was like taking little notes, I'm like, why are there so many cheeseburger related memorable scenes and lines?

Miguel: That's funny.

Christina: Or are they trying to say that it's a food desert and all you can eat is cheeseburgers.

Miguel: I don't know if they thought that deeply into it. I'm not going to—

Christina: Cheeseburgers and forties.

Miguel: I'm not gonna say that's what they were going for.

Christina: Oh that. But they did have some nice ribs at the picnic, though. So, there is other food.

Miguel: Yes. So, what are your final thoughts on the movie?

Christina: Umm…

Miguel: Looking back at it after 30 years.

Christina: I think it held up surprisingly well in terms of, it doesn't really feel like an old movie. Maybe some of the clothes, clothing choices and the, the beepers. But it doesn't like, it doesn't feel old.

Miguel: Right

Christina: It definitely doesn't feel 30 years old. And it's unfortunate that some of the themes have held up.

Miguel: Yeah. Like, we shouldn't be dealing with a lot of the stuff that happens in this movie in 2023.

Christina: Right. Because first of all, you have the ‘60s Watts riot, which leads into like the ’93 LA riots, and it's like, at that time it's like, this shouldn't have happened 30 years later. And now here we are 30 years later and the police brutality is still going on and you know, a lot of these other themes are still going on and yeah.

Miguel: For me, the only issue I have with looking back at the movie now, and it has nothing to do with the movie itself, but that's just how, how the style of films and acting was at the time. The dialogue is a little stiff. And again, that's just how it was in 1993. These people weren't the, the greatest actors at the time because this was like, a lot of their first big roles.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Because this was Jada's first movie. Larenz's first movie. Tyrin Turner had done Michael Jordan's Playground and the Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation. So, they weren't having this long resume of stuff to work with anyway. But I think if we were to redo the movie with the same cast today, it would be a lot better because they've all gotten better at their craft.

Christina: I, I think maybe that is one thing that's changed watching it as an adult versus a child is there are some scenes that do feel a little stiff. But overall, I don't think it was, I don't think it's like enough for me to be like, ooh, this was a bad movie. You know what I mean?

Miguel: Yeah. I'm not gonna say it was bad.

Christina: But there's definitely some scenes where, um, like, the part where Caine is getting the girl's number, Ilena's number, and they're yelling at him from the park to like, leave her alone and blah, blah, blah. And he's like, he's telling them to stop.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And he's pointing at the piece of paper in his hand.[12] Like, “I’m getting her number” and I'm like, that doesn't feel totally believable. He's doing this right in front of the girl too.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Just little small things like that where it's like, that felt a little stiff. But I mean, it's not enough for me to like, cringe watching this.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like, oh, damn, this is a bad movie.

Miguel: Yeah. Going back and thinking about watching it ’93, I would give it 7 and a half, 8 outta 10. If it were to come out exactly as it was in 2023, I'd give it a 6.

Christina: Really?

Miguel: Like I said, because the acting was a little bit stiff, the dialogue was a little bit stiff, but it was for that time. I would give it a 6 if that exact same movie came out in 2023. But, if the movie was remade in 2023, I would give it a 9 because like I said before, those actors are a lot better.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And it would've come off a lot better. It probably would be the greatest movie of all time if they were to remake it today, with the same cast.

Christina: But see, now they can't make it—

Miguel: But they’re old now.

Christina:Yeah, 'cause they're old now. So like, Larenz is definitely not a 15, 16 year old anymore.

Miguel: He isn't. But at this point, he could be the triple OG. But knowing O-Dog as he is, O-Dog was dead within the next year.

Christina: Dead or 25 to life.

Miguel: Of this movie happening. So, I don't see a long life for O-Dog. So, there can't be a Menace II Society part two.

Christina: Well, Allen Hughes said that there was a time when, I guess like, the studio wanted a follow up to see O-Dog coming outta jail.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And they hadn't, they had entertained it for a bit, but it just didn't happen.

Miguel: Nah, I don’t see that. I don't see it.

Christina: Yeah, I don't know. It's hard to say what I would rate it because I think we, when you just discover these things in your teens and stuff, you just love it so much that it's just good. Whether it's actually good or not. You just, it’s like 10 stars.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: All around 10 out of 10.

Miguel: Yeah. The reason why I think it would be a much better film if it was done today is just looking at the stuff that the Hughes brothers have done and like, Tyger Williams, he was one of the producers on Snowfall and one of the writers of the last two seasons of Snowfall. So, it would've at least looked a lot better.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And just flowed a lot better. ‘Cause again, this was their first film. And they were just basically making the shit up as they went along.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, they would do a much better job at narrating the story or making the story move forward in a much easier flow, I think. And like I said, it would look a hell of a lot better.

Christina: Yeah, I see what you're saying.

Miguel: All right. So, do you have any recommendations of stuff from the Hughes brothers either working together or solo since they don't really work together anymore, that you want our listeners to check out?

Christina: Well, I was looking at their IMDb. So, there's some stuff that I haven't watched, so obviously I can't say.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: But Dear Mama, which is the newest thing, but that is only Allen Hughes working on that. Because it has a really good way of telling, kind of like Tupac's origin story.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And weaving in obviously stuff about his mom. That's why it's called Dear Mama. And you really see how he became who he is because of his mom.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And I think that's an interesting angle that we don’t—I don't think I've ever really seen, like we, I knew that his mom was a big force in his life, but usually when I see stuff about Tupac, it's just about him and all of this chaos of those last few years of his life. So, I would recommend that. I remember watching The Book of Eli and liking it.

Miguel: I thought it was good.

Christina:Yeah. So, I think I recommend that and also recommend it to myself to watch it again. And if you, you know, you just want something different to see their range. And I really like Dead Presidents. We talked about that when we did the Larenz Tate episode. So, I think that's worth checking out if you haven't seen it in a while, or you know, somehow you've never seen it.

Miguel: And if you haven't seen it, why haven't you seen it?

Christina: Uh, yeah, and I liked The Defiant Ones too. They do good with documentary type stuff.

Miguel: Yeah. I'm gonna throw a couple out there as well. The Good Lord Bird, which came out two years ago, three years ago, maybe.

Christina: Something like that.

Miguel: Albert did that one.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: He was the executive producer on that, did a couple episodes as well. So, that one was pretty good. Something that's random as hell. Uh, their third movie is called From Hell.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: With Johnny Depp. And you wouldn't imagine that the guys who did Menace II Society is doing a period piece about Jack the Ripper.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, it was, uh, I thought it was pretty good. Reviews were kind of 50/50. It was split, but I liked it, so I think people should check that out as well.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: You already said The Defiant Ones. So, if you like Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, that one's for you. And yeah, that's pretty much it.

Christina: I would've loved to see the movies that the Hughes brothers were making when they were 12, when they just started, you know, let's make movies because in The Breakfast Club interview he said they made one called Compton Vice.

Miguel: Okay. Supposed to be like Miami Vice.

Christina: Which was mirrored after Miami Vice. Yes.

Miguel: Uh, do you have anything else you want to add before we get out of here?

Christina: You were supposed to stop asking me that.

Miguel: I was, but I decided to give it one more shot.

Christina: Look, if you don't put it in the notes beforehand, then I usually don't. I just follow like the, the topic points.

Miguel: So, you’re basically like Ron Burgundy and just read anything off a teleprompter?

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: All right. I'm gonna try that and sneak it into some notes to see if you read exactly what’s on it.

Christina: No see, see. I don't just read my notes, but if it's not in my notes, then I don't add extra stuff necessarily. I don't know. But no, I don't have anything else to add.

Miguel: Okay. So, on that note, we can wrap this episode up discussing the 30th anniversary of Menace II Society. If you haven't seen it in a while, go check it out. It still holds up depending on the way you wanna look at it.

Christina: I think it does.

Miguel: If you wanna look at it in a ’93 lens, it's a great movie. If you look at it in a 2023 lens, it's aight, but it's not bad.

Christina: It will still move you.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: ‘Cause, well, I won't ruin it just in case you haven't seen it in a while, but just the way it ends. We started laughing. I mean, not because it was funny, but you'll see how it just ends.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And it— the way it ends and rolls into the credits specifically.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I'll just leave it at that.

Miguel: You actually did it at the top of the episode.

Christina: I mean I did it, I didn’t talk about it specifically.

Miguel: You didn’t.

Christina: So, I'll just leave it there.

Miguel: So, yeah, we're gonna wrap this up here. Thank you for coming back and listening to us. Check us out on social media at @troypodcast on Instagram and Twitter. Yes, Twitter's still around. So, you can hit us up there. Go to our website, where you can find transcripts, links to things that we spoke about in the episode. We'll have some videos and interviews up on there as well. If you wanna buy some merch, go to That's T-E-E-T-H-A-N-G .com. Nuthin’ But a Tee Thang dot com. Buy yourself some merch.

Christina: Do it.

Miguel: If you wanna sign up for our monthly newsletter, the newsletter's going off. We got a whole bunch of subscribers, so, you might wanna jump on that so you won't like, feel left out and shit.

Christina: You definitely should, because see, Miguel writes the newsletters, so I read them and I'm like, this is a good newsletter.

Miguel: See? So, go.

Christina: And I'm like, oh wait, this is technically my newsletter, even though he writes it.

Miguel: Exactly, so go ahead and check that out. That's at troypodcast backslash newsletter or troypodcast slash newsletter because I never remember if it's back or forward.

Christina: No no,

Miguel: And on that note, since I can't remember anything, I think we should just get outta here and see you guys again in two weeks. Bye.

Christina: Bye.