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Film / The Wood

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A 1999 coming-of-age drama directed by Rick Famuwiya, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Todd Boyd.

Mike (Omar Epps) tells the story of how he grew up in Inglewood, California (nicknamed "The Wood") in The '80s, with best friends Roland (Taye Diggs), who is getting married (and is currently missing) and Slim (Richard T. Jones), who scoffs at the idea of marriage, but is furious at Roland for disappearing. The story reminisces back to Mike's first encounters with Roland and Slim, his first real crush on a girl named Alicia (Malinda Williams), and the three young men's misadventures as teenagers.


  • The Bet: How Mike meets Alicia. On his first day after moving from North Carolina, Roland and Slim bet him a dollar to slap Alicia's butt. Unfortunately, the reason why they didn't do it is because Alicia's brother Stacey is a Blood and will beat them up.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Stacey to Alicia. Anyone looking to hurt her in any way would do well to remember that Stacey is a member of the Bloods.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Diegetic Switch: Played with. Each flashback starts with a clip of the actual record of the song playing.
  • The '80s: The flashbacks take place from 1986 to 1989.
  • '80s Hair: Mike and Roland have high-top fades, and Slim and Stacey have a Jheri curl.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: What drives the boys to try and lose their virginity.
  • Female Gaze: The scene where the guys wash off in Tanya's backyard after Roland throws up in Slim's car. There was no reason to show that outside of letting the audience see three fit, black men with their asses on full display.
  • Gangbangers: Stacey.
  • High-School Dance: And middle school dance as well.
  • Hollywood California: Notably averted. One of the few movies to take place in Inglewood, California.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Mike, Roland and Slim. Alicia knows this, which is why she gets so mad when Mike slaps her butt.
    • Though she doesn't quite mind so much when Mike later reaches for her butt during their dance at the prom.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Stacey says that he could be a rapper, but nobody would ever buy an album about pot.
  • Irony: The robbery that Stacey committed is what got them off the hook when the police pull them over.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Mike laughs when he sees a photograph of himself, Slim and Roland when they were teenagers, posing for the camera.
    Mike: It's hard to believe we dressed like this and thought it was cool.
  • N-Word Privileges: To be expected in a story about three African-American teenagers in '80s-era Inglewood, California.
  • Nothing but Hits: The soundtrack includes 80s rap songs.
  • Noticing the Fourth Wall: Mike talks to the audience to narrate at the start of the movie. Slim shows up griping about Roland being missing, Mike nods towards the camera. Slim briefly talks to the audience. He's then annoyed with Mike for talking to the audience.
  • Pet the Dog: Stacey, previously established as very protective of his sister, gives Mike advice on how to woo Alicia during the school prom.
  • The Place
  • Police Brutality: A mild version. The policeman makes them get out the car and gives them a pat down all because of a broken tail light.
  • Shared Universe: With Dope. Stacey eventually becomes a security guard.
  • She's All Grown Up: Alicia in the present day, played by Sanaa Lathan in a cameo role.
  • So Proud of You: Stacy when he sees Mike get Alicia's number.
  • Their First Time: Mike and Alicia. It leads to...
    • Speed Sex: ...Mike not being able to keep going longer than a minute or so. Alicia takes it in stride, and accepts the idea of them being a couple.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The storyline with them trying to get Roland to go to his wedding and meanwhile reminiscing about their childhood.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Roland vomits all over everybody's suits in the car.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Stacey has no qualms about beating up a teenage Mike, albeit to defend his sister's honor as opposed to simply doing so out of malice.