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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A great film

10/10
Author: dee.reid from United States
7 August 2002

"Our America" follows the lives of two African-American teenagers who become reporters for the NPR. They first start out by recording their daily lives growing up in a rough Chicago neighborhood. As time goes on, they start to move on to bigger subjects such as exposing the troubled lives of people in their neighborhood. They soon gain national attention when they cover a story involving two boys (ages 10 and 11) who cold-bloodily murder a four year-old boy by throwing him out of a 14th story window.

This is a truly touching story that really shows us the brutality of African-Americans living in rough neighborhoods. The acting is great too. Ernest R. Dickerson who directs this film, was also the cinematographer for several of Spike Lee's films and he really makes this movie look good. Constantly alternating between black and white and color, the film really captures the essence of the characters.

"Our America" gets a 10. Don't miss it.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Touching a Serious Social Wound

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
8 May 2005

In Chicago, the Afro-American teenager friends Lloyd Newman (Brandon Hamond) and LeAlan Jones (Roderick Pannell) win a contest promoted by the successful producer Dave Isay (Josh Charles) of NPR – National Public Radio – for a documentary about the daily life in the ghetto where they live. They prepare a documentary showing their routines, the life in their neighborhood, and it becomes controversial, with some negative reviews of important persons of their community. Nevertheless, they are awarded as the 1997 Chicago Citizen of the Year. Dave becomes a close friend of the boys and their families, and they decide to prepare another documentary about the death of Eric Morse, a young kid dropped from the 14th floor of a building in the compound by two other boys on 14 Nov 1994. They win the prestigious Peabody Award with their work. "Our America" is a good movie based on a true story and is about the dramatic situation of many poor people living in ghettos and slums. The story happens in North America, but it could have happened in any country in South America, Afrika, Asia, and even Europe. I liked this film because it touches a serious wound, the social debt of the society with many persons. Further, it is not corny, but it gives some hope, when we see two boys like Lloyd and LeAlan having a chance to improve their lives. It emphasizes the importance of friendship and sympathy, to help those who need. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Território Violento" ("Violent Territory")

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Truth

10/10
Author: yungn992000 from United States
25 October 2006

First of all, disregard anything the last post said. "Socially Irresponsible" is the last thing yous should say about this movie. If you want to call anything or body irresponsible, it should be our government for allowing fellow Americans to live like this. I noticed the person who posted last is from orange county and its really crazy that people who don't live in these situations are so quick to judge. This movie was one of the best projections of the "projects" that I've ever seen. Growing up in South Central L.A and Chicago's Robert Taylors, I'm here to tell you that EVERYTHING that was mentioned in the movie is true. This is one of the best "hood" movies I've seen yet. And as far as the game they were playing on the overpass, when you are poor, you'll find fun things to do on nothing. Of course it wasn't right, but kids are doing far worse things than that.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Quality, inspirational film

Author: escott-10 from Massachusetts
25 September 2004

I don't agree with the first reviewer at all. The movie does show illegal activities on the part of the main characters as he pointed out, but that reality needs to be shown for the movie to be the least bit credible. The vandalizing of private property is not, unfortunately, and uncommon occurrence for young people. The movie shows that if you can reach these young people before random acts of vandalism grow into more serious criminal acts, you can save lives and improve society. The movie does have a unique message because it depicts, in a powerful way, the negative "world" that many similarly situated inner-city youths face. And.. it is inspiring because it reminds us of the untapped potential that may be festering beneath the surface, just waiting for inspiration and guidance. As I usually find with these kinds of movies, it takes both an intellectual thirst, and intellectual maturity, to truly appreciate the film in the way it was intended.

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Good for what it portrays.

7/10
Author: Socknspctr01 from United States
27 March 2007

The movie is based on a true story of two boys growing up in the projects of Chicago. They get the opportunity to be reporters for NPR. They bring equipment with them to school and around the community to show what goes on in their daily lives. The documentaries they made were controvercial and original. This movie gave an insightful look at the situation and the lack of future image the residents of the inner-city projects experience. One of the boys had no future and the other may have had a future, with help they both had a bright future. Anyone studying a career in Justice or Juvenile Justice should watch this. Related movies of interest if you liked this one include: Fresh, and Boys in the Hood.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A thoughtful and insightful film

7/10
Author: nymichael2002 from Miami
18 May 2005

I was caught off guard by this film for the only person that I recognized in the cast was Peter Paige from Queer as Folk, he only plays a tiny role of public radio producer. Anyway this film is based on a true story of 2 adolescents from the housing projects of South Chicago that are asked to document their lives by a public radio station. The producer from the radio station is accused of exploiting the youths and tempers flare. The film is a harrowing and brutal portrait of life in the projects and how many residents there don't see much hope of improving their lives. While many detractors of the film will see that this film concentrates on the negatives there are several positive characters also. The character of LeAlan Jones and his family are beacons of hope. Overall I enjoyed this film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great movie!

8/10
Author: vamptress08 from Singapore
20 January 2005

I live in Singapore. All the way the other side of the world, in Southeast Asia. I lead a comfortable life, there are no ghettos here. No shootouts. And this movie isn't the first I've watched about living in the ghetto or about the nitty gritty harsh realities of life that I have been lucky enough not to experience myself.

But I don't need to be in the ghetto nor do I need to have lived through them in order to empathise with the characters. This movie's portrayal of the common human condition was convincingly moving enough, without it being overly sappy, that I who live on the other side of the world am able to identify with their emotions and feel for the characters.

For that, I do think it was overall a good movie.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Good discussion from not always good film"

Author: faced (klitscho@aol.com) from philly
16 February 2003

There is much not to like about the movie "Our America". The stereotypical nature of most characters involved, the great white savior aspects, and the alternating afternoon special light weight fare that switches to riveting restricted viewing violence are all reasons to dislike the film. If a person approaches this film as laughable lightweight fare on par with "Finding Forester", then they can extrapulate some good from it. The discussions that can result from the film are numerous. The two lead characters' tendency to listen to the radio hosts and apparently fail to have any mentionable adult ties to those in their own community. Muhammad Ali once made the joke, "Where are the real pilots" when talking to an all black flight team. His humor was a healthy adjustment. The students in this film appear to have the typical unhealthy internalized doubt of those in there community as much of what they reported was negative while outreaching to the strangers at the radio show. This film makes a launching point for discussions on race and socioecomics.

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1 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Socially irresponsible redundant crap

1/10
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
13 August 2002

"Our America" tells of two black juvi's who are given recorders so they can do a radio documentary of their project/ghetto. An unfortunate but well intentioned flick, "OA" has nothing new to offer and appears to be a misguided attempt to expose the real truth behind the projects (drugs, gangs, crime, cockroaches, etc.) as if we haven't had our fill of ghetto flicks. What is worse, our heros play a game called "Knockout" which involves dropping rocks from a freeway overpass which everyone knows is as potentially lethal as the gangbangers shooting up the "hood" with their Uzzis and for which they receive a mere reprimand. Stupid tripe not worth the time. (F)

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0 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Extremely Boring!!!

4/10
Author: Mr_Sensitive from THAILAND, BANGKOK
24 January 2005

For what ever it worth this movie/documentary is extremely boring from the beginning to the very end. The keep on ever going of using both black/white and color film that keep on switching is really annoying and very much unattractive.

The story is same old same old, talking about the bad black people neighborhood and tried to bring out the truth and tried to make us the viewer feel bad for them. At end (if you even watch it to the end) you will actually feel bad and asked one self "How did I managed to watch this entire film?"The film is sure not worth a watch cause it is damn boring.

Rating: 4/10

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