7. "Menace II Society"

In an explosive debut, filmmaking brothers Allen and Albert Hughes present a rare, unsentimental view of life from the Watts ghetto, and an 18-year-old protagonist whose ambition is crushed down to small-time dealing by life-long exposure to drugs, death and incarceration. The only break from the movie's arresting bleakness is a single mother who presents him with a better path, as well as hope for the next generation in her young son, but a Hollywood ending doesn't come any easier for them than it would in real life.

Angst-ometer rating: 10

Sample quote: "My grandpa asked me one time if I care whether I live or die. Yeah I do. Now it's too late."

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