Out of all the great African-American films out there, I decided to write on a film, which is still considered to be a classic to this day, “Cooley High. ” The film takes place in Chicago, 1964, and centers on a group of lower-class black kids, including Preach, a smart student, and his close friend, Cochise, a great athlete who’s on the verge of getting a scholarship. This film has been compared to be the black version of George Lucas’ “American Graffiti”; the film has a lot of energy and substance to easily overlook that fact.
There are many funny moments, including a scene where the boys joyride with Preach behind the wheel; a scene where the boys cut class and head to the zoo, ending with a hilarious encounter with a gorilla; and a scene where Preach hides from some hoodlums in an bathroom that is occupied. There’s also romance in the film, as Preach attempts to woo classy beauty Brenda; the two even lose their virginity together in a truly tasteful scene.
The movie ends in tragedy, and since the characters have depth, we feel the loss. “Cooley High” set the standard for African-American film excellence when it was made. This film plays on various emotions, and you definitely feel for all of the characters. Sure, some of the acting is a little wooden, but fortunately, those parts aren’t pivotal.
The music is sensational, with classic songs from Motown and the tearjerker hit single, sang by then Motown’s newest recording artist, G. C. Cameron “ Its So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”, which was later released in 1991 by the group Boys II Men, in honor of the movie. Even though “Cooley High” may not have inspirational or depict a positive role model, it’s a part of my life that brings back memories of just having fun and “obeying no laws expect for the ones of caring” (Preach). This film is truly a classic from the 70’s until the years to come.