Director: Ryan Coogler
Year Released: 2013
Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is just trying to get his life on track: sure he was in jail for multiple felonies (including drug dealing and possession of an illegal weapon ... which are pointedly not mentioned in the movie) and sure he cheated on his girlfriend and sure he was still dealing drugs and sure he just got fired from his job for not showing up on time, but he was really trying. He loves his daughter. He cares for a dog hit by a car (Metaphor Time!). He dumps his weed out into the ocean (Turning a Corner!). He tells his girlfriend he loves her. He tells his daughter he loves her. He helps a girl order fish at the grocery store. He helps a man's wife find a toilet in San Francisco (Kindness Overload!). On New Year's Day, then, this hopefully-reforming/changing young man is gunned down execution style in Oakland because of an altercation with a former prisoner on a subway in Oakland. It's all manipulative setup by Coogler (who means well, but it's a bit much): show this flawed angel trying to rise above his past sins, and then show a lunatic white cop (it had to be a white cop) shoots him because he's being loud and (understandably) upset. The murder of any and every young man (or woman) regardless of race is a tragedy, but Coogler's handling of it leaves a lot to be desired - he even shows footage of Grant's real-life daughter crying at the end as if the sight of Octavia Spencer crying wasn't enough.