Fresh: An Overlooked Ode to Hip-Hop and Life in the Hood

The 1990s was an era in American films that was chock full of so-called “classic hood films.”

In 1991, the releases of John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood and Mario Van Peebles’ New Jack City showcased the raw grit and danger on the urban streets of two of America’s biggest cities: New York City, New York and Los Angeles, California.

In 1992, the cinematic depiction of life in America’s predominantly black urban communities was back on display with the releases of Ernest R. Dickerson’s Juice (starring Tupac Shakur) and Stephen Milburn Anderson’s South Central.

Legendary producer Oliver Stone’s South Central was unique in the sense that it was based on a legendary non-fiction book titled Crips, which was written by author Donald Bakeer. The scenes in this cult classic were derived from actual street gang experiences.

1993’s Menace II Society was also a legitimate classic film about street life that provided an entertaining but graphic depiction of what really goes down in an environment that is not always “all good in the hood.”

However, in 1994, another unsung classic hood film directed by Boaz Yakin was released called Fresh. Produced by Lawrence Bender (founder of Lawrence Bender Productions), Fresh is another harrowing narrative about the adversities of the so-called “ghetto.”

Starring Sean Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, and N’Bushe Wright, Fresh tells the story of a 12-year-old boy (played by Nelson) who is already involved in a life of crime. The boy uses the master chess lessons of his father (played by Jackson) to guide him.

However, the boy’s family is riddled with the same drug and alcohol addiction that is plaguing the people who are affected by the profitable poison he’s peddling for a local crime lord (played by Giancarlo Esposito).

Fresh was the second 1994 film starred in by the great Samuel L. Jackson, which was produced by Lawrence Bender. It was critically acclaimed and won the Filmaker’s Trophy at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival.

Bender’s company, Lawrence Bender Productions, is located in Beverly Hills, California at 8530 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 520. You can purchase Fresh online at right here.


Lawrence Bender Best of Films

Ever since his claim to fame with the 1992 Reservoir Dogs, Lawrence Bender has staked his place in the movie industry as one of the most respectable and talented names in film production. Born October 17, 1957, he’s well into his years but showing no sign of slowing down. The American producer of Kill Bill series, Pulp Fiction and other well-known titles has worked his magic on all of Quentin Tarantino’s films since his ascension to stardom except for The Hateful Eight, Death Proof and Django Unchained, and he continues to take an influential role in his industry to this day.

Lawrence Bender has won several BAFTA and Academy awards for his work such as Pulp Fiction (Best Film and Best Picture in 1994), Good Will Hunting (Best Picture in 1997) and Inglourious Basterds (Best Motion Picture of the Year in 2009). My favorite movies of the bunch, the Kill Bill series, have won Gold Derby and Circuit Community awards. I’m as far from a movie buff as one can get, but the least obscure of movies make their way to my eyes sooner or later, and I of all people can say that I’ve experienced Lawrence Bender’s work multiple times in my years. I don’t think anyone can argue with my movie taste here; let’s be honest.

I don’t favor the Kill Bill series for anything more or less than the lone wolf personality of it mixed with Eastern concepts of channeling one’s energy to improve their combat effectiveness. The story itself seems to ride on the coattails of this appeal, but that’s particular to me as a viewer. I’ve always taken fascination with concepts of psionics and Buddhist principles of inward control, which I thought were well-portrayed under Lawrence Bender’s production. Then again, I’m not a connoisseur of movies, so my opinion might not count for much, but I can’t be wrong when Beatrix Kiddo has developed a following of this size.


Why “Pulp Fiction” Is Producer Lawrence Bender’s Greatest Masterpiece

When one talks about the genius filmmaking of Quentin Tarantino, there is another name that must come up in order to get a clear picture of one of the greatest filmmakers of the last century. And that would be the then little-known producer who actually discovered the young filmmaker and helped him sell his first film, “Reservoir Dogs.” That producer, Lawrence Bender, has brought some of the greatest films, of the last three decades, to the big screen.

While “Reservoir Dogs” may have been the first big break for the young producer, as well as Quentin Tarantino, it is no question that both Mr. Tarantino and Mr. Bender’s masterpiece is their follow-up film, “Pulp Fiction.” This popular crime movie was one of the first independent films to make over $100 million dollars in the domestic U.S. box office. Additionally, the film was nominated for several Academy Awards including best picture for which Mr. Bender shared the nomination.

So why is “Pulp Fiction” Lawrence Bender’s best film? Consider the fact that Quentin Tarantino was not the big shot Hollywood director back in 1993 when he completed his script for the movie. That meant that Lawrence Bender had to work hard to sell the unusual script to the financing studio Miramax. And after selling the script to the studio, Mr. Bender was tasked with assembling the ensemble cast on a relatively tight budget of just $5 million dollars. Lawerence Bender was responsible for bringing many A-list stars from Uma Thruman to Bruce Willis as well as Harvey Keitel to this independent film.

Today Lawrence Bender has produced over 50 films, some of them in collaboration with his longtime partner Quentin Tarantino. In his career, Mr. Bender has been nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards three times. And he continues to develop and produce high-quality films like “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Silence,” as well as “Inglorious Basterds.”

Born in the Bronx, New York, Lawrence Bender has been a producer in Hollywood for over three decades. In his career, he has worked with creative powerhouses like Quentin Tarantino, Matt Damon as well as Ben Affleck. Today, Mr. Bender is considered one of the most creative as well as successful producers in Hollywood.