A man should teach a boy how to grow up to be a man. If I had a father, I think I would probably be ready to be a man right now. Since I just grew up with my mother, it's just different. - Al-Tran, 15, Boys to Men? subject
Following Hoop Dreams, Boys to Men? is the second in a documentary series on urban teenage boys, focusing on violence and its roots in average American homes. In an hour of candid interviews 32 boys reveal what it's like to be a male teen today. In the 3 part mini-series we follow three 15 year-old American boys - a Caucasian Jew, an African-American, and a Latino - over one year as they navigate the challenges of school and family. One youngster constantly fantasizes about violence - exacting revenge on every teacher and fellow student who's ever humiliated him for his physical handicaps. Another renounces all macho behavior and has his tenderness and nurturing qualities exploited by his dominating mother. The last, supremely talented as a poet and actor, destroys every opportunity for advancement put before him by repressing his anger and imploding. Their stories, vastly different by race, class, and family circumstance, become one, as each boy tries and fails to come to terms with his rage, his family, his school, and himself. Though their maturation struggles take different forms, the struggle to create an acceptable masculine self-image is universal, and these boys - vulnerable, kind, smart, articulate, and aware - aren't making it.