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Home Boy Joy Ride  cover image

Home Boy Joy Ride 2020

Not Recommended

Distributed by TouchPoint Productions, LLC
Produced by David Okimoto, Eddie Ruvucalba, and Paul Steinbroner
Directed by Paul Steinbroner
Streaming, 30 mins

General Adult
Drug Addiction; Recidivism; Treatment Centers

Date Entered: 08/02/2021

Reviewed by Daniel L. Thacker, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State Altoona

Home Boy Joy Ride is a brief documentary about Homeboy Industries; a non-profit organization whose mission is a gang rehabilitation and re-entry program that combines Christianity, the 12-Step recovery model, mental health services, tattoo removal, educational services, and job skill development for former gang members and convicts in the Los Angeles area.

The film presents interviews with the creator of Homeboy Industries, Father Gregory Boyle, along with former and current clients sharing how this program changed and saved their lives.

This film is not recommended for several reasons. It comes off more of an advertisement for the organization than a documentary and it seems a campaign of branding has been carefully thought out prior to making this feature. The documentary is very binary in its presentation of society of perceived thugs and saviors that is much more nuanced. The summary of their solution is to love more and be more like Father Boyle and his concept of Jesus. Focusing on individuals as the problem, while the systematic causes that create “homeboys” are never brought up.

The first-hand testimonials of drug addicts and alcoholics are powerful, and their transformations appear miraculous. If these recoveries are achieved through traditional residential treatment or intensive out-patient programs; if they are followed by a 12-step program or a Christianized variation of a 12-step program, it is not clear. A 12-step program blueprint is implied. It is apparent that these programs can be affective and this film focuses much of its run time on it.

Portland Documentary Film Festival People's Choice Award

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