The title says it all... DOPE. I'm not even trying to be cute. This was the best movie I've seen this year.
Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood, Brown Sugar) - Writer/Director
Shameik Moore (Joyful Noise, and TV's House of Payne - but I will not hold that against him; just like I won't blame him for his parents misspelling that awesome name - ShaMIK, people; not -M E E K, not -M E I K, and damn sure not -M I Q U E) - Malcolm
Kiersey Clemons (TV's Extant and Eye Candy) - Diggy
Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Perfect Game) - Jib
Rakim "A$AP Rocky" Mayers (see, pretty much any ign'ant hip hop record) - Dom
Roger Guenvuer Smith (Do the Right Thing, American Gangster) - Austin Jacoby
Zoe Kravitz (Insurgent, Mad Max: Fury Road) - Nakia
Blake Anderson (Workaholics) - Will
Honorable Mention goes to Allen Maldanodo as the bouncer and to model turned actress, Chanel Iman as Lily. Ah yes, Lily.
Interestingly, Forest Whittaker produced this film along with the likes of Diddy and Skateboard P; which begs the question, how did Jay-Z miss out on this?
IF YOU MUST KNOW:
This is the story of a kid straight out of Inglewood, Cali, who simply doesn't fit in. He's a geek; not to be confused with a nerd (although he is) - see, a geek also has certain idiosyncracies that make him more of an outcast than other nerds. Por ejemplo, Malcolm and his friends have a punk rock-type band, but they are also 90s-era hip-hop aficionados - obsessed with the music and gear to the point of wearing bad flattops and what appears to be some version of Cross-Colours. Remember Cross Colours? For kids born in the 90s to say that that was the "golden age" of hip hop smells like the west coast version of a Williamsburg/Fort Greene HIPSTER.
Malcolm (Moore), Jib (Revolori) and Dig (Clemons) are oddballs who have to manage their way around a school full of jocks, hoodlums,
Of course, the plot is ridiculous, but it isn't entirely beyond the suspension of disbelief. Malcolm, in the midst of trying to finish his application for Harvard University, gets unintentionally pulled into the dope-dealing world by Dom (A$AP Rocky) - leave it to a Harlem cat to drag a brother into an unnecessary sitch. So, Dom makes Malcolm and his two band-mate friends into reluctant MDMA dealers. (For my square readers, MDMA is methylenedioxy-methamphetamin; also known as Ecstasy or Molly.) Well, at least it aint heroine and weed would have weakened the plot to be more in the nature of Friday (I mean the movie, not the other day). The Oreos (that's the name of their band, and not my attempt at using a lame derogatory term for these geeks) get busy dealing Molly in the hopes of saving their own lives as they have to dodge sneaker stealing school bullies, fake thugs, real thugs, drug sniffing dogs, OG's, Molly-popping models, and Harvard grads (the debate is open for who on that list is most dangerous - I'll let you call it).
So, what was so special about this movie? Aside from the AWESOME soundtrack, it was funny. Not even the cackling, chatty hipsters sitting in my aisle in stereotypical-fashion talking throughout the film could ruin the fact that the dialogue was clever and the situations were surprisingly intriguing. It was a smart film that made some predictable turns and then unpredictably made them subtly realistic. It toyed with your emotions. And, most importantly, it was sufficiently believable. The arguments, the jokes, and the quiet moments these cats shared when they were in danger were legit friend type conversations. On top of all that... I can imagine all three of these lead characters, the Awreeohs (pronounced like the cookies), becoming far more visible in Hollywood after this movie. Even Zoe Kravitz, who really made me flashback to my crush on her mama when she was on A Different World (holla!). You know you're getting old when the daughter(Zoe Kravitz, 26) of a woman (Lisa Bonet, 47) you were crushing on is old enough to be considered kinda hot. Disturbing.
Anyway, the movie was so good that I didn't bother taking points from any of the usual areas, like rappers trying to act, which is usually as bad as models - no matter how hip-hop cute - trying to act (Chanel Iman) or contrived characters - and there were a few. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was even better than Dear White People and Top Five (both of which were understated, but very good movies).
Hurry up and see this movie before the next round of summer garbage (like Jurassic Park or Mad Max) pushes it out of the theater.
IMTHATDUDE gives Dope: 5
5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.