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Brave-Heart

"DOPE"--A MOVIE REVIEW

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“Fun”, “One of the more commercial prospects coming from the Sundance Festival”, “Breakout star”, “Dynamic camera work”, “Vibrant comedy”, “Best movie soundtrack of 2015” and, once again, as happens 2-3 times every year I get pulled into a movie by the hype and sit there dumbfounded at what is up on the screen!
Let’s see what “Dope” has. A lot of violence, some gratuitous, definitely a lot of cursing, a woman urinating on the street and/or vomiting in the face of a guy, nudity, mostly female of course, a high school teenager masturbating a couple of times and, of course, let’s not forget drugs, a lot of drugs. And that soundtrack? Definitely a generational thing!
Is there a neighborhood in Inglewood, California, known as “The Bottoms”? Do A students, with their eyes on Harvard, have their sneakers stolen in school, physically taken from their feet, with no adults around to stop the thieves? Do they have their bicycles stolen on the way home and is there no place in-between a geek and a dope dealer in Black neighborhoods?
One of the reasons I love the movies is that I can learn about groups of people I may not know otherwise but in “Dope” I didn’t know whether I was watching a comedy about stereotypes, and/or clichés, or this is the way a segment of Americans live. I have never lived in a ghetto, always in a community of various races, sexes, genders, nationalities, religions, geeks, jocks and people who made their living from all the different walks of life but this is one movie I was completely lost.
Shameik Moore, as Malcolm, is a charmer as the Harvard want to be student who gets involved in a backpack full of drugs along with a gun , and, by the way, a Bitcoin, scheme. Tony Revolori, as Jib, who is ‘14% Black’ and Kiersey Clemons, as a butch lesbian, along with Moore are the stars of the movie as the best of friends. Zoe Kravitz is a much wiser than he is love/sex interest for the virgin Malcolm. I felt sorry for Chanel Iman as her role is demeaning to all women while Kimberly Elise, as a single working mother represents the best in women, which is rare in this movie. A$AP Rocky as a local dope dealer, Quincy Brown as Iman’s brother, Roger Guenveur Smith as a Harvard interviewer along with Keith Stanfield, De’Aundre Bonds, Blake Andeson, Rick Fox and Amin Joseph, along with producer/narrator Forest Whitaker add to the film in various roles.
The music, mostly by Pharrell Williams, along with Lee Haugen and Germaine Franco, definitely is not for me! The direction and screenplay by Rick Famuyiwa was lacking and confusing to me and for a ‘comedy’ there was very little reaction from the mainly Black audience.
I left the theatre asking myself, “What did I miss?”
TRAILER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L41xwM8tIRQ



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