The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Dope (Open Road Films)
Written and Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
I’m probably going to have to edit this a bunch of times. Mostly because an honest review of this awful movie would consist of me cursing and screaming about how stupid Dope is, and mostly because it was marketed as a story from the hood about friends who did their own thing, you know, the hood geeks, and normally that would be right up my alley if only Dope were the tiniest bit entertaining. This film made me mad. Mad that it was made. Mad that it was a waste of time. But mostly it made me mad because it is not a representation of an alternative ghetto coming of age story. And mostly because it was never funny and always this side of insulting. Mad because it was a waste of a good idea and good music. The music was awesome. From 90s hip hop to original songs by Pharrell Williams. The music actually is Dope. But this was supposed to be the movie of my people. The black geeks. The black nerds. The cool kids. Instead, Dope was a piece of shit. So I’m probably going to have to edit this a bunch of times to take out all the swear words. So if you’re reading this, I apologize for my language, but understand, this is the edited version.
Dope begins with three definitions of the word Dope. 1. Drugs, 2. A stupid person and 3. A slang used to denote something as being really good. Dope is the story of an impossibly stupid but supposedly genius black kid who is forced into selling drugs. It is a contradiction of itself. It is annoying. But it all goes along to a soundtrack that is quite literally Dope as hell. So yes, the title represents all three definitions.
Written and Directed by Nigerian-American director and writer, Rick Famuyiwa, whose bio says he grew up in Inglewood, where our story takes place. But that’s funny because after seeing this movie I would have guessed he spent ZERO time in “the Hood” except for maybe if you were to count the many times he’s watched Friday, Poetic Justice, Boyz in the Hood, Next Friday… Because even if Dope were a comedy there is ZERO realism (and even if Dope were a drama there is zero humor). But here is a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be, about a kid who doesn’t know what he wants to be. Am I supposed to believe this is autobiographical? I get it you were the geeky kid who spent no time on the street. It shows. So please stop trying to write the street. And don’t get me started on the wardrobe, acting, dialogue and story. Just don’t get me started.
And what about that wardrobe? What era are we in? Who dresses these people? Every single character in the movie looks like they were styled by a space alien visiting Earth for the first time and working from an old Vibe magazine he found in dumpster, or maybe by Pharrell Williams or Sean Combs. Everyone dresses just like those two. Fact is this movie is about as authentically street as Puff Daddy and Pharrell. (and come to think of it those two are most likely space aliens but you didn’t hear it from me).
And what about the acting. Is English not this director’s first language? Were these truly the best takes you could get? Or was he afraid of running out of money and just used the first (awful) take every single time? And the writing… same guy, so I go back to my English is not his first language observation. No one talks like that… in any era. Characters reciting entire paragraphs to say something they could have said with one line, one word. What the fuck was he doing, padding his weak-ass script with nonsense?
Dope is one of the worst piece of shit films I have ever seen. If not for the music I would have had to listen to the dialogue. If not for the music I would have had to pay attention to the nonsensical action, gratuitous drug use and childish sexual humor. If not for the music… You know what? The truth is without the music and the contributions of the musicians (Pharrell, Puffy… the aliens) this shit would have been so much worse. But also it never would have been made because they financed this mess. So you know what? Fuck the music. That’s right I said it.
Dope begins with three definitions of the word Dope. I would like to offer several more. Dope; a movie with very little logic. Dope; an excuse to say nigger fifty thousand times and then have a discussion about why white people can’t say it (yeah that’s original). Dope; a soundtrack looking for a story but never quite finding one. A main character, I’m guessing based on the director, looking for a third dimension. A director (slash) writer looking for a clue on how to make a good “the hood” movie but instead only trying to make a remake of Friday, Boyz in the Hood and Poetic Justice… and still only coming up with a poor copy of Kid ‘n Play’s House Party 2 or that Fat Boys movie.
Dope; a waste of words and music and film and time. A monumental waste of time. An unmitigated piece of shit.