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Neil · 2 · 785

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on: December 28, 2015, 03:02:13 AM
Don't watch the Trailer.

Not only is this film self aware in the most charming of ways, but it's also solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. Any criticism you can muster is dealt with by the characters in the film and it's never forced.. It's basically the film saying, "Stop searching for the usual tropes you're wanting to latch onto because the necessary ones to use are coming, but we'll turn them on their head better than Mark Twain turns a phrase." It rewards you for your behavior and satisfies you while at the same time telling you that you should never get too comfortable with the center of the frame, because there's always wiggle room within in the margins of these typical genre tropes/devices. Another way to put this is that the film makers used all the same tools folks have been using for the last 30 years, but with this film those tools were used properly. There's suspense, awkwardness, 4Th wall breaking, absurdity in the face of chaos, a great message, I could go on and on but instead i'll move on.

This film is somehow typical and exciting. It's nostalgia, but not as we know it; the worlds most powerful drug: No, it's nostalgia as a stepping stone. It's self aware and nostalgic. This can best be seen in the sequence when Dom and Malcom meet for the first time. The whole confrontation starts with Dom asking Malcom why his crew has Flat-tops and dresses in MC Hammer pants. Malcom explains that he wishes he grew up in the 90's because the hip-hop/fashion was better then. Malcom mentions Public Enemy's "It Takes a nation of Millions to hold us back" and Jay'z's "Blueprint," and Dom is quick to point out that, " 'It Takes a Nation of Millions' came out in 88 and 'Blueprint' came out in 01', the fuck you talking about?"   

Throughout the film you see the dichotomy presented. Malcom admits that Dom is right about the years that those albums came out, but Malcom is talking about a spirit, or a way of life that 90's Hip-Hop taught him. Malcom says The Blueprint is the punctuation to the spirit he seems to find his identity in. You'll notice when Dom and Malcom are having that conversation I alluded to earlier that Dom is Wearing black from head to toe, with a white bandanna and white print on his black ball cap and also some chains.  Malcom STANDS OUT, not only in comparison to DOM but to his environment as a whole. This is all happening while Dom questions Malcom for reasons on why he is the way he is. Malcom is full of of color in every single way from his orange bike, to his multi colored back pack and amazing shoes/outfits. It's all right there.

This movie everything. It's geographical opportunity and how education paints the perspectives of certain individuals, and it's also about how we all have access to different kinds of education based on our geographical roll of the dice. It's about how a person's hustle to get into Harvard is, at the end of the day, still a hustle. There's no reason to make comparisons here, but some people are born into the position to be a Harvard man in the same exact way that some people are born to be a Kingpin in a Drug Empire. Sometimes it's environmental, and there's always the opportunity to avoid being a product of your environment and rise above the typical outcome and an outlier. But my point here with this movie is it's an outlier in a world full of remakes and super hero formulaic garbage. Spike Lee wishes he could make a film this good. It's about race. It's about race bait. It's The Wire but more efficient in so far as it has a smaller scope but achieves more because of that. It's a crime/heist/thriller/rom com/buddy movie.

It uses 90's hip hop as a suspense building plot device and it turns out to be some of the most effective use of popular music I've ever seen and raises the suspense level in a way I didn't think was possible.  Typically I'll call that lazy, because Wes Anderson pretty much took songs that were already very emotionally charged and put imagery over them, and people herald that as some sort of achievement. That shit is lazy. It's Easy. That doesn't negate it, I dig his films a lot, but it also doesn't validate him or Scorsese and some of their sequences etc.  If i put some kinks songs underneath some gal on a merry go round/swing set/ all over the park it's gonna be fucking great. Especially if I slow that footage down a bit. OH MAN. Kubrick's use of classical music in 2001 is something completely different, but that's a different conversation altogether, which I'd love to have. I'm happy that it can be done, my point is if you can make an original piece of music and an original piece consisting of 24fps and evoke emotion, that is infinitely more difficult what I've been bitching about. But at the end of the day it all depends on the specific piece of art at hand and what it calls for. What I prefer isn't better, it's just an approach. Hell, the thing I'm criticizing in this paragraph is also what I love about the film I'm talking about. The film uses music (not the originally composed material which is fine)very well and it never seems out of place. It's one of the few cases where I really enjoy a Tribe song or any popular artists music in a film
The fact that this film was slept on tells you everything you need to know. There is a vested interest in people not seeing this movie, and that's because this film is ahead of the world at large, it's ahead of the curve. I'm not trying to put a conspiracy theory out there, but you people in the industry have been silent about it. This is a mainstream film that no one on this site has said a word about. Consider that for a moment. My poor ass only came across it because on Xmas day I was outside of a Walgreen's after picking my frozen pizza dinner, and I decided to grab red box. I got "DOPE" and "TRAINWRECK." Watched them in the opposite order listed and 'Dope' woke me up. It made me want to better myself.

Miss y'all.

Can't wait to hear how this movie isn't as clever as it thinks it is.
it's not the wrench, it's the plumber.


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Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 01:09:36 PM
Good on you, Neil. I remember seeing the tv spots for this and thinking it seemed like a uniquely inspired film ( if not a little MTVish ) but it came and went and I've honestly heard nothing about it until you mentioned it. The movies it immediately brought to mind are 'Attack The Block' ( black kids selling weed on bikes ) and 'Better Luck Tomorrow' ( nerds getting way too deep into the drug game ). I'll definitely have to check it out after gaging your enthusiasm for it. Good to hear from ye!
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