High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
A coming of age comedy/drama for the post hip hop generation. Malcolm is a geek, carefully surviving life in The Bottoms, a tough neighborhood in Inglewood, CA filled with gangsters and drug dealers, while juggling his senior year of college applications, interviews and the SAT. His dream is to attend Harvard. A chance invitation to a big underground party leads Malcolm and his friends into an "only in Los Angeles" gritty adventure filled with offbeat characters and bad choices. If Malcolm can persevere, he'll go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.
When the film shows us Tony Johnson, who was killed accidentally in a shooting at a fast food restaurant, he is playing a Game Boy, and the narrator tells us he was "seconds away from defeating Ganon" who is the recurring antagonist of the Legend of Zelda series. However, the only Legend of Zelda game available on the original Game Boy was Link's Awakening, which does not feature Ganon. See more »
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Coming out around the same time as Straight Outta Compton, which also deals with a group of friends in crime filled Cali that has a ton of music, Dope was a bit overshadowed in early August when it hit theaters. Make no mistake though, this is a really good film. It's highly entertaining, fast paced, and easily one of the most original screenplays of 2015 and perhaps of the past few years.
We follow a group of 'nerds' as they call themselves who are highly intelligent but also love 90's rap and jamming out themselves as their own band Awreeoh. It just so happens that they get caught up in a dangerously tricky situation involving some 'dope'. It's fair to say that most of what happens in the film is a bit too coincidental, it is. But what I loved most was this group of nerds and their reactions to each coinciding event. Shameik Moore plays the lead character, Malcom, and he does so wonderfully. If Moore plays his cards correctly, I think we will hear about this kid for years to come.
More importantly, you really buy into the groups dynamic. It never feels fake even when the situation surrounding them gets to be far- fetched. But I guess that also brings me to one of my negatives which is that after the first half or so it turns into Malcom's story. The first 45 minutes are great mainly because of the group's various endeavors. It's not a bad thing necessarily, it was just a tad less interesting. There's also a message behind the film that arises around the last 15 minutes or so and I can definitely see where it would be jarring to people. It doesn't take you out of the film per se but it is something you just have to accept.
So Dope's first half is up in there in my most entertaining 45 minutes of 2015. The last hour is fine but it definitely brings the film down a notch. If anything, Dope is worth watching if you're a fan of rap, a nerd, or you would like to see one of the best performances from someone who likely won't even be considered for an Oscar. Or maybe you just want to check in and see how you're favorite rappers Tyga and ASAP Rocky did on the big screen. Either way, check out Dope.
+Moore's breakthrough role
+Original idea turns out to be so fun
+Nerds seem like actual nerds
-Second half takes a big dip in quality
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