Blerd Film Club: Friday

The stoner film is a classic. Getting high while trying to get by. But, a black stoner film? Unheard of, at least to most casual viewers of films. Now many come to mind. Let's Be Cops, How High, Half Baked and so on. Before all that came Friday, a film starring rapper Ice Cube and newcomer Chris Tucker, co-written by Ice Cube. With a $3.5 million budget and directed by F. Gary Gray who had only directed music video prior, it was destined for the bargain bin. Despite that, it ended up becoming a cult classic that spawned two sequels all of which air on television still today.

The plot of Friday is simple. It's Firday, Craig has lost his job and his friend Clarence, better known as Smokey, wants to get him high for the first time. The entire film takes place on one block, predominately from Craig's front porch. We're introduced to a cast of characters through interactions with Craig and Smokey. Big Worm is a drug dealer, and Smokey has been getting drugs on credit from him promising to sell them to pay Big Worm back. The problem is Smokey has been smoking all the weed. Craig's dad, better known as Pops, is a dog catcher. He's tired of Craig refusing to grow up and provides valuable advice that Craig doesn't listen too.

The main story follows the entire neighborhoods conflict with Deebo. He strong arms Craig and Smokey for money. He steals Red's bike and knocks him out. Deebo is the gangster of the block, the one everyone fears. Eventually Pops discovers that Craig has gotten a gun for protection from Deebo. Pops reveals that a gun doesn't make you a man.

"You win some, you lose some, but you live to fight another day," is his advice. Despite that Craig still leaves with the gun. Craig and Smokey are shot at by Big Worm's men in retaliation for not having the drugs. They hide and it passes. The neighborhood comes outside and looks at the damage. During this Craig's on again - off again girlfriend, Debbie confronts Deebo for assaulting Felicia, a lovable local drug addict. Deebo hits Debbie which causes Craig to go into a rage and pull a gun on him. Pops convinces Craig to put down the gun and he has a fist fight with Deebo.

There's plenty of funny moments throughout that have no weight on the plot. The preacher cheeting with the neighbor's wife. Craig was fired for stealing boxes and there's a back plot of who really stole the boxes. Red is the only person from the job that comes to check on Craig and raises suspension. Additionally Ezel, a local drug addict is seen running with plenty of boxes. The entire thing is a joke that white people think all black people look alike, because none of these men look alike.

The soundtrack for the film is incredible. There's no other way to put it. It of coarse boasts Ice Cube, but also Rick James, Rose Royce, Bootsy Collins, Roger Troutman and plenty more all lending their music to the film and the official soundtrack which went double platinum in less than a year.

With F. Gary Gray directing there's a lot of music video influence felt throughout the film. The random side moments that meant nothing to the overall plot of the film seemed like the little scenes that start or end music videos. Many of them would go on to be parodied by actual music videos like P. Diddy's "Bad Boys For Life." The way it's film doesn't feel as if you're watching a movie so you can watch the entire movie and be surprised you've sat there for over and hour and a half.

Is Friday the perfect movie? No, not at all. Does it accomplish everything that it set out to do? Without doubt. It makes you laugh and there's not much drama so when there is drama, it's impactful. Despite being a stoner movie, it doesn't lean on stoner comedy but everyday comedy that everyone can relate to such as your mother not liking who you're dating or father tired of you eating everything he wants to eat.

You've probably seen Friday at this point in your life but it's important to look at how many people got their starts in this film and the places they went. This was the first film Ice Cube wrote and he's gone on to write six more that were all just ass successful. Additionally it showed that rappers can do comedy as well and let him star in dozens of comedy and family friendly films. This was the first major role for Chris Tucker and the breakout for Nia Long. F. Gary Gray went on to direct numerous successful films.

Most critics love it now, but originally it was not received well. However, it just proves having faith in your product and knowing your audience is what really matters. Because of that dedication to the target audience it was a major financial success and led to two sequels and an animated series. I guess the tag line for the film was correct, "a lot can happen between Thursday and Saturday."

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Blerd Film Club: Friday Blerd Film Club: Friday Reviewed by Blerds Online on Friday, February 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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