There’s only one thing worse than the stress of educating and entertaining kids during the last week of school (picture a manic blonde in pigtails tap dancing, “I’m dancing as fast as I can!”) and that’s being alone in an eerily quiet building with just adults for the week after, some you’ll never see again (retiring or moving up the administration chain), some you wish you wouldn’t (this is humor).
For those reasons, “Dope” (directed by Rick Famuyiwa) was a nice oasis for a middle aged woman of rural roots. I fully realize that anyone who has to survive a real life in the inner city school of Inglewood, this is no joke, no oasis, but at least an acknowledgement of city life’s absurdities.
I’m a sucker for hip hop which is akin to a senior citizen saying they dig EDM raves, but it’s the truth. I loved Ludacris’s “Get Back” even if unaccompanied by Tom Cruise dancing in a fat suit. I was enthralled by Rhianna’s live performance of “Bitch Better Have My Money” on SNL. So my praise is genuine, not patronizing.
The story of a young guy trying to navigate his way to college despite many obstacles is the story I see unfold each year in my classroom. To help them some how see that as bleak as middle school is at times, and that their feelings are important, that it’s really just a blip on the universe sized life screen. Sure, I teach in a rural district, but isolation has its poverty and problems, too.
Dope was great for its inspirational story and it’s equal attempt to show how ridiculous desperate and dysfunctional people behave. The main character is so believable that my only complaint is his two side kicks don’t match his fine authenticity. Sad considering Tony Revolori was a revelation in The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I guess side kicks must, at times, be flat and dopey.
A Rotten Tomato bitter man said, “don’t believe the hype’ (of Sundance), and I disagree. While this doesn’t quite have mega magic, it’s novel in approach to inner city school life and well worth watching.