DOPE is a movie about a teenager named Malcolm who grows up in Inglewood, California in present day, who is obsessed with 90s hip hop culture. He completes his obsession by rocking a high top fade, and wearing 90s style clothing that reminds one of the Fresh Prince. He is also a highly intelligent and talented student whose goal in life is to attend Harvard. Malcolm has two high school friends one a lesbian and the other an Indian who share his obsession with the 90s, and the three of them have a band. Unfortunately for them, their style and cultural make up, makes them outcasts in their inner city school, and they are subject to bullying and getting their sneakers jacked on a regular basis. Despite the negatives they face, the three boldly embrace who they are and strive to obtain their dreams, while also pursing the teenage rite of passage of getting girls and having fun. It is during one of their adventures in a club, where things take a wrong turn, and Malcolm ends up with a backpack full drugs that he must get rid of or face the consequences of the streets that he has been trying to avoid all of his life.
Now before you get the idea that this is a depressing tale, it is not. This is a movie that takes itself seriously in some aspects, in showing the difficulty that many young people face in trying to establish their unique individuality in a culture that frequently swallows individuals and stamps out people who are afraid to break out of the stereotypes and chains of “thug life” that some feel obligated to follow despite their opportunities to move beyond it. Despite these serious themes, DOPE creates a movie that is lighthearted, fun and unique in ways of bringing the story to the audience. DOPE is able to use refreshing storytelling, creative filming techniques and awesome 90s hip hop music to weave a tale that shows us the difficulty young black teens and other cultural groups face trying to make it in society.
DOPE is a fun movie complete with many 90s style references, but I must caution you that though this is a quasi- journey down the 90s road, this is not a film for kids. The film is filled with sexual innuendo, foul language, the n-word and adult situations that you will not want to sit through with kids.
DOPE is an instant classic that not only fans of hip hop culture will enjoy, but people who want to see a good movie and learn a little about life in the city for a teenager who is trying to make it.