The Scoop: 1995 R, Directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Ice Cube, Chris Tucker and Regina King
Tagline: A lot can go down between Thursday and Saturday
Summary Capsule: Two guys hang out on the front porch all day, toke up, and try to avoid getting killed. No, not Dude, Where’s My Car? No, not Cheech & Chong either. Damn, let a Mutant speak!
Drew’s Rating: Just call me the motherlovin’ D-R-E (-W).
Drew’s Review: There are plenty of movies that, while revered by some, are very much a product of their time or intended audience. No doubt Saturday Night Fever was super-mod in the late 70’s, but now it’s just a sad relic of a forgettable era. And you can repackage them however you want, you’re not getting New England housewives to buy their husbands copies of Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster for Christmas. (Unless they’re way cool.) Real life doesn’t work that way.
And yet… how else do you explain the fact that my college girlfriend and all of her friends were in love with Friday? We’re talking about the whitest, most privileged girls you’ve met this side of an Ivy League, women who wore Abercrombie & Fitch like it was their job (and business was good)… and who liked nothing better than to crank up Axl Rose singing “Get in the ring, mother[bleep]er!” and watch as Ice Cube practiced his game while kickin’ back and smoking blunts. Do you think they were trying to tell us hopelessly white boys something?
Maybe, but I’ll vouch that the images presented in Friday aren’t so far removed from my own daily existence. Director F. Gary Gray and star Ice Cube have called it their love letter to the ‘hood, showing how humor can exist amongst all the violence… but while I’m sure life in South Central and Compton is no picnic, those guys don’t know what it was like growing up on the mean streets of Princeton either. Word. Really, Craig (Cube) has it pretty good — fired on his day off for stealing boxes from work (maybe… the plot point is dropped, but a deleted scene suggests otherwise), he’s got nothing to do on Friday but hang out on the front porch all day with best friend Smokey (Chris Tucker), watching life and girls pass by. But things in the ‘hood aren’t all 40’s and reefer, as Smokey has the minor problem of having availed himself of all the product he was supposed to be selling for Big Worm (Faizon Love). Now the two have until 10:00 to acquire $200 or get shot, while also keeping neighborhood thug Deebo (Tiny “Zeus” Lister Jr.) from beating their asses. The odds that there’ll ever be a Saturday are not looking so good…
All joking aside, the fact is that Friday is a funny movie no matter who you are or what your background. At times the humor is a little subdued, but if you can’t laugh at Smokey needing to take a dump and being locked out of his house, or his, ah, unique methods of counting money, I don’t want to know you. And as Craig’s father, John Witherspoon takes a fairly over the-top role and brings it to just this side of believable… he may be no Bill Cosby, but I’m willing to bet Mr. Jones is a lot closer to the kind of father most people actually have. Appropriate to the plot of two guys hanging out and barely leaving the front porch, the humor is mellow and laid back… no viewers are going to die laughing, but most should stay entertained throughout. And unlike its sequels, Friday throws a little drama into the mix, provided not by the boys’ impending doom but rather Craig deciding how to confront the situation. If nothing else, you’ll appreciate the irony that Mr. Jones – by far the most irreverent character in the film – is somehow exactly on target about how to resolve problems, even if his delivery is a bit… unconventional, let’s say.
It goes without saying (he says) that this is not a film to show your more uptight friends or relatives. Part of that is the swearing and Smokey’s solution to his… little problem, but mostly it’s because our main characters aren’t exactly beacons of moral purity. Smokey has no problem selling weed and robbing neighbors rather than getting beaten up, and even Craig doesn’t seem particularly bothered watching the burglary go down (to say nothing of his gun). I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re in the market for role models, keep searching. But if you’re just in the mood for a pretty funny cult film about two guys hanging out while never leaving a 10-block radius of their house, Friday might be exactly what you’re looking for.
- Chris Tucker was asked to reprise his role as Smokey in the two sequels to this movie (Next Friday and Friday After Next), but he had become a born again Christian and was uncomfortable with the profanity and subject matter. Instead he did the Rush Hour series.
- Amazingly, there actually is a Friday: The Animated Series, which I discovered while trying to record the movie on DVR. I haven’t checked it out, but watch at your own risk.
- The clothes Ice Cube is wearing at the beginning of the movie are the same ones he wore in the final scene of Boyz N The Hood.
- Smokey’s license plate reads “FCK IT”.
- The janitor in the convenience store Craig and Smokey visit is F. Gary Gray, the film’s director.
- Mr. Jones, a dogcatcher, is shown watching Man’s Best Friend, a movie about a homicidal dog.
- Does throwing bricks and using wooden planks and trash cans really constitute “fighting fair”?
Mr. Jones: Come in here!
Craig: Where you at?
Mr. Jones: In the bathroom.
Craig: Man, I’ll wait till you come out.
Mr. Jones: Boy, bring your ass up in here, what you talkin’ ’bout, you’ll wait till I come out? I smelled your crap for 22 years, now you can’t smell mine for 5 minutes?
Mrs. Jones: Now Craig, you know what your problem is? You have no game.
Craig: What you know ’bout game? I got ALL the game.
Mrs. Jones: Now your father, he got game.
Mr. Jones [entering]: Don’t nobody go in the bathroom for ’bout 35, 45 minutes. Somebody open the window.
Smokey: Man, man, MAN. Her momma got an ass too. Just give me three and a half minutes… maybe even four. She’ll be wantin’ to marry a [brother].
Craig: Who, her momma?
Smokey: Yeah! Older the berry, the sweeter the juice.
Craig: I think it’s the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.
Smokey: Yeah, yeah, well she blacker than a mother[lover] too.
Smokey: Hey… I know you don’t smoke weed. I know this. But I’m gonna get you high today. ‘Cuz it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got crap to do.
Joann: Smokey, I need you to go to the store and get me some cigarettes.
Smokey: Give me the money. Wait, wait, wait a minute! What’s this? This ain’t enough!
Joann: Make it enough.
Smokey: Man, ain’t nothin’ wrong with smokin’ weed. Weed is from the earth, God put this here for me and you! Take advantage, man. Take advantage.
Craig: We ain’t got no sugar.
Smokey: No sugar? Damn, y’all ain’t never got two things that match. Either y’all got Kool-Aid, no sugar, peanut butter, no jelly, ham, no burger. Damn!
Ezal: Smokey, you know I ain’t the smartest man in the world, but from over here, it look like you takin’ a crap!
Smokey: Ezal, get the HELL off my front lawn!
Ezal: Smokey, oh, look like you been eatin’ corn, huh?
Mr. Jones: Oh no, son, that’s not how it is. You kids today are nothin’ but punks, sissified, so quick to pick up a gun. You’re scared to take an ass-whippin’. [holds up fists] This is what makes you a man. When I was growin’ up, this was all the protection we needed. You win some, you lose some… but you live. You live to fight another day. Now you think you’re a man with that gun in your hand, don’t you?
Craig: I’m a man without it.
Mr. Jones: Put the gun down. C’mon, put up your dukes. Now you a man. Your uncle picked up a gun too. He had to find out the hard way. 22 years old. You’ve got a choice. Here’s all you need. All right?
If You Liked This Movie, Try These:
- Next Friday
- Boyz ‘N The Hood