Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friday - A Fun Hangout Film

Friday isn't a movie I'd typically sit down and watch. I decided to give this movie a try because Quentin Tarantino put it on his Top 20 films since he's been making movies (meaning Reservoir Dogs in 1992). Looking at the poster, it reminds me of a Tyler Perry movie. I can't judge his films because I've never seen one, but they don't really appeal to me. Luckily, Friday isn't a Tyler Perry movie, but a 1995 film directed by F. Gary Gray who has made some fun movies such as The Italian Job and Law Abiding Citizen.

This movie only takes place on a Friday, following Craig Jones (played by Ice Cube) as he hangs out in his neighborhood. Having just lost his job, Craig takes it easy with his friend Smokey (played by Chris Tucker) sitting outside his front porch, listening to music, observing his neighbors, and smoking weed. However, things go downhill when Smokey gets them into trouble for owing money to the local drug dealer. Although this story is comical, with an angry girl friend, a neighborhood "bully," and a death warrant on his head, will Craig be able to literally survive until Saturday?

With Craig and Smokey as the main characters, this movie has quite a supporting cast. Not only is Craig's family a strong ensemble (especially his dad played by hilarious John Witherspoon), but his neighbors make an impact as well. Some of the more memorable and quirkier neighbors include:
  • Ezel - He's the dirty and crazy guy who will steal anything you leave it in your front yard.
  • Big Worm - With the guise of an ice cream truck driver, he's a drug dealer who threatens to kill both Craig and Smokey if they don't give him his money by 10 PM.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Parker- This odd couple is composed of a bulldozing midget and a busty MILF.
  • Pastor Clever - Played by Bernie Mac, this infidel pastor comes between Mr. and Mrs. Parker
  • Deebo - He's the neighborhood tormentor who harasses local bystanders for money. With his intimidating nature, he has a similar theme music to Jaws (I may be mistaken, but I think the very same music is played in El Mariachi). As another Tarantino reference, Deebo, played by Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, also plays Max Cherry's assistant in Jackie Brown.

After watching, I asked myself, why is this on Tarantino's contemporary Top 20 list? Although it has it's fair share of toilet humor and weed jokes, the situations, dialogue, and character interactions make this a memorable comedy. All the characters are enjoyable to watch, especially Chris Tucker. You can't help but laugh at his facial expressions and hysterical interjections. It also doesn't hurt the movie has a couple of gun and fist fights.

Despite having a deeper message of "what it means to be a man," I believe the movie is meant to be an entertaining hangout film. Similar to Tarantino and his films, Friday focuses on character development. It doesn't linger over a long length of time, but keys into what is happening at the current moment.

So on Death List Five, Friday ranks #3.

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