Now available on virtually all platforms is writer/director Rick Famuyiwa‘s comedy/drama Dope. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year before hitting theaters in June and is currently one of my favorite movies of 2015. Funny, smart, cool, confident, socially aware, culturally savvy: these are all appropriate ways to describe Dope. Even when it falls back on familiar high school drama (losing your virginity, finding a prom date, struggling to fit in, getting into college, etc.), it does so with conviction and with a fresh point of view that should be commended.
While the performances are solid all around, first-time leading man Shameik Moore deserves a ton of credit for his turn as Malcolm: a smart, nerdy, sometimes arrogant high school student trying to find a way out of his ultra-dangerous neighborhood in Inglewood, CA and into Harvard. There’s an undeniable energy throughout the film; a sense of adventure and stakes that command your attention. Even so, Dope only works because Moore makes Malcolm a character you want to see succeed. He’s a bit of a smartass, sure. Still yet, his intentions are true and his plight is significant. Never have I cared so much about what a fictional character’s college admissions letter says.
But enough about Dope, let’s get to this week’s Top 5: