I’m a very white guy. But in growing up, one of my first music gods was Jimi Hendrix. Then, one day I saw Bustin’ Loose with Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson (a.k.a., Miles Davis’ punching bag) when I was 10, so I wanted to see any comedy Richard Pryor had made. And I did, from Car Wash to Uptown Saturday Night. These were my first real lessons or experiences, watching a cast (or film) with African Americans in it. It wasn’t Star Wars or anything, it was memorable for its …wn reasons.
By now, you’re asking yourself how this meaningless story about Ryan’s white bread childhood is related to his review of Friday? Well, Car Wash was one of the first movies I could remember that did a great job of capturing the “day in the life” environment of the neighborhood and its characters. From Lonnie to Mr. B, to Duane/Abdullah to Miss Beverly Hills, every character got a scene or two, and it give you the feeling up being there in line. Friday handles it much the same way. Its meager $3.5 million production budget led to a $27 million box office take, which spelled sequel (2 actually) for the co-creator of the story, Ice Cube (Are We There Yet?).
Cube plays Craig, who managed to get fired from work on his day off, and despite his father’s threats (“The word for today is job!”), his day is spent on his front porch with Smokey (Chris Tucker, Rush Hour). Many different actors appear in this film, from Bernie Mac (Ocean’s Eleven) to John Witherspoon (Boomerang), to Faizon Love (Made), among many others. Smokey has smoked Big Worm’s (Love) weed, instead of selling it like he was supposed to. Big Worm comes around looking for the money he should have made, and when Smokey doesn’t have it, he mentions Craig’s name. Big Worm decides if Craig and Smokey don’t have his money by that night, both of them are dead. This movie is full of quotable lines that still make you laugh, even after 8 years since the movie came out. This movie has become huge on video, and remains a cult classic to this day.
Damn, my ears! 2.0 Surround!?! What’s this all about!?!? With all the songs that are on the soundtrack (off topic here, Faizon Love was on a TV show recently, and he said that the difference between black people making films and white people making films is that black people spend 1 month making the film, and 6 months on the soundtrack. Pretty funny.), you’d think a 5.1 soundtrack would have been the preferred way to go, but this DVD came out in early 1999, so maybe a updated Infinifilm release may not be far off?
The video quality is fair (1.85:1 widescreen), certainly not reference quality, and there aren’t many artifacts that would make you take this one back.
Infinifilm used to be called the New Line Platinum Series back in the day, and for awhile were known for having loaded their films with extras. So after going through them, and feeling a bit disappointment, remind yourself that the film came out 4 years ago to DVD, and put things in that context.
There are 2 Q & A sessions here, one with producer Patricia Charbonnet, and one with director F. Gary Gray. Both have the questions listed as text, and then hitting enter will give you the answer to it. They are all separate, and neither of them have a Play All function I could find. Both segments are low key and pretty informative (Charbonnet’s runs 14 minutes, Gray’s is 22), is provide good perspective into the making of the film. 7 deleted scenes come with it also, but to be more accurate, 3 are deleted scenes, 3 are alternate takes, and there is an alternate ending. It’s not even an alternate ending either, if anything, it’s an even happier ending than what was seen in the film. The scenes total 13 minutes in length, some are pretty tedious, others, particularly the ones with Witherspoon, are pretty funny. No fewer than 13 filmographies (written biographies and IMDB filmographies) are listed on the disc, and Ice Cube filmed a 35 second introduction to the movie, thanking those who saw it, and leaving us with the quote, “It ain’t all bad in the ‘hood.” Videos by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are included in the DVD, and the green and red band (yahoo!) trailers are included as well.
Now that there’s a Friday trilogy on DVD, it would be a nice surprise if Ice Cube were to come back and put out the definitive DVD version of Friday, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and a commentary from Cube himself. Nevertheless, the fun that’s contained in Friday’s bright yellow snapper case should be enough for people to keep it in their collections.
Special Features List
- Q & A with Cast and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Video