COVER STORY | I don’t think I know one person who isn’t a fan of “Friday”. At some point, it became more than just a movie. It evolved into a cultural staple for multiple generations. During a time were many of the movies about life in the “hood” were heavy and filled with the real-life struggles people faced on a daily basis, “Friday” took a more light-hearted approach to those same issues. While displaying the poverty, violence and addiction that plagued these neighborhoods, it also showed how residents of these areas were still able to smile and make the best out their situations.
The movie isn’t super deep, but it reinforced a lot of the lessons many of us were taught growing up. As a culture, we could see some of our neighbors, and even ourselves, in the characters. For me, there were two characters that reminded me of my own upbringing. The first is Debbie (Nia Long). I never got the girl in real life (And I tried hard!), but I wanted her about as bad as Craig (Ice Cube) wanted his love interest in the film. And the second character was Pops or Mr. Jones (John Witherspoon, R.I.P.). He had a perspective on life that came from years of experience and tried to instill that knowledge in his son. This reminds me of the relationship I had had with my father. He would always try to give me the game from his perspective. And just like Craig, I thought he was just talking, and a lot of times he was, but there were nuggets of unfiltered game in there that I have kept with me until this day.
What also made this movie a classic is the dialogue. Before the time when everyone was trying to give you one-liners that were “Instagram quote” worthy, “Friday” gave you a movie full of them. From “My neck, my back… my neck and my back” and “The Lord is my shepherd, He know what I want” to “Brace yo’self fool”, “Friday” gave us a quote for every occasion. In fact, one of the negative effects of Friday, and Smokey (Chris Tucker) in particular, comes from this phenomenon. I don’t know how many videos I’ve seen where someone gets punched/slapped/kicked to sleep, and here comes “that” guy with the “You got knocked the f**k out!” line (FYI it’s not funny anymore. Hasn’t been for years. Please stop).
Even if you couldn’t relate to the struggles of living in the hood or the dysfunctional but amazing relationships that were created as a result of those circumstances, there was still something there for you too: Comedy! Bernie Mac (R.I.P) Chris Tucker, Faizon Love, John Witherspoon, etc. were all in a different bag for this film. Even DJ Pooh and Tiny Lister (Red and Deebo respectively) had moments that could make you double-over in laughter if you weren’t careful.
All this greatness and we haven’t even made it to the soundtrack yet! Featuring songs from Ice Cube, Rick James, Bootsy Collins, Dr. Dre, and more, the “Friday” soundtrack is an experience all on its own. No wonder there were two sequels and talks of a third for the past decade or so. I shouldn’t even have to say it, but I will… Classic 90s!
Friday (April 26, 1995)
Director: F. Gary Gray
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