[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Gimme the Loot

Small time crooks spin their wheels

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

November 26, 2013 -- Watching this film reminded me a bit of a popular description of “Friends,” the funny TV show where nothing happens. Here, there is a lot of activity, but nothing much is accomplished, except for the creation of a funny, entertaining movie.

A couple of young graffiti artists, or “taggers,” have a dream to execute the Holy Grail of graffiti. They want to spray paint their statement on a big plastic apple seen during New York Mets home games when a Met hits a home run at Citi Field. If they do this, they will have achieved graffiti immortality.

The movie opens with these two taggers shoplifting a large quantity of spray paint, assisted by another small time thief in a car, who whisks them away from the store just in the nick of time. Then we see two taggers on TV talking 20 years ago about their dream of doing the stunt with the big apple at Shea Stadium, where the Mets played in those days. This frames the goal of the two taggers in this story.

The two taggers, Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sophia (Tashiana Washington) agree on a plan to pay a Citi Field employee $500 to gain access to the field while the Mets are away on a road trip. The trouble is, they don't have any money. They have to raise the $500, fast. They spring into action. Malcolm and Sophia both try to make money and to collect money owed them.

Malcolm tries to make money by selling drugs for a dealer he knows. He ends up in the apartment of a girl, Ginnie (Zoë Lescaze) who seems to be pretty friendly. He sells her drugs and ends up smoking some dope with her as well as making out with her. He also scouts the room for valuables and sees a case of jewelry. He gets his hands on the key to the case and sets up a robbery of the apartment.

The robbery turns into an utter fiasco. Everything goes wrong. The thief they are working with can't pick the locks to the apartment where the jewelry is. Malcolm and Sophia are both discovered and shamed by Ginnie. Sophia's bicycle is robbed. She gets a cell phone from one of the thieves, but when she tries to sell the phone to a fence, the stolen phone is stolen from her as well. The money she does get is also stolen from her by a rival gang of taggers. They are teaching her a lesson for invading their territory.

Every moneymaking scheme they try goes up in smoke. Their failure is rubbed in their faces. Ginnie and her friends laugh at Malcolm when he tells them of his grand plan to tag the big apple at Citi Field. Sophia is called names by other punks, until one of the punks is put in his place by Malcolm.

There is an obvious attraction between Sophia and Malcolm, an attraction they both feel, but they both deny. Despite all their problems and all of their setbacks, they seem closer after their ordeal than they were before it. That is about the only real thing they got for all their effort to raise the money for their grand tagging dream.

Even when they don't raise the $500 by the deadline, they don't give up. They try to come up with a wad of cash and paper that looks like $500, but is far less than that. That scheme, too, goes up in smoke. At the end of their odyssey, they shrug it off. Back to business as usual.

This is a very enjoyable film, with excellent performances by the lead actors. It manages both the gritty feel of inner city life and very funny comic misadventures. It demonstrates the enormous gulf between the haves, like Ginnie, and the have nots, like Malcolm and Sophia and most of their friends, who are all in low places. Even though it shows this yawning gulf of money and expectations, it does it in a lighthearted way. These have nots are hustlers. A hustler always thinks there is a fortune waiting in the very next hustle. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)