HomeScript ReviewsDope - Cultural References Can Improve Tone

Dope – Cultural References Can Improve Tone


Dope-Script-AnalysisAn excerpt from my script review for Dope which will be available 09/08/15:

4.) Dialogue and Description

Both were filled with (mostly) smart cultural references.

It was surprisingly fun to hear characters say things that would feel out of character in other films.

Page 23, after Diggy proves to a bouncer she’s a girl:

(to his partner)
Yo, yo look at this shit yo, this
nigga’s really a bitch! Look! Boys
Don’t Cry like a muthafucka!

Page 27:

Malcolm, Jib and Diggy gladly take on the role of Pinocchio to Dom’s Lampwick
as he guides them inside the haze of weed smoke, music, scantily clad women, booze, and debauchery.

Page 30:

De’Andre opens the DUFFEL BAG. DOM looks inside: DOPE.

Breakfast Club, nigga. Molly

Page 38:

He pauses. Time moves backwards in his mind, as if Superman
is flying fast as fuck around his head.

And a bunch of others.

Why is this good?

The technique is a clever way of conveying an idea or emotion, instead of just spelling it out for the reader.

What to watch?

Making sure the references land.

For instance, I wasn’t sure what The Breakfast Club or Molly Ringwald had to do with drugs. I mean, Judd Nelson lit a joint and they all smoked up, but the “dope” here sounded more like cocaine than weed. The context was unclear.

Another stretch of a connection, page 62:

Yeah I think. I know she was
before. I tried to give her the

The kick?

Yeah. The kick! The feeling of
falling in water that wakes you up
out of a dream. Like in Inception!
The kick!

You dropped her in water?!

Yeah, but it didn’t work!

That’s cause that was a movie!

Some of the references just seemed setups for cheap, nerdy laughs, or didn’t land at all.

Page 79:

Damn nigga. This shit is like Lost.
Dom is like Jacob. Austin Jacoby is
like that black smoke nigga, and
the Island is The Bottoms and we’re
all connected and shit.

Yeah cuz like them muthafuckas on
Lost, we’ve been dead this whole
time and didn’t realize it.

No they weren’t dead. What happened
on the island actually happened.
The Flash forward in the last
season was the afterlife.

I still don’t get that shit.

Felt like the writer was trying too hard, both to make the characters nerdy AND attempting to be funny at the same time.

Lastly, my serious issue from Page 6.

One of the boys they knew got killed in a random drug shooting.

While trying to make a point that these teenagers live with serious danger every second of their lives, we’re sidetracked with a cheap joke explaining how Jib really wanted the dead boy’s comic collection. Showing up every day to the boys house with flowers.

Satire can certainly teach, but this didn’t come across as satire.

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