A movie about a wannabe cool black nerd obsessed with ’90s hip-hop and Game of Thrones sounds like a movie I’m very interested in seeing. Following up its buzzy trailer and major Sundance reception, here’s the first clip from Dope, which looks to be a worthwhile watch in the tradition of all my fav addictive coming-of-age hood flicks.

The first indication that Dope prematurely rules: the trailer is soundtracked by Kendrick Lamar’s “i” and mentions Ice Cube and my fake father Neil deGrasse Tyson in the same sentence. Twenty-year-old Shameik Moore plays the main character Malcolm, a geek from L.A.’s Darby Dixon hood (aka “The Bottom”) whose thirst to be one of the cool kids gets him and his friends caught in the drug game.

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Malcolm’s also in a punk band, he’s applying to Harvard, and like most twenty-somethings right now he’s obsessed with an era (the ‘90s) from afar. Dope is all about exploring the “cool nerd” perception and what it means, which is definitely intriguing. Certainly relatable. Some non-spoiler plot points from Vulture’s Sundance synopsis (sidebar: the response at Sundance led to a bidding war):

Malcolm’s unfortunate series of events kick in when he runs into a drug dealer, Dom (A$AP Rocky), who seems a bit smarter than most folks around him; he bests Malcolm at classic rap trivia, for starters. That puts Malcolm in contact with the beautiful Nakia (Zoe Kravitz), whom Dom also covets but who has more in common with our college-bound hero than she does with her ostensible drug-dealer suitor.

Forest Whitaker (one of the film’s producers) narrates the scene below, with “Hip-Hop Hooray” as the backdrop. It shows Malcolm and his fellow geek friends Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori) ogling Zoe Kravitz’s character Nakia on the street.

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Pharrell and Diddy, since they’re involved in literally everything related to music, are on board as executive producers.

Image by Scott Falconer via Open Road Films


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