Drop Squad

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Drop Squad
Drop Squad FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by David C. Johnson
Produced by Butch Robinson
Shelby Stone
Screenplay by David C. Johnson & Butch Robinson
Story by David Taylor;
David C. Johnson & Butch Robinson (screen story)
Starring Eriq La Salle
Vondie Curtis-Hall
Ving Rhames
Kasi Lemmons
Music by Mike Bearden
Cinematography Ken Kelsch
Edited by Kevin Lee
Distributed by Gramercy Pictures
Release dates
  • October 28, 1994 (1994-10-28) (U.S.)
Country US
Language English
Box office $734,693

Drop Squad (sometimes spelled as DROP Squad or D.R.O.P. Squad) is an American film released in 1994. The film depicts a team of African Americans who kidnap fellow black people who have betrayed their community and seek to "deprogram" them so that they will change their ways.[1] In the film, the squad's acronym DROP stands for "Deprogramming and Restoration of Pride".[2] The film has been described as "[p]art thriller, part social satire".[3]

The film was based in part on The Session, a 45-minute film which director David Johnson had made in 1988 on a budget of $20,000,[4] and ultimately derived from a short story by David C. Taylor titled "The Deprogrammer".[5] Johnson described the differences between the two films as follows: "The short film was basically satire, an absurdist piece .... D.R.O.P. Squad, on the other hand, is realism. The characters have more at stake."[4]

Spike Lee served as executive producer for the film.[6]

Plot[edit]

The film portrays an advertising executive, Bruford Jamison (Eriq La Salle) who is in charge of the "minority development division" for an advertising agency.[1][5] Among the ad campaigns he is involved with is one for a malt liquor called "Mumblin' Jack", whose billboard depicts a woman in a skimpy bikini straddling a bottle, with the slogan "It Gits Ya Crazy!"[1][5] Another ad campaign depicted in the film is a commercial filled with racial stereotypes (in which Spike Lee has a cameo) for a fried chicken restaurant's Gospel-Pak, which offers a Bible verse printed on every napkin.[6][7] Bruford's sister Lenora (Nicole Powell) calls in the Drop Squad to deprogram him.[5] Bruford winds up being subjected to three weeks of psychological and physical brutality.[6] Among the other persons who are shown being subjected to the deprogramming are a corrupt politician and a drug dealer.[5]

The film also depicts a conflict among the members of the Drop Squad as to the tactics they should use. Rocky (Vondie Curtis-Hall), the squad's leader, believes in using only nonviolent tactics,[1] such as "subjecting them to a barrage of slides, posters, slogans and family photographs in hopes of restoring their sense of community",[7] while Garvey (Ving Rhames) believes that harsher methods have become necessary.[2]

Response[edit]

The total North American box office gross for the film was $734,693.[8]

Drop Squad has been suggested as a possible influence on Spike Lee's 2000 film Bamboozled.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hinson, Hal (1994-10-28). "'Drop Squad'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Keith, Yvonne R. (Fall 1994). "Come Back Brother". Black Professional. p. 37. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Klady, Leonard (1995-01-11). "Spike Lee's 'Drop Squad' Falls Short". The Rochester Sentinel (Rochester, Ind.). Variety. p. 6, Compass section. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Eugene Holley Jr. (November 1994). "Making Movies". Vibe. p. 111. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Peters, Ida (1994-10-29). "What does Spike Lee's 'Drop Squad' mask?". The Baltimore Afro-American. p. B6. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (1994-10-28). "Drop Squad". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (1994-10-28). "Film Review; A Satirical Look at Black Yuppies". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Drop Squad". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Bogle, Donald (2001). Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films (4th ed.). New York: Continuum. pp. 361–362. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  10. ^ Pratt, Douglas (2004). Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More! 1. New York: Harbor Electronic Publishing. p. 109. ISBN 1-932916-00-8. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 

External links[edit]