Friday (1995 film)
|Directed by||F. Gary Gray|
|Produced by||Patricia Charbonnet|
|Written by||Ice Cube|
|Edited by||John Carter|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$27.5 million|
Friday is a 1995 American buddy stoner comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray in his directorial debut, and written by O'Shea Jackson (Ice Cube) and Mark Jordan (DJ Pooh). It follows Craig Jones (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Chris Tucker), unemployed friends who must pay a local drug dealer on a Friday. The film is the first installment in the Friday franchise and also co-stars Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Tiny "Zeus" Lister Jr., and John Witherspoon.
While developing the film, Ice Cube and DJ Pooh expressed discontent regarding the portrayal of the hood in film, which they came to see as violent and menacing. As a result, they wished to counteract this, drawing on personal experiences when crafting the characters and plot points. Preparations for the film began after the pair were able to secure funding from New Line Cinema, who granted finance in exchange for a seasoned comedian in one of the lead roles; Ice Cube and DJ Pooh quickly settled on Tucker during casting.
Friday was theatrically released in the United States on April 26, 1995. It received positive reviews from critics, many of whom praised the comedic sequences, writing, and acting performances. The film was also a commercial success, grossing $27 million worldwide. It has subsequently obtained a large cult following, inspiring an Internet meme and several pop-cultural references. The film launched a media franchise that includes the sequels Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002). The sequels have also gained a cult following status despite their negative reviews.
Craig Jones, recently unemployed, spends Friday with his best friend, Smokey, a small-time drug peddler. The pair smoke a brokered consignment of marijuana, which Smokey was tasked to sell for Big Worm. Big Worm attempts to collect his money from Smokey, who inadvertently incriminates Craig, subjecting both to Big Worm's ultimatum: pay $200 no later than 10:00pm that evening, or Smokey and Craig will be killed.
Craig attempts to borrow money from a number of people, including his irritable girlfriend, Joi, who refuses under the assumption Craig is being unfaithful with Felisha, a local drug addict. Craig retrieves a gun to walk Smokey home, but his father, Willie, implores him to resolve his issues without it. Smokey sells some drugs to Hector, a former smoking buddy, while Deebo, the neighborhood bully, forces Smokey to break into Stanley's house (their neighbor) and steal $200, which Deebo keeps for himself.
Smokey attempts to retrieve the money from Deebo, who is asleep with Felisha at her house, but fails due to interference from Ezal, a petty thief. Seeing Deebo awake, the pair notice a car driving slowly and, suspecting a drive-by shooting, hide in Craig's room for the evening. After failing to contact Big Worm, they return outside, but are forced to evade Big Worm's men as they start shooting.
Debbie confronts Deebo for assaulting Felisha, assuming she was behind Smokey's attempted theft. Deebo eventually assaults her, leading to a fistfight between him and Craig, with Craig knocking him unconscious, allowing Smokey to get the money. Other locals, such as Red and Ezal, retrieve their items. Debbie tends to Craig's wounds, leading him to break up with Joi on the phone, while his father informs him his former supervisor called, wanting him in the following day.
Smokey settles his debt with Big Worm, telling him he will no longer sell drugs and is set to enter rehabilitation, but breaks the fourth wall by saying “I was just bullshittin'! And you know this, man!”
- Ice Cube as Craig Jones
- Chris Tucker as Smokey
- Nia Long as Debbie
- Bernie Mac as Pastor Clever
- Tiny "Zeus" Lister Jr. as Deebo
- John Witherspoon as Willie Jones
- Anna Maria Horsford as Betty Jones
- Regina King as Dana Jones
- Paula Jai Parker as Joi
- Faizon Love as Big Worm
- DJ Pooh as Red
- Anthony Johnson as Ezal
- Tony Cox as Mr. Parker
- Kathleen Bradley as Mrs. Parker
- Yvette Wilson as Rita
- Angela Means as Felisha
- Reynaldo Rey as Red's father
The film also contains cameo appearances from F. Gary Gray as a worker in a store. LaWanda Page features as a Jehovah's Witness, while Michael Clarke Duncan appears in an uncredited cameo as a craps player; his film debut. Meagan Good also makes her feature film debut as one of the neighborhood kids.
Before Friday's release, movies such as Boyz n the Hood (also starring Ice Cube) and Colors portrayed life in the hood as violent and menacing. Ice Cube and DJ Pooh felt that these films did not portray the full picture of living in the hood, missing a more lighthearted element, with Ice Cube later saying, "we had fun in the hood. We used to trip off the neighborhood." Therefore, Cube and DJ Pooh decided to create a film that would portray that environment.
The script was only the third Ice Cube had ever written; the previous two were undeveloped. With the film, Ice Cube intended to make a "hood classic", one that could be "[watched] over and over and over again". According to Ice Cube, a majority of the film is autobiographical, with much of it being based on events that occurred in his neighborhood growing up. Smokey was based on DJ Pooh's stint as a drug dealer, while Craig being fired on his day off was based on Ice Cube's cousin, who was working as a driver for United Parcel Service at the time.
Prior to writing, the duo realized their inexperience as filmmakers was unlikely to attract major film studios, and floated the idea of self-financing the film themselves. For a time, the idea of making the film in black and white to save money was considered, before the pair decided on approaching New Line Cinema about producing the film, who had achieved success with the House Party series; a film-type the duo aimed to replicate.
New Line Cinema agreed to finance the production, but requested that the role of Smokey, initially to be played by DJ Pooh, be played by someone with more experience. Ice Cube and Pooh immediately decided on Tucker, after discovering the comic through Def Comedy Jam. However, Tucker's first audition was poorly received, but was granted more time to try again at a later date. Tucker soon contacted Angela Means, aiming to work with her acting coach, but she invited him to a workshop session over dinner to help him secure the role. According to Means, "by the time that spaghetti was gone, Chris was Smokey."
Ice Cube was granted license to select the film's director, and decided on F. Gary Gray, who was a music video director. Gray had previously worked with Ice Cube on a number of occasions, and was also aiming to establish a foothold in Hollywood through a short film. Ice Cube instead offered him the role for Friday, attracted to the fact that he and Gray had similar backgrounds, feeling the director would accurately capture the film's aesthetic.
Gray said that Ice Cube starring in a comedy "scared the shit out of me," as he doubted whether audiences would buy into Cube portraying a role so different from his public persona. Gray explained, "Ice Cube was the toughest man in America, and when you take someone [who] delivers hard-hitting social issues in hardcore gangsta rap, and who has a hardcore view on politics, you would never think comedy."
Friday was released on April 26, 1995 in the United States, June 30, 1995 in the United Kingdom, and October 5, 1995 in Australia. The film saw a limited, theatrical re-release in honor of its 20th anniversary on April 20, 2015 for one night only.
The film was released on DVD on March 2, 1999 and Blu-ray on September 8, 2009, with a new director's cut (97 minutes). The single disc DVD contains a theatrical trailer, a featurette on the film, and cast and crew interviews.
Reception and legacy
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 78% based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads." Metacritic gives the film a score of 54 out of 100, based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film has obtained a large cult following since its release. A scene in the film is the source of the internet meme Bye, Felicia—which is a phrase meant to dismiss an inconsequential person. Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel are both nicknamed Deebo in reference to the character from the film.
Friday grossed $6,589,341 on its opening weekend debuting at #2 in the box office in 865 theaters, averaging $7,617 per theater. The film grossed $27,467,564 in North America and $748,354 internationally, with a total of $28,215,918 worldwide, against a budget of $3.5 million.
The film also inspired an animated series, titled Friday: The Animated Series, which aired in 2007.
- "Friday (1995)". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Friday (1995)". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Friday". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Friday (1995)". Box Office Mojo. June 13, 1995. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- Diaz, Angel; Hahn, Jason Duaine. "And You Know This, Mannnnn: An Oral History of Friday". Complex. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Grow, Kory. "Ice Cube Talks 'Friday': Bye Felicia' Is Such a Throwaway Line'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- "Friday (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- "Friday". Metacritic. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- Brown, Lane. "Team America, Anything Else Among the Best Movies of the Past Seventeen Years, Claims Quentin Tarantino". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- McSmash, Steely (September 6, 2008). "Before We Get This Party Started, One Last BTSC Steelers Chat With Jim Wexell". Behind the Steel Curtain. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. May 2, 1995. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
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