How to Make Money Selling Drugs

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How to Make Money Selling Drugs
How to Make Money Selling Drugs poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byMatthew Cooke
Produced by
Written byMatthew Cooke
Music bySpencer Nezey
CinematographyMatthew Cooke
Edited by
  • Jeff Cowan
  • Matthew Cooke
  • Bert Marcus Productions[1]
  • Reckless Productions[1]
Distributed byTribeca Film
Release date
  • September 7, 2012 (2012-09-07) (TIFF)[2]
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

How to Make Money Selling Drugs is a documentary film written, directed and narrated by Matthew Cooke and produced by Bert Marcus and Adrian Grenier. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival[2] and was theatrically released in June 2013.[3]


The documentary starts out as a mock guide to how to be a successful pusher, explains how drug dealers, smugglers, kingpins and drug lords make money and the risks involved, with the ultimate aim of setting the stage for the real purpose for the film. It then seriously examines what perpetuates the War on Drugs and criticizes it, while providing suggestions and opinions from those trying to deal with the problem of drugs from outside of the institutionalized and incentivized war.



Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 77% of 39 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 6.6/10.[4] Metacritic rated it 69/100 based on 16 reviews.[5] John Anderson of Variety wrote, "By being both glib and preachy, this highly stylized pic ends up being a tiresome buzzkill".[6] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The entertaining doc is more serious than it seems but has little new to say."[7] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times wrote that "there's a lot to learn" from the film, but it overwhelms viewers with unnecessary flash and "relentless voice-over".[8] Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote that it "begins as a slick, tongue-in-cheek guide to successful dope dealing" but "masterfully evolves into something far more vital, cogent and impressive."[9] Ernest Hard of The Village Voice wrote, "It's a smart, funny, tough-minded film crammed with data and personal anecdotes" that help to illuminate the costs of the drug war.[10] Linda Holmes of NPR wrote, "Whether or not you agree with its underlying critique of existing drug policy, How To Make Money Selling Drugs is an ambitious, creative attempt to talk in a single film about everything from the disparate treatment of black and white dealers to the influence of asset forfeiture on law-enforcement strategies to the devastation of Mexico's drug war."[11] Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "While it won't win any Oscars, Matthew Cooke's new documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs may take the prize for being the shallowest and most glib film of the year."[12]

The production won the audience prize for best American independent film at the 2013 Champs-Élysées Film Festival.[13]


  1. ^ a b Gierson, Tim (September 8, 2012). "How To Make Money Selling Drugs". Screen Daily. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  2. ^ a b McNary, Dave (September 13, 2012). "Tribeca takes U.S. on 'Drugs' docu". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Rothman, Lily (21 June 2013). "'How to Make Money Selling Drugs': Adrian Grenier Explains". Time. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  4. ^ "How To Make Money Selling Drugs (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "How to Make Money Selling Drugs". Metacritic. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  6. ^ Anderson, John (September 9, 2012). "Review:'How to Make Money Selling Drugs'". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  7. ^ DeFore, John (April 26, 2013). "How to Make Money Selling Drugs: Tribeca Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Rapold, Nicolas (June 25, 2013). "Documentary Under Cover as a DIY Guide to Success". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Gary (June 27, 2013). "Review: 'Selling Drugs' tracks disturbing interactions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  10. ^ Hardy, Ernest (June 26, 2013). "How to Make Money Selling Drugs Cracks on the Romance of Pushing". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  11. ^ Holmes, Linda (September 9, 2012). "Documentary Explains 'How To Make Money Selling Drugs'". NPR. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  12. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (June 28, 2013). "How to Make Money Selling Drugs (2013)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  13. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (June 20, 2013). "'How to Make Money' Wins Champs-Elysees Prize". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.

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