Who needs a budget when all you got are the wild streets of NYC!
Malcolm and Sofia (Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington) are two young, trouble-making teens that live their lives throughout the streets of NYC, “tagging” any spot that they can find. This gives their life some sort of meaning as it has them noticed by fellow gangs out there looking to tag their names and gain some notoriety. However, Malcolm and Sofia want more recognition than just random spots, they want THE REAL DEAL. So, in order to gain the most attention at all possible, they decide to tag Shea Stadium’s Home Run Apple, which is more than likely going to get them known; it’s going to make them stars! And with Malcolm’s supposed “inside man”, they may just be able to achieve their dreams. But, in order to do so, they must cobble up $500 together in a 24-hour time-frame. Therein lies the problem.
It’s little movies like Gimme the Loot, that get me all happy, inspired and determined to make a movie in the very near-future. I know people will continue to knock me down, drag me out and tell me that it’s harder than it seems, but so be it! The art of film is not how it’s made, it’s how people see it and if it’s to inspire, then better for us, the viewers. Especially for aspiring film makers, like myself.
One of these days, people. One of these days.
But all that dreaming and wondering aside, this movie is still a movie, and should be taken as such. And for a movie that runs-in at about 79 minutes (possibly even less), I have to say, I found myself quite entertained and pleased with what I was seeing. The movie literally pops us right inside the lives of these two kids, and whether or not we know anything about them beforehand, it doesn’t matter. All we need to know is that they’re young kids, they live in NYC, they like to graffiti streets and they like to get by in this world, in any way they can. That means they do a lot of hustlin’, lyin’, stealin’ and playin’, however, it’s strange that we don’t ever think of them as “bad people”. Instead, we sort of see them as “kids, just being kids” and it makes the slight experience all the more worth-watching.
Somehow though, I can’t continue writing this review without at least letting you know of a very strange, but interesting thought I had about this movie. As soon as this movie started and we got acquainted with our two characters, their surroundings, what their objective was and what they were going to do in order to get it, I got this strange feeling that this was a movie along the lines of something like Kids. I know, I know, I know! Strange, right? Well, I was thinking that if you take away all of the gratuitous scenes where teens are doing drugs, having sex, saying a lot of bad words and just talking about a whole bunch of things that only the shallowest-of-shallow teenagers would talk about, I feel like you’d have this movie. Except shorter, and a lot more thought-provoking.
Sorry, parents of the mid-90’s. You’re children were safe, sound and not committing those countless dirty acts. Well, at least from what you’ve been told.
Anyway, without making this a review of that movie, one last thing I’ll say is that while the movie did not really get HOW teenagers talked, the movie still nailed down the idea that we were literally hanging out with these kids, while they lived their lives and did whatever they did in a 48-hour time-frame. It was a dull experience to sit-through, but it made you feel like you were around for the party, even if all it was was a bunch of dirty-talk and even dirtier happenings on the couch. But like I said, that’s as far as I’ll go talking about that movie, because the same slice-of-life feel I got from that, is exactly what I felt from here.
Rather than giving us some dark, gritty and bleak story about these two teenagers who practically live on the streets with how they run their lives, it gives us a somewhat hopeful, and happy one that doesn’t really judge its two characters. Sure, they aren’t the brightest flower of the bunch and they sure as hell do make mistakes, but I feel like if I too was walking around the streets of Brooklyn and in need of some directions as to where to go to some place, then their would be kids just like Malcolm and Sofia to help me out. Whether or not they’d actually help me get to my destination, or con me into giving them some sort of prize is a whole different story, but the fact of the matter remains is that these kids felt real, honest and pretty damn charming, even if it does just seem like they were told to “just be themselves”.
And if that is the case, then I hope to see both Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington in the near, NEAR future. Both seem pretty natural in front of the screen, and it wouldn’t have shocked me if these two seemed to be something of besties in real life. They carry a nice chemistry throughout the whole flick to where you can see why they’d be tagging-pals, and why they’d also be possible soul-mates as well. However, the flick never throws that idea down our throats and always has us keep wondering whether or not they’ll take the next step into being a couple, or whom is going to do it. It’s pretty interesting to watch their dynamic continue to grow and grow into something more serious over time, but it isn’t all about that. Trust me, no sappy romances between two broken and sad teenagers here. It’s just straight-up friendship, with some sexual tension thrown into the mix. Only some, though.
The only problem with these two feeling and being so natural in front of the screen, is that the others around them do feel like they are trained-professionals at acting, and for that, they kind of ruin this movie. Okay, let me rephrase that: Some of them actually do feel like they’ve been in front of the screen before, and for that, they seem like they are too knowing of what they’re supposed to be doing, whereas it seemed like Hickson and Washington were just being themselves and not even bothering with how they looked on camera. I could say the same for probably one other person in this cast (some dude named Meeko, I think because I’m having a bit hard of a time finding him), but as for the rest of the cast, they all seem to be trying a bit too hard and come off as less natural. And since this is such a small, realistic movie, they stick out like sore thumbs. Especially a girl who goes by the name of Zoë Lescaze, whom plays the preppy chick Malcolm deals drugs to, as she feels like she could have been a very interesting character to develop more, but instead, she rather comes off like a stuck-up, prissy beotch that I used to go to school with and despise sitting next to. Maybe that’s just my own personal problem as it was, and maybe there really wasn’t anything more to her than just money and good-looks, but I don’t know, didn’t like her and felt like they could have just casted some other gal who’d never been in front of the camera before. You know, for shits and gigs, that is.
Consensus: Most likely not going to last in your mind long after its over, especially since it won’t even take up a portion of your day, however, with something as pleasant, as charming, as short and as sweet as Gimme the Loot, it doesn’t matter because you’re too busy smiling and enjoying your time with these characters, who feel like actual, real life human-beings. Who woulda thunk it!?!??!
8 / 10 = Matinee!!