Gimme the Loot
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gimme the Loot is a low-budget comedy-drama about two teen graffiti artists in New York City. (The title is borrowed from a Notorious B.I.G. hip-hop song.) Though they're good people at heart, they're shown stealing, selling stolen goods, dealing drugs, smoking pot, and painting graffiti. Language is also very strong, with constant use of words including "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and "p---y." There's a fair bit of sexual innuendo, as well as some kissing and a prematurely interrupted sex scene. Violence is also a minor issue, with a gang of kids grabbing a teen girl, holding her, and "tagging" her T-shirt. There are also several threats and arguments. The characters eventually seem to learn that their behavior is getting them nowhere and that family, friends, and loved ones are more important. Though it's not entirely admirable, many teens will enjoy this movie.
What's the story?
When one of their artworks is defaced, Bronx graffiti artists Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) decide to take on a bigger canvas: the Mets' home run apple. Malcolm knows a guy who can get them inside the ballpark, but he requires $500 in bribe money, which Malcolm and Sofia must raise over the course of a long day. Sofia thinks she can sell some spray paint cans, but she winds up losing her bike. Meanwhile, Malcolm, who deals pot on the side, finds a new opportunity: One of his customers is a rich girl (Zoe Lescaze) with an easily accessible jewelry case. Can Malcolm and Sofia reach their goal, or will New York City wear them down?
Is it any good?
New York writer/director Adam Leon makes a most impressive independent debut with GIMME THE LOOT. Though it's a realistic movie about the African-American experience in New York City, it's also devoid of over-earnestness, documentary realism, shaky-cam effects, hip-hop music, and downbeat hopelessness. Instead, it's a great deal of fun, emotionally touching, and even surprisingly old-fashioned.
It's interesting that Leon doesn't soft-pedal his characters. They may have good hearts, but they most certainly have criminal tendencies: graffiti, stealing, selling stolen goods, dealing drugs, etc. The leads' strong performances help. Likewise, the rest of the characters are nicely complex, despite their brief amounts of screen time, notably Malcolm's fickle, upper-crust customer, who offers an interesting mix of wisdom and cruelty in her character. In the bigger picture, Leon also makes great characters out of New York City's lesser-known neighborhoods.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Gimme the Loot's main characters. Are they role models? Are they good people, despite the ways that they make money and spend their time? Why or why not?
Did you notice any stereotyping in the movie?
Does the movie glorify crime or make it look exciting?
How did you see the movie's ending? Would it have been better for the characters if they had achieved their goal the way they originally planned? What did they learn?