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Friday's Treatment of Social Issues


The movie Friday is a comedy, but it also depicts many important 
social issues. The story is set in the city of Los Angeles, 
California, in what could be called a high class ghetto. The main 
theme of the movie is about a young black man who looses his job and 
is influenced by his best friend to smoke marijuana. The movie also 
shows the relationships of his family and other members of his 
neighborhood. With a zany cast of characters and a hilarious script 
this movie touches on everything from gang v lence to the use of 
drugs, crime, guns, relationships, sex and life in the ghetto. Because 
of all these issues, I found this an interesting movie with a wide 
variety of topics to address.

 Marijuana has been around for a long time. It's use is once again 
becoming popular. Although it's not legal, many people use it socially 
and for medicinal purposes. The Hollywood elite smoke it. Musicians 
such as Dr. Dre and the Black Crows celebra it's use. Television shows 
like Saturday Night Live and Kids In the Hall depict it as harmless 
fun. Marijuana fashion has grown into a ten million dollar industry, 
with the seven branch marijuana leaf showing up on caps, T-shirts, 
earrings and tattoos. Studies show that after a decade of declining 
drug use, marijuana use has increased sharply among gh school students 
and college students in the last two years (Duschbaun 8).

 In the movie Friday, rap star Ice Cube plays the character Craig. 
Craig has never smoked marijuana. However, his best friend "Smokey" 
smokes marijuana everyday. Craig looses his job, leaving him home all 
day with nothing to do to occupy his time. H just hangs out in the 
neighborhood with his friends. Smokey tries to convince Craig to try 
some marijuana. At first Craig doesn't want to. Smokey is persistent. 
He points out to Craig that he doesn't have to work and doesn't have 
anything better to . Craig and Smokey eventually sit on the front 
porch and get stoned. Peer pressure is obviously the only reason Craig 
gives in. Actually he had other options, but he chose not to use them. 
Common sense and a simple explanation would have worked for aig just 
fine (How to Say No and Keep Your Friends 23) Everyday we are faced 
with choices. It is up to us to decide what's right and wrong. Craig 
decides to try it and things start to happen that he really doesn't 

 Craig and Smokey get into some trouble with the neighborhood 
dealer, Big Worm. Smokey sells pot for him, but can't pay him the 
money he owes because he and Craig smoked the pot. Big Worm threatens 
them and sends a gang of "hoods" after them with mach e guns. They 
just barely escape and are scared shitless. The amount of gang 
violence that can be contributed to the use and sale of illegal drugs 
has risen dramatically in the past seven years (Gates 67). It's no 
wonder that this is happening with th use of marijuana becoming so 
popular again. Violence and crime are issues we hear about every day. 
We can watch any news broadcast and see the evidence of these 
increasingly worrisome problems. In Friday, both of these issues are 
very apparent. Debone, the neighborhood thief and "bully" is co tantly 
harassing the people in Craig's neighborhood. He breaks into their 
homes, steals their possessions, beats people up to take their jewelry 
and other items and is just generally a pain in everyones ass. He is 
the most violent person in the movie Craig gets into a fight with him 
and pulls a gun on Debone. Craig feels confused and not sure what to 
do. His father convinces him to give him the gun. He insists that 
Craig should fight like a man with his fists. I don't think that was 
very good a ice. Debone was twice as big as Craig and probably 100 
pounds heavier. They do fight and surprisingly Craig wins. You would 
think that most problems can be solved without violent acts. The 
reality is that sometimes, under certain circumstances, that ust 
doesn't work. Obviously, this was one of those times.

 Sexual promiscuity was also depicted in this movie. Craig's 
neighbor has an affair with a preacher. His sisters friend sleeps 
around to get drugs. Smokey puts the moves on anything in a skirt. To 
so blatantly condone this kind of behavior is repulsive. With the 
rampant spread of the Aids virus and other sexually transmitted 
diseases anyone with common sense would know better than to behave in 
this manner. Unwanted pregnancies and the abortion rate or serious 
issues that should also be considered. Craig seemed to have a loving 
and supportive family. His dad was a real trip. His ideas about how to 
handle certain situations were a bit far-fetched, but he meant well. 
Because there was no indication of what age the kids in the movie 
were, it's ha to comment on how the parents should have advised their 
kids. I do know that quite a few of the kids' actions were 
questionable, even illegal. For example, if these kids were minors 
they would all be considered unruly. Unruliness is an offense that ly 
a minor can commit (Fessler 105). All the kids in the movie were 
disobedient, smoked pot and acted in ways their parents should have 
been responsible to control. Both of Craig's parents worked, which 
left the kids unsupervised the majority of the time. Some of the 
parents in the movie also set terrible examples for their kids. 
Smokey's mom locked him out of the house so she could have sex with 
her male friends. She also got high and disregarded her parental 
responsibility to her kids. Although the area where Craig and his 
friends lived didn't look like what we might picture a ghetto to look 
like in our minds, it was still a ghetto. Poverty and other social 
issues make it what it is.......a very depressing and frustrating 
place to live. Because of all the negative ways of life including 
crime, violence, gangs, drugs and all the other things I've referred 
to in this paper, I would conclude this would not be the kind of 
lifestyle I would choose to live. Unfortunately, many of the people 
that live under these conditions don't have a choice. They are most 
often born into these situations or faced with dealing with them 
because of financial struggle or lack of resources to change their 
ways of life. We can consider ourselves fortunat to not have to deal 
with these kinds of problems on a daily basis. That is not to say that 
ALL people in the ghetto stay there. There are some who work hard and 
get the education or training they need to escape this kind of 
lifestyle. Where there's will there's a way and depending on how 
strongly they want out, it can happen.

 All in all this movie was pretty entertaining. I wouldn't suggest 
it for kids who might be influenced in a negative way by the things 
that happened or who are not mature enough to know the difference 
between right and wrong. The movie does portray a t of negative issues 
as being acceptable. This could be harmful to young kids who are 
influenced by peer pressure and this kind of nonchalant attitude 
toward breaking the law. It is up to us to determine what is okay for 
our youth. Parents should de rmine if this would be acceptable for 
their kids to view.

 Friday is an entertaining, yet morally questionable flick. The 
social issues it depicts are many. Viewing it also raised a lot of 
questions on how the movie industry doesn't care what they produce. 
They are interested solely in making money. Their ob is to entertain 
us. They have accomplished that with this movie. It made me laugh, but 
because of this assignment it made me realize that comedy was not the 
important part of seeing this movie. Realizing how people live and 
relate to each other is ritical in understanding our society on the 
whole. Recognizing this is how we can begin to make positive changes 
to things that are wrong and improve our lives in general. 


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