Biographies seem to be popular this year, focusing on a number of people and their “contributions” to society. Today’s biography is more about the horrors of a system than a contribution, but these moments are certainly entertaining. Hi, Robbie K here with another look at the world of movies and what lies in store for the price of a ticket. Let’s get started, as I review:
Movie: White Boy Rick (2018)
Good Acting: Richie Meritt and McConaughey are the central pillars of the movie, holding much of the plot on their shoulders and doing a wonderful job bringing their characters to life. Meritt in particular has to cover a very complex character, borderline between punk kid and individual of poor circumstances. He finds that balance very well, makes for an engaging character and really gives you the full experience of the nightmare that Rick went through. As for McConaughey, he is still the sleazy role, but it’s curbed this time for a respectable character you want to follow. Their chemistry impeccable and the heart of the movie as they integrate with their well casted supporting crew.
The Setting: It is not as far back as Unbroken, but we get dropped right into a reconstructed 80’s hood, where the danger, drugs, and depression lie in wait like a hungry pack of wolves. All the costumes, cars, and buildings were retrofitted to have the look and it works quite well to get you into the setting.
The Drama/Portrayal: White Boy Rick has a lot of details about the young man’s life, and you’ll get to see much of it in this installment. Drama lovers are sure to become entangled in all the messes of Rick’s life, with those liking the Law And Order scenarios enjoying this one the most. This film will give you a lot of the 411 on rick’s life and bring about all the emotions that come with it.
The Music: Surprisingly, the film had a fantastic soundtrack to report on, a mixture of funk, hip-hop, and a little soul to mirror the themes of the movie. It’s upbeat and has toe tapping beats to keep you going, and actually brings a little edge to the scenes themselves. Bravo to the casting director for their selection because it really worked.
The Pace: While slow at times, the movie does a nice job moving through the various years of Rick’s journey to get you to the end game. It is a longer movie, but for the most part it doesn’t feel that slow, or rough to get through all the nuts and bolts of this adventure. Drama lovers of course will not find any of this remotely boring, but if you are not that type and along for the ride, you should find much of this movie entertaining.
The Stereotypical Design: White Boy Rick’s title brings with it a wave of stereotypical portrayals in just about every character in the film. Whether it be the impoverished, the wannabe gangsters, or the gangsters themselves, the movie really hammers the portrayals to such extremes that it gets a bit cheesy. Perhaps this is how the real-life characters were, but if not, the magnification of these personality quirks got annoying for me at times. Even Rick himself crossed that line sometimes, so brace yourselves.
The Lazy Dialogue: Sometimes quite poetic, White Boy Rick’s dialogue is mostly focused on being either really complacent (full of really dumb pronunciations or Rick being an idiot to be funny), or really lazy (F bomb laden rants). For such a deep story, I had hoped for a little more movie magic to buffer out the scratchy, lackluster lines they came up with. McConaughey managed to have some beautifully scripted pieces to work with, and the secondary characters got their fair share of poetry in, but for the most part it was a little too stuffed with normalcy/realism to be impressive for me.
More use Of The Secondary Characters: Rick knew a lot of people, and his family seemed to be a gigantic rock to which he based his decisions on. While the movie captured the key details, I felt they didn’t quite utilize or introduce the characters that well for me. Names were dropped at random, their inclusion was sporadic and I felt many of them had more of a role to play than what was presented. Many of these kingpins and servants could have been epic antagonists to spice up the story, but again my lack of research and not being with Rick means I don’t know who these guys really were.
Disjointed Story: While the movie has covered a lot of Rick’s life story components, the presentation I believe was off for me here too. Each of the issues Rick faced felt compartmentalized, individuals segments that were prematurely closed and then randomly open at intervals that were inconsistent. Yes, you still get the effects presented with the story, but so many pieces without a strong, underlying foundation, led to a weaker representation of what could have been an epic drama. Overall it’s not horrible, but it could have been so much better.
White Boy Rick is one of those movies that has its fair share of drama to exploit and dive into. A fantastic setting with great central acting will be the keystones to bring these events to life and pull those liking drug/crime story lovers into the mix. The problem is, the movie sort of lost itself in the presentation, not giving clear focus on Rick’s character or stories that he had to share and instead giving you snippets into his life. With how much was going on, there could have been a gold mine of a story instead of just some nuggets they portrayed. Still, it gets props for completing the information, and perhaps a director’s cut could improve upon it in the future. As such, this History meets Lifetime Movie presentation can be held until it comes to Redbox, and would highly encourage you to take that route.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.5