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Film: “Friday” (1995), directed by F. Gary Gray (who the same year won the VMA for his work on TLC’s music video for “Waterfalls”), was co-written and stars Ice Cube as Craig, and debuts Chris Tucker as Smokey. It was a box office success, made only on a budget of $3.5 million, it drew $28 million worldwide, and resulted in two sequels, “Next Friday” (2000) and “Friday After Next” (2002). It also has remained relevant in the pop culture zeitgeist, as one of the films minor lines (Craig saying “Bye Felicia” to a character named Felicia) became a commonly used phrase, and even exists in the unofficial internet dictionary (dictionary.com) as meaning ” a dismissive term which can be used in a number of different contexts. Most simply and frequently, it is used as a cold way to bid someone a less-than-fond farewell.”
Supposedly, on December 7th, 2008, popular website dedicated to defining slang, Urban Dictionary, had a user named “pimpin’817” submit an entry for the phrase “bye felicia” as a way to bid adieu for someone unimportant. But the phrase gained more traction when YouTuber Mamclol uploaded a video titled “Bye Felicia” which actually featured a clip from the film, with an accompanying hip hop track about said character, on October 27th, 2011. On August 4th, 2014 the phrase was discussed on the radio talk show, “One Air With Ryan Seacrest” by guest Nicole Richie. Further, a scene where the two leads lean back and exclaim, “Damn” in unison was also turned into a sensation, as an Internet meme. There was a YouTube video clip of the scene uploaded in December 17th, 2017, by user named Meme Fountain, which was called “Friday – Movie Scene – “DAMN” – Meme Source.” Esteemed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino calls “Friday” one of his favorite movies that came out between 1992 to 2009.
In a sense, “Friday” became considered a cult classic since it’s release and it is not difficult to see why. Following a series of “hood” movies that unearthed the heavy realities of the inevitable violence that exists in communities across America, this film was a breathe of fresh air. The landscape is the same, though. In fact, the cast and crew were banned from wearing any red clothing of any kind for fear of being mistaken as being sympathetic to the Bloods street gang, while they were deep in Crips territory, who are known for wearing blue bandannas. This film approaches the same environment with non-stop easy comedy, nonchalant pacing and quirky, memorable characters.
On a Friday afternoon in South Central Los Angeles, Craig Jones loses his job as a mailman for being suspected of stealing boxes, and returns home to hear complaints from his parents and jests from his sister (John Witherspoon, Anna Maria Horsford and Regina King, respectively). He is cheered by his best friend Smokey, as the two hang out in the neighborhood and watch the day go by. Smokey is a snappy and goofy local pothead who gets into trouble with his dealer, and in an attempt to get out of it, incriminates Craig. The plot takes loops and turns as the pair tries to settle their debts and survive the night.
It is genuinely funny with charming characters played by Nia Long, Paula Jai Parker, Faizon Love and more. Chris Tucker was circling the local Los Angeles comedy scene, making a brief debut in “House Party 3” (1994), but this film is what propelled his career to the household name that he is today. Improvising most of the dialogue, he is impressively naturalistic and works as the ideal compliment to Ice Cube’s quieter magnetism. “Friday” was a hit upon release and only continues to prove its worth as time goes on. Hilarious and delightful.