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Slam (1998)

R | | Drama | 7 October 1998 (USA)
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Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City. Unable to find a job, Ray copes with the despair and poverty of ... See full summary »

Director:

Marc Levin

Writers:

Marc Levin (story), Richard Stratton (story) | 5 more credits »
Reviews
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Saul Williams ... Ray Joshua
Sonja Sohn ... Lauren Bell
Bonz Malone Bonz Malone ... Hopha
Lawrence Wilson Lawrence Wilson ... Big Mike
Beau Sia ... Jimmy Huang
Andre Taylor Andre Taylor ... China
Momolu Stewart Momolu Stewart ... Bay (Jail Rapper)
Ron Jones Ron Jones ... Do Wop Cop
Reamer Shedrick Reamer Shedrick ... Do Wop Cop
Allan E. Lucas Allan E. Lucas ... Chief C.O.
Dominic Chianese Jr. ... Officer Dom
Jerome Goldman Jerome Goldman ... Jail Class Poet 'Why'
DJ Renegade DJ Renegade ... Party Poet 'Diminuendo in Blue'
Liza Jessie Peterson Liza Jessie Peterson ... Slam Poet 'Ice Cream'
Taylor Mali Taylor Mali ... Slam Poet 'Like'
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Storyline

Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City. Unable to find a job, Ray copes with the despair and poverty of his neighborhood by using his wits and verbal talent. Written by Offline Publicist

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Words make sense of a world that won't. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, a sex scene and brief violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rozgrywka See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,887, 11 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$982,214, 20 December 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Ray is on his way to the poetry night, he gets on the metro at the Cleveland Park station, rides, and gets off at the metro at the same station: Cleveland Park. See more »

Quotes

Jail Class Poet: I shot motherfuckers then I didn't know why. I guess I just wanted to see somethin' die.
See more »

Soundtracks

Primary Inversion
Performed by DJ Spooky (as DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid)
Written by DJ Spooky (as Paul D. Miller)
Under license from Asphodel Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Slam movie review from Blackstone student
23 May 2010 | by liljohn12171See all my reviews

In the remarkable racial film Slam by Mark Levin shows firsthand how other forces define us. In the movie a young man named Ray Joshua gets caught up in this stereotypical generation, while gang violence and drug dealing causes Ray to become another statistic in his society. This inspirational tale lets the viewer see how people in different surroundings can be faulted so easily based on their race, neighborhood, and level of threat to society. Ray makes the best of it when he stumbles upon a passion for slam poetry which changes his whole perspective on life.

When Ray participates in a drug deal gone bad and is arrested for possession of a controlled substance and suspicion of homicide, he starts to realize the odds of him fighting this and winning his freedom back is slim to none. While in jail he is defined as a typical African American drug dealer but he begins to fight back when he finds a way to resolve a fight between to gangs by blessing them with his free written poetic rap which talks about the forces that try define him. Ray fights back and attempts to change the way he lives his life by trying to end the revenge between the people that shot his friend in a drug deal gone bad. Not even the violence can define Ray as he uses his imagination to express all his feelings through poetry. He begins to go down the right path when he gets out of jail and does everything in his power to live above society's definition of him and try to better his surroundings. He does this when he stands up to his enemies and explains that revenge is pointless and they should just squash their beef.

Extra Credit One theme I saw replay itself in the movie is how the public views people like Ray and how these people fall right into societies trap because it's the only way they know. Nobody expects for these Washington D.C. punks to ever grow out of the ghetto and make something better of themselves. Ray really proves his society wrong when he shows everyone that he can be a good person and he expresses this through his poetry which opens up a whole new group of people who teach him the typical or expected way isn't always the way to go. Society views Ray and his community as "public enemies number one" because everyone assumes they will all just become drug dealers or killers and end up in jail. This is a horrible stereotype that is seen everywhere in the world and can define the people in the ghetto. It takes a strong man to live above this definition and try to make something better of himself.

My favorite part in this movie is when Ray attempts to stop or delay a fight about to break out in the jail yard. I loved this part because anyone can write a poem and make it rhyme, but it takes a strong motivated individual to use his poetry as a way to make people think about the decisions they make and ultimately put a stop to a deadly situation. I can relate to when Ray was meeting with his public defender and he was given the ultimatum of either going to trial and fear losing or pleading guilty for less time even if he was guilty. When I was in eighth grade I worked at a concession stand at a football field where I was accused of stealing money. I denied stealing the money and I was told either I admit to stealing the money and giving it back or they were going to call the cops. I told them to call the cops because I knew I was innocent. About a week later I got a call from the woman who runs the concession stand and she explained that another worker and her own son had admitted to stealing the money. I felt helpless when I was given an ultimatum because I realized that when people don't believe you, you could be paying the consequences for another person's wrong doing. I could tell that Ray felt helpless and trapped in between two negative outcomes. This film sends the viewers a message that if you don't try to better yourself from the people around you, then you will fall into societies definition of a typical ghetto troublemaker. I would recommend this film because it urges the importance of living above what's expected of you and I think a lot of young kids these days don't realize that.


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