Gridlock'd is a 1997 American black comedy crime film written and directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall and starring Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth, Lucy Liu, and Thandie Newton. It was the directorial debut of Curtis-Hall, who also has a small role in the film. The film's opening was relatively low, despite critical acclaim; its opening weekend netted only $2,678,372 and it finished with a little over $5.5 million.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vondie Curtis-Hall|
|Written by||Vondie Curtis-Hall|
|Music by||Stewart Copeland|
|Edited by||Christopher Koefoed|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
|Box office||$5.6 million|
Set in Detroit, Gridlock'd centers around heroin addicts Spoon (Tupac Shakur), Stretch (Tim Roth) and Cookie (Thandie Newton). They are in a band – in the spoken word genre – called Eight Mile Road, with Cookie on vocals, Spoon on bass guitar (plus secondary vocals) and Stretch on piano. Spoon and Stretch decide to kick their habit after Cookie overdoses on her first hit. Throughout a disastrous day, the two addicts dodge police and local criminals while struggling with an apathetic government bureaucracy that thwarts their entrance to a rehabilitation program.
It's largely autobiographical, with a lot of it coming from the time when I was a teenager in Detroit, playing guitar and singing in bands. Everybody was doing drugs. That was the way we thought we could play faster guitar, write better songs ... One day my best friend, the bassist, and I were sitting around and decided that maybe we could actually play better if we weren't stoned all the time. Next day, we went to try and get into rehab. We were doing a bit of everything and were both sixteen, living with our folks, so we couldn't give our address in case they got to know about what we were doing. So we ended up wandering around from place to place, no one giving us any help. I remembered that when it came to writing my first movie.— Vondie Curtis-Hall
It wasn't that easy because it was about smack, which is a bit of a taboo subject here. And people were expecting it to be a real depressing movie about a couple of dope fiends ... Then PolyGram had just put Trainspotting out and were like, 'We can't do two movies about heroin.' I didn't know anything about Trainspotting. It didn't mean shit to me ... It's like saying you can't do two romantic comedies. Then Tupac's record company came up with the money and PolyGram turned around and said, 'Hey, we always liked this movie' (laughs). That's the way it usually goes in Hollywood. Tim was doing Rob Roy in Scotland when I sent him the script. He read it on the plane back and got on board straight away. It was either him or Gary Oldman. It took about another six months to get Tupac because he'd just got out of jail and nobody wanted to touch him. But there was this one company that really wanted to do the film with Tupac and, once they okayed it, things got a little easier. But he wasn't the first choice ... Larry Fishburne wanted to do it, but we couldn't afford him. I can't see anybody else in the movie now apart from Tupac. He and Tim are so perfect together.— Vondie Curtis-Hall
- Tupac Shakur as Ezekiel "Spoon" Whitmore
- Tim Roth as Alexander "Stretch" Rawland
- Lucy Liu as Cee-Cee
- Thandie Newton as Barbara "Cookie" Cook
- Charles Fleischer as Mr. Woodson
- Bokeem Woodbine as Mud
- Howard Hesseman as Blind man
- John Sayles as Cop #1
- Eric Payne as Cop #2
- Tom Towles as D-Reper's Henchman
- Tom Wright as Koolaid
- Billie Neal as Medicaid woman #1
- James Pickens Jr. as Supervisor
- Debra Wilson as Medicaid woman #2
- Rusty Schwimmer as Medicaid nurse
- Richmond Arquette as Resident doctor
- Elizabeth Peña as Admissions person
- Kasi Lemmons as Madonna
- Vondie Curtis-Hall as D-Reper
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
The New York Times editor Janet Maslin praised Shakur's performance: "He played this part with an appealing mix of presence, confidence and humor". Desson Howe, for the Washington Post, wrote, "Shakur and Roth, who seem born for these roles, are allowed to take charge – and have fun doing it". USA Today gave the film three out of four stars and felt that Hall had not "latched onto a particularly original notion of city blight. But he knows how to mine the humor in such desperation".
Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Gridlock'd doesn't have the imaginative vision of a movie like Trainspotting, yet it's more literally true to the haphazard torpor of the junkie life than anything we've seen on screen since Drugstore Cowboy ... Curtis-Hall has caught the bottom-feeder enervation of heroin addiction."
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 88% approval rating based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 6.75/10.
Gridlock'd debuted at #9 at the US box office with $2,678,372.
- "Gridlock'd". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- Upton, Sam (July 1997). "Smack is a bit of a taboo subject over here". Select: 113.
- Maslin, Janet (January 29, 1997). "And You Thought Recovery Was Serious Business". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- Howe, Desson (January 31, 1997). "'Gridlock'd': Surprisingly Footloose". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- Wloszczyna, Susan (January 29, 1997). "Late Rapper and Roth Animate Gridlock'd". USA Today.
- Gleiberman, Owen (January 31, 1997). "Gridlock'd". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- "Gridlock'd (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
- Puig, Claudia (February 3, 1997). "Pulling Far, Far Away From the Pack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 26, 2010.