If you’ve ever laughed at something you thought was a joke, only to be horrified midchuckle at some tragic, serious element you had missed, then you’re prepared for Whiteboys. It stuns with the starkness of its confessions, shocks with the pure gall of its subjectivity, horrifies and entertains with its depictions of complete ignorance. But most of all, it does a damn fine job of trying to tell the truth.

The star and co-writer of Whiteboys, Danny Hoch, is a New York stage performer who is well-known for two popular performance pieces Some People and Jails, Hospitals & Hip Hop. The latter served as a basis for this movie, inspiring Hoch’s character, Flip, an identity-craving white teen who spends his time drinking 40-ouncers, smoking blunts and just watching the corn grow with his boys, the Iowa Gangsta Blood Thugs.

The movie opens with the three wannabe white rappers – Flip, Trevor (Mark Webber) and James (Dash Mihok) – spray painting a dilapidated barn with graffiti against a backdrop of open fields. As if they were living in some BET music video fantasy, the boys hone their ridiculous, fake mic, spit-throwing rap in basements, living rooms, pickup trucks and at outdoor parties where Flip – who thinks he’s black "inside" – claims to be reprazentin’ something. Of course, that something remains as unknown to the viewer as it is to Flip himself. The only really clear fact is that it’s a lot easier to daydream about eating strawberries with Snoop Dogg in prison than facing the reality of your unemployed dad throwing his last glass of scotch at you for being such a loser.

Whiteboys is that brand of reality and unreality, confrontation and denial, all bumping up against one another. Flip’s mission to "keep it real" culminates in Chicago’s Cabrini Green projects where he finds a drug dealer named Darius (Bonz Malone) and proves that a white kid’s Berlitz crash course in rap-ese only gets you Snoop and strawberries in your dreams.

E-mail comments to [email protected].

Scroll to read more Arts Stories & Interviews articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.