Movie Review: How To Make Money Selling Drugs (2013)
Who doesn’t want to learn how to make money? Who doesn’t want to learn how to sell drugs? Why not combine the two? How To Make Money Selling Drugs is a documentary that purports to be able to do just that. What results is a film that is high on promise and middling on execution. Drugs features Hollywood stars like Susan Sarandon, 50 Cent and “The Wire” creator David Simon waxing on drugs and the politics behind them. The film centers around a structure of how you or I can sell drugs to make money from beginning as a small timer to becoming a mogul/czar who’s worth millions, if not billions. I’m in!
There is a multi-step methodology (something like 8 steps) which serve as chapters in the doc, essentially. The film begins with someone who started out as a kid in his teens looking up to guys who took and sold drugs, getting involved as a runner. Then the runner gets his own stash, then the man with the stash gets a corner and learns how to dodge/deal with the cops, eventually becoming a local star dealer then going overseas and importing and finally becoming above the law, or something along those lines. Various personalities, read: dealers and the like, talk about their experiences in the process at different levels. For instance, a Compton gang member is a focus on an earlier level, whereas a Mexican cartel-type dude is at the final level.
Some of this is comical and ridiculous, while other parts are certainly eye-opening, if not entirely entertaining. Then there is Susan Sarandon, speaking on her experiences with drugs and how some should be legal. A cop turned activist features prominently on how to game the system and catch corrupt cops. Then David Simon waxes on how government and lawmakers are abusing the system for political gain costing the country billions of dollars. Some of this is maddening and scary, quite frankly, while other parts amusing or glossed over.
The film tries to do too much and goes too many places, eventually finishing with Eminem talking about his drug addiction, which while semi-interesting to me as a fan, has little to do with the promise of the premise so to speak. In the end, there is considerable food for thought, but if this was broken down into a 4-part mini-series (for example) by a more talented filmmaker, there would be more meat to chew on ultimately. It is an eye-catching title and you may want to buy in, but in practice a little too thin in the meat and potatoes areas that are described. It’s worth seeing but asks far more questions than it answers. I guess I won’t be slanging crack rock soon, however tempting it may be.