Guilty by Association (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Whoa, did I get suckered in by this one. I'm pickin' up all the worthwhile new releases at Blockbuster this week, and here's this movie sitting there with a picture of Morgan Freeman on the cover. The DVD box has been beautifully engineered to look like a clone of Along Came a Spider or Kiss the Girls, with Freeman dominating the box, staring meaningfully and compassionately off into the unknown. I should have wondered why I never heard of the movie, but what the hell, I can't keep track of every movie everywhere, so I figured it just slipped by me.

Turns out it is a confusing, no-budget black urban street drama shot on DV, indistinguishable from about a zillion similar films in the new releases section at Blockbuster (with exactly one copy of each on the shelf). Morgan's part is almost irrelevant. I guess it was a vanity project financed by the rap group Section 8 Mob.


Two stripper/prostitutes show their breasts and one shows her labia majora when she removes her bottom.

One thing I noticed in this film is that we white guys need more colorful names. Other races are creating an all-important nickname gap which we may never be able to close. It all started with Hawaii 5-0, which featured Zulu as Kono. How much cooler is that than "Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett"? But this film kicks Hawaiian butt. Check out these credits:

I found it difficult to understand the dialect, the editing was confusing (including some obvious continuity errors like a stripper's top going back on), and one guy plays two parts, so I'm not too sure what the hell this film was about, but the plot is something like this:

Two friends work their way up from the streets through the rackets. The one guy gets a big head, starts to show off his wealth, and recklessly attracts the attention of the cops. They nab him, then he rats out his friend. A gang war results. A little girl dies.

Then Morgan Freeman comes out as a police captain, and looks soulfully into the distance, and pontificates about how "evil" is bad and certainly worse than "good", because good is better, and it would therefore be much better if we had more good and less evil. He muses that we should accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative and not mess with Mr In-Between.

DVD info from Amazon

  • 4/3 aspect ratio

  • no meaningful features

Then Morgan thinks about the crimes in a musical montage, solves them, punches the timeclock, and collects his paycheck. To be fair, I can't believe Morgan did this for money, because they couldn't have paid him enough to make it worth scheduling around, and he certainly couldn't have done it because he was attracted by the aesthetics of the project. So I'm guessing that he has a friend or relative involved somewhere, and he agreed to appear for a couple of minutes as a favor to someone who felt that Morgan's face on the DVD box would trick some old white farts into renting it at Blockbuster.

That may be sleazy, but it sure ain't stupid!

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D. Morgan Freeman is in it and some scenes are photographed quite well. No other reason to watch it.

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