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Film / Blow

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Blow is a 2001 Biopic about the life of George Jung, a cocaine dealer from the 1970s. Starring Johnny Depp, Franka Potente, Penélope Cruz, and Paul Reubens.

This film portrays the main events in George Jung's life. The film begins in the early 1950s, where George's father goes into bankruptcy, and George vows to himself that he will never be poor like his father. Next we see George move to Southern California, where he and his friend Tuna discover the profitable business of dealing marijuana. George goes on to delve deeper and deeper into the business of drug dealing, which results in great wealth, but disastrous consequences.

This film was written by David McKenna, and directed by the late Ted Demme.

This film provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Diego Delgado.
  • Amicable Exes: Discussed. After one of their after school walks, George asks Mirtha if they can be on better terms for the sake of Kristina.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Fred and Ermine didn't have a happy marriage. Ermine would always complain that Fred didn't make enough money for her liking and she would leave every now and then to get away from it all. And no matter what, Fred forgave her.
    • After getting busted at his birthday and learning that his drug money was seized, George and Mirtha become this. While she didn't leave like Ermine, Mirtha didn't hide her bitterness over not having the money they used to.
  • Based on a True Story: For the most part.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Being a drug dealer doesn't bring happiness to George's life. He gets to enjoy wealth for a while...then he's cut off from his suppliers, all his ill-gotten money is seized, he's arrested, his relationship with his parents (at least his mother) falls apart, his marriage crumbles, and in the end, he's sentenced to 60 years in prison just as he begins to bond with his daughter.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Derek Foreal's attitude towards George while taking part in his betrayal.
  • Big Fancy House: George and Mirtha live in one of these... for a while.
  • Biopic: Of drug dealer, George Jung.
  • Birds of a Feather: George has this with both of Barbara and Mirtha.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: George's first drug team. After Barbara's death, they all broke up and went their separate ways.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Briefcases full of money, boxes full of money, bags full of money. There is lots and lots of money.
  • The Cameo: Bobcat Goldthwait appears in the scene measuring the purity of cocaine.
    • George's Jung's daughter Kristina appears as a clerk.
  • Camp Gay: Paul Ruebens as Derek Foreal.
  • Character Narrator: George narrates the entire story.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kevin Dulli, George's and Tuna's friend from Massachusetts. He isn't seen since Barbara's death but appears later and plays a role in George going to prison for the third time.
  • Cool Car: A fleet of them in George and Mirtha's yard.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Ted Demme as Arch, George's lawyer that gives him a tape recorder.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: Barbara, foreshadowing her terminal illness.
  • Disappeared Dad: George becomes this after being busted with cocaine in his car and sentenced to three years in jail. Naturally, when they meet again, Kristina is not all that thrilled to bond with her first. Unfortunately, he becomes this again after he is betrayed by his team and is sentenced to 60 years in jail.
  • Domestic Abuse: Diego slapped his girlfriend/future wife during an argument.
  • Downer Ending: George loses everything over the course of his journey: his wealth, his family, his wife, and he's sentenced to 60 years in prison just as he was beginning to bond with Kristina. Although in Real Life, he was paroled after serving 20 years.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The Aesop that people should take from the film. By the same token, despite George's having to ultimately pay for his sins, it makes the ritzy lifestyle look awfully tempting.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Drug dealers aren't noted for being great parents.
  • First Love: George's first girlfriend, Barbara, was this for him and her death took a toll on him.
  • Flipping the Bird: George does this in his mugshot.
  • Follow the Leader: In-Universe and Discussed. George points out that if musicians and actors start doing cocaine, everyone else will follow.
  • Freudian Excuse: The main reason behind George's desire to make money was because his mother would always complain of not having enough of it and walk out on the family. Plus, his father went bankrupt at some point as well.
  • Freeze-Frame Introduction: The movie starts with an Opening Monologue in which the hero and his best bud are introduced via a still frame.
  • Generation Xerox: Unfortunately, George continues the pattern of his parents' dysfunctional marriage after marrying Mirtha, mirroring the scene where the mother is mad over money problems at the dinner table.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: George makes this mistake after dealing cocaine.
  • Gonna Need More X:
    George: (looking for place to put their money) Where do I put it?
    Diego: Uh.. Try the back bedroom.
    George: No room.
    Diego: Try the closet.
    George: Uhh... We're gonna need a bigger boat.
  • Good Parents: Deconstructed. While Fred was a loving and caring father for George during his childhood, it didn't change the dysfunctional environment his son grew up in.
  • Good-Times Montage: Twice. Each one after George's success in dealing first weed then cocaine, in the form of pictures.
  • Greed: George's desire to not live a poor life comes to hurt him later on.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Played With, as George was obviously quite happy with smuggling and dealing marijuana in California and New England... but it was only after he was sent to prison for it that he learned about cocaine and just how lucrative dealing that would be.
  • Historical Beauty Update: The incredibly attractive Johnny Depp as George Jung (The makeup people do uglify Depp for his final scene.)
  • Honor Among Thieves: George is a criminal, but takes care of his friends. He brings more money than promised to the pot farmer, and he says to Escobar that he won't do anything without Diego.
  • How We Got Here: The film begin's with George's final drug deal before the story going back to his childhood and following his drug career at the start proper.
  • Hypocrite:
    • George tells Mirtha to stop snorting cocaine since she's pregnant even though he does the same thing. Mirtha even calls him out on it.
    • When Mirtha visits George in prison and informing him that she plans to divorce him and ask for alimony, she wants some kind of response from him. He replies that he has none since he's in prison. Mirtha then calls him selfish and always thinking about himself...even though she is more selfish than he.
  • I Have No Son!: George's mom is not happy about the way he makes a living.
  • Ironic Echo: "It was perfect."
  • It's All About Me: Ermine has a huge case of this. She would always complain about Fred not making enough money for her (not for the family). And the main reason she called the cops on her son was because of how embarrassing it was for her to have a drug-dealing son.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite her selfish motive for calling the police to arrest her son, Ermine wasn't wrong on that George had to change his life.
  • Kubrick Stare: A less menacing version, when George is busted for the last time.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Deconstructed. Kristina becomes George's "heart" and the main reason he stops drug dealing. But after being released from prison the second time, he has to make enough money so he can make alimony and child support for her. Thus, leads him back to drug dealing...leading to being arrested again.
  • The Masochism Tango: George and Mirtha do spend an awful lot of time fighting. And there's very brief flashes of S&M stuff.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Besides the small moment of How We Got Here, the film opens up with a young George and why he never wanted to be poor.
  • Nice Girl: Barbara, Maria, and the other California girls.
  • Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. George loves Kristina so much he was willing to quit his drug business and go back to it if it meant he could spend time with her even more.
  • Parents as People: Not one of the Jung parents are perfect people. George's parents are dysfunctional (mom is selfish and leaves from time to time, father always forgives her). Mirtha is a selfish woman like her (ex) mother-in-law. And George may be trying to go straight after the birth of Kristina, but that doesn't erase his mistakes.
  • Pet the Dog: With all the selfish attitude she exhibits, Mirtha genuinely asks George if he's okay after he drops off their daughter.
  • Pool Scene: When George buys his first house in Mexico.
  • Rags to Riches: George goes for a poor kid to a wealthy drug dealer. Up until his birthday party...
  • Riches to Rags: After getting busted for the second time at his birthday party, all of the money George got from his drug dealing days were appropriated by the Panamanian government.
  • "Rise and Fall" Gangster Arc: The first half of the movie shows George graduate from smuggling marijuana to coke, his lavish lifestyle, and run-ins with flamboyant drug figures including Pablo Escobar himself. Later, we see George lose all of his money after another prison stint, his betrayal by his best friends, and eventual estrangement from his daughter.
  • Rule of Three: George is sentenced to jail three times in the film.
  • Second Love: Mirtha is this to George, but it didn't work out since his second bust so she divorced him while he was in prison.
  • Shout-Out: Johnny Depp driving realllyyy fast through the desert with a vehicle full of dope.
  • Team Power Walk: Johnny Depp in a white turtleneck and trench coat, rockin' 70s sideburns, to "Black Betty." Ram-a-lam.
  • Time Skip: A lot of them during the movie, ranging from days to years.
  • Uptown Girl: In the intro, it was mentioned that Ermine came from a higher social status than Fred. This is deconstructed since the lack of her husband making a lot of money was the main reason their marriage and family life was dysfunctional.
  • Villain Protagonist: While George is a friendly, honorable, and loyal guy, he's still a drug dealer whose actions accelerated the cocaine trade in the United States.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    • When George is in the courtroom the first night before he finds out that Barbara's sick, the words that he is reciting to convince the judge that he is innocent are lines from "It Ain't Me Babe" by Bob Dylan and "Pretty Boy Floyd" by Woody Guthrie.
    • George's last line, "There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door" is a reference to "Lucky Man" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Of course, "white horses" and "pretty ladies" are often used as euphemisms for cocaine and cannabis, respectively.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: George's childhood friend and former weed partner, Tuna, is never seen again. It was mentioned by George he stayed in Mexico after Barbara's death, but his life afterwards is a mystery.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Diego slaps his girlfriend/future wife during an argument.
    • Pablo Escobar tells George that had an untrustworthy informant not accepted execution, the man's wife (and children)would've been killed instead.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Pablo Escobar tells George that had an untrustworthy informant not accepted execution, the man's children (and wife) would've been killed instead.