directed by David Andalman and Mariko Munro
writer David Andalman, co-writer Mariko Munro
In mid-1990s America, we follow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and great-great-grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be – black.
Welcome to suburban Washington, DC, circa 1995. OJ’s gloves don't fit, Tupac and Biggie are feuding, and a half-Jewish teenager named Jolie (Tyler Ross) watches it all go down on TV when he's taking a break from Nintendo.
Jolie's secretly hooking up with Henrietta (Shareeka Epps), a black girl adopted by a hippy-dippy white family who pays him to tutor her in algebra. Henrietta has a dubious sexual past, she's pregnant with someone else's baby, but Jolie is into that. It’s kinda thugged out, and it's all he has going for him.
When a couple of varsity basketball players get arrested, Jolie finds himself - finally - on the team. New status comes with new friends and the advances of a hot cheerleader, Christine (Georgia Ford). But Jolie can’t detach himself from Henrietta, either. To Jolie, Henrietta's life is like an epic Tupac verse. His best friend Haroon (Eshan Bay) struggles to keep up with Jolie's love triangle, hoping he won't get left behind.
Haroon’s only respite from Jolie's drama and nemesis teacher Mr. McCarty (Leo Fitzpatrick) is the time he spends on Netscape Navigator. Thank god for this new thing called the world wide web! Arius, varsity’s star player, (Nuri
Hazzard) shares Haroon’s interest in the Internet, but not as a consumer - he’s busy pioneering an online business venture, an endeavor that could unravel Jolie’s perception of what it means to live the "thug life."
Through Jolie’s semi-charmed rise to popularity, the characters in Milkshake are forced to confront all the injustices of this new American world - the tyranny of race, sexuality, class, religion, and the most ineluctable one of all - coolness. It's hard being a pimp, but it's even harder being a teenager.
David Andalman's Director's Statement:
I was born on the black side of the tracks in Hattiesburg Mississippi. Later, partially for better schools, my family moved to the racially charged suburbs of Washington DC. Ironically, while my parents were out fighting for civil rights as lawyers, I felt like a 'bama' for being white. I wanted the American Dream like my idols Tupac and Biggie, I wanted to fight to the top against all odds like Mike Tyson or at least get an excused absence from class to go to the Million Man March like all my minority friends. I prayed to God I would somehow fit in and not be so lonely.
I clung to the half-Jewish side of my identity, which I associated with WW2 and Hollywood. I watched a lot of great movies - gravitating toward Menace to Society, and Boys in the Hood, but also loving oldies like Von Ryan's Express, and The Dirty Dozen. It was funny but having a movie on was a wild experience. Like having someone in the room. And at the same time living out the American Dream through someone else's story. Later in high school, as I dug deeper into cinema, it was characters and story that defied convention, like Telly in Kids, or Dawn 'Wiener-Dog' in Welcome to the Dollhouse that I was drawn to the most. They were the most flawed, which fascinated me, maybe because I felt the same way. But also because these movies were too the underdog, they were fighting for a different kind of movie, not just pure escapism.
In retrospect I recognize both how lucky I was, and how media shapes our lives. How the characters and stories I was most attracted to shaped who I'd become. Milkshake is drawn from these realizations. It explores how teenage friends experience social inequities growing up in suburban Washington DC in the 90's, how media miseducates them along the way, and how they fumble to come to terms with the basic fact that life's simply not fair.
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Director David Andalman and Mariko Munro
Producer Mariko Munro and David Andalman
Writer David Andalman, Co-writer Mariko Munro
Starring Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Eshan Bay, Georgia Ford, Danny Burstein, and Leo Fitzpatrick
full list of credits here on imdb