Thread: Bodied premiere
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:54 AM   #21
The Wrist
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here's a write up from The Ringer. Looks like I may have to eat my words about this thing...maybe!

"As probably the most successful large-scale pop-video director of his generation, Kahn has spent a lot of time crafting images that have helped his clients build their consensus. In his clips, Kahn has an uncanny knack for catering to — and pandering to — a mass audience, but his feature films, including 2011’s spiky, amazing Detention, and now Bodied, work in a different way: they represent this very sly and self-aware artist’s attempts to satirize, atomize, and pulverize the pop mainstream he’s helped saturate with shiny, glossy, product.

In the most basic terms, Bodied is a barely disguised remake/update of 8 Mile, with Calum Worthy starring as Adam, a white graduate student writing a thesis on battle rap. As the film opens, he’s attending an underground confab and diligently taking notes on the verses, disses, and decorum (or lack thereof) of the entire community. The 8 Mile parody begins to rear its head when it’s revealed that Adam is, to his surprise, a B-Rabbit-type who can hold his own with the more experienced battlers, but where Curtis Hanson’s 2002 hit was an attempt to prop up Eminem’s own (self) myth-making — the origin story of a (white) working-class superhero more tortured and authentic than his (black) competitors — Bodied goes in a different direction. Adam isn’t punching up against anything; instead, he’s an embodiment of white male privilege, and any awkwardness he feels in his new career is offset by the fact that battling seemingly lets him get away with saying anything at all.

The emphasis here is on anything: I can’t remember the last time I was as shocked by the dialogue in a movie as I was during Bodied. Outrage and offense are baked into the battle rap format. And yet Kahn and his screenwriter, the Toronto-area wordslinger Alex Larsen (a.k.a. Kid Twist) are determined to test the audience’s boundaries in the same manner as Adam, whose notoriety as the most viciously racist virtuoso on the circuit comes with plenty of criticism from his liberal-arts college buddies.

Bodied’s provocation is multidirectional. Kahn has recently drawn fire on Twitter for his advocacy of free-speech absolutism — for, in effect, calling out political correctness as a liability rather than a solution in the age of Trump. As obviously as Bodied critiques Adam for getting off on the carte blanche handed to him by his new persona — and I’d say that recognizing its antihero’s essential awfulness is its largest and most salient point — it also gleefully mocks identity politics and the woker-than-thou platitudes of self-appointed ideological cops. (There’s a shot of a Bernie Sanders sticker on a laptop that’s devastatingly funny in context.)

It’s not so much that Bodied’s aggressively centrist, you-can-dish-it-out-but-can-you-take-it mentality is persuasive — and get ready for a ream of aggrieved essays about exactly why it’s not — as that it feels plugged into a moment when so much social exchange is so discordant and performative. It’s almost the movie equivalent of a think piece — or perhaps a Twitter thread. Before the premiere, Kahn told me that he thought that everyday Twitter discourse has started to feel like an endless series of battle raps — attempts to inflict damage and score points, with the outcome judged by onlookers all too willing to tag in and take their own shots.

Bodied is exhausting and annoying a lot of the time, but it’s also hilariously funny, finely stylized, and genuinely bold where it counts, both in terms of its story arc and the willingness to go there with words-as-weapons that Zahler shows with splintered limbs in Brawl (the title of which could have easily been Bodied). It’s also astonishing that a film so committed to questioning the Eminem myth comes produced by Marshall Mathers himself, who would have had to sign off on Kahn’s final and most wounding musical cue — an oldie-but-goodie that’s the perfect anthem for a movie that examines whether there’s any real value (artistic or otherwise) to acting like a complete asshole."
newish music (this probably isn't newish at all anymore but whatever) ----> here
album from whenever featuring RA The Ruggedman, Okwerdz, J Zone, C Rayz, Reef, PH, Illmind, Vanderslice and I forget. Buy it. I was on one Scribblejam DVD. Show some respect.
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