Page 28 - LA Weekly 110118
P. 28

26
FiLm
Can’t Stop, Should
Stop
Hip-hop satire Bodied hits hard until it goes all serious in the end
By Craig D. LinDsey
Jackie Long, left, schools Calum Worthy in Bodied.
THE LIFE STORY OF THE LEGEND TOLD COMPLETELY IN HER OWN WORDS
o
d
“
“
C
d
d
d
M
C
A
M
c
c
C
A
P
C
a
ar
r
t
P
T
th
h
y
y
,
TI
,T
T
H
H
E
I
V
E
H
V
HO
A
AT
O
L
L
L
L
Y
Y
TI
ING.”
W
A NEW FILM BY TOM VOLF WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM
WOOD REPORTER MARIA by CALLAS
-
-T
To
STARTS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2
WEST LOS ANGELES
Laemmle’s Royal (310) 478-3836 laemmle.com Daily: 1:30, 4:20, 7:10 & 10:10
Sat & Sun: 10:30, 1:30, 4:20, 7:10 & 10:10
COSTA MESA
Regency South Coast Village (714) 557-5701
VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.MARIABYCALLASFILM.COM
LA WEEKLY
1/8 PAGE (4.494" x 2.5312") THU
R 11/01
For the first hour, I understand the rapturous feedback — standing ovations and everything! — that Bodied won when it played the Toronto and Fantastic Fest film
festivals a year ago. Right from the jump, we’re treated to a hilarious depiction of bat- tle-rap culture that’s both intensely verbose and hysterically absurd. We first see our protagonist, grad student Adam Merkin (American Vandal’s Calum Worthy), at a grimy rap battle, trying — and failing — to teach his pedantic girlfriend (Rory Uphold) how to overlook the misogyny, violence and homophobia these rappers spew and appre- ciate it for the wordy, witty spectacle it is.
Since he’s writing a thesis paper on the use of the N-word in battle rap, he goes to a master, Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), for research. For some reason, Grymm ropes Merkin into an impromptu rap battle (Merkin’s opponent’s name: Billy Pistolz) and, after discovering how good he is at incisive wordplay, Merkin gets immediately hooked on the competitions.
Lord only knew there was so much to make fun of in rap culture, which Bodied does with proudly redonkulous fervor. Director Joseph Kahn (who co-wrote the script with actual battle rapper Alex “Kid Twist” Larsen), a man who directed many a hip-hop video in his time, knows exactly what clichés and tropes need to be mocked. They range from the shady promoters (Si- mon Rex and Andy Milonakis provide cam- eos) to the archetypes of competitors (The
Courtesy NeoN/youtube origiNal
comedian! The choke artist! The racist?) who stink up the scene.
It’s such fun watching this profane silli- ness unfold that it pissed me off when Bod- ied took a sharp turn in the second half. While the movie does address white people’s thorny relationship with rap and cultural appropriation, it demonstrates how delicate satirizing that can be when it gets kind of serious near the end — a long, long end — and suggests that being the best at battle rap also can mean being the worst. Telling the story of Merkin’s journey in his adopted culture, Bodied is basically 8 Mile for those who are still pissed off that Eminem walked away as The Great White Hope. (Consider- ing that Eminem also serves as a producer of Bodied, I wouldn’t be surprised if that self-flagellating rap god put his name on the credits for that very reason.)
Bodied doesn’t provide easy answers. Then again, you may find yourself wondering which questions it’s bringing up. Is it saying that battle rap, with its to-the-bone verbal jabs and crude, un-PC putdowns, is really just a sideshow and not a true gauge of an MC’s talents? Or is it saying that white peo- ple who are into rap will never truly under- stand it because they’re too busy trying (or demanding) to be down?
For an outrageous movie about the rap world, Bodied sure fucked up my day.
BODieD | Directed by Joseph Kahn | Neon and YouTube Original | AMC Burbank 16; premieres Nov. 28 on YouTube Premium
WWW.LAWEEKLY.com | November 2 - 8, 2018 | LA WEEKLY


































































































   26   27   28   29   30