Nowadays, streaming options and contradictory recommendations are so numerous that it's hard to see through all the bullshit that you could watch. Every Friday, The edgeThe Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting out a multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending just one thing to watch this weekend.
What to watch
Bad rap, a 2016 documentary on crowdfunding about four US-Asian rappers trying to overcome the preconceptions of the music industry Shot over the course of a few years, the film discusses the difficulty of playing in small clubs and shows how difficult it can be to impress agents and representatives of the record label A & R, who often see a Korean or Chinese face presume of a limited market. . Bad rap is provocative and dramatic, while rappers Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy and Lyricks find themselves at a crossroads in their careers, making choices that could determine whether they will ever break through. But the main reason for revisiting this documentary – director Salima Koroma and producer Jaeki Cho – is Fourth Covered rapper: Nora Lum, musician and comedian better known by her stage name, Awkwafina.
Why look now?
Because L & # 39; farewell, starring Awkwafina, opens in some venues this weekend.
One of the most debated films in its debut at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, L & # 39; farewell was written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on a personal anecdote she told on an episode of This American life. Awkwafina plays Billi (Lulu Wang's surrogate mother), a distressed designer in New York who joins her parents in China for a wedding party, organized under false pretenses. The real reason for the meeting is that Billi's grandmother is dying of lung cancer and everyone wants to say goodbye to her without revealing her diagnosis or letting her know she is last phase. It's a familiar family decision in China, where an old adage of culture claims that fear of death is what actually kills people. Often funny and deeply moving, L & # 39; farewell is the best type of audience that pleases, with something subtle but meaningful to say about where families will go to avoid telling themselves the truth.
Awkwafina gives a wonderful performance in L & # 39; farewell – And surprising too, since his role is more poignant than funny. Awkwafina's rapid rise in popularity over the last few years is due to the brilliant and fun publicity it has developed, through YouTube videos, rap songs, television commercials, Saturday Night Live guest shots, movie cameos and appearances in talk shows. She has become the millennial model of super-cool super-cool, who doubted internally, but who also has frank and relevant remarks about race and sex. Awkwafina did very little before his career looked like L & # 39; farewell.
The three rappers who appear at his side in Bad rap probably would not have been able to chart his way to success. Although interviews with Awkwafina are scattered throughout the documentary, the first long section about her music begins around 24 minutes and talks about the viral sensation that was her hilarious and sexually frank song of 2012, "My Vag". his presence on the stage and his musicality also seem skeptical of his popularity, and Dumbfoundead credits him with "a pretty Asian girl with catchy hipster songs," which is eminently marketable. He and his friends predict that if his agents prove him right, Awkwafina could well run for three years playing in clubs with a capacity of 500 people.
Bad rap is a very good musical documentary, with enriching conversations about identity and some really tense moments. (Fast forward to the mark of 59 minutes for a rap freestyle battle where Dumbfoundead is struck by all the racist stereotypes of his competitor's book, before he gives an exciting response.) But that's not the case. It's really fascinating to see the film now everyone – including Awkwafina herself – underestimates her call. To counter her friends' claim that she has a marketable image, she insists she's doing just fine because her songs are funny, not because of something that strikes her in her appearance or his personality. "You can not sell me without the music," she says. "When they can no longer milk the Awkwafina's cash cow, there will be nothing left for me." But the film adds an epilogue "two years later", by the time Awkwafina was already starting to expand his showbiz portfolio. At that time, she was much less disdainful of her own gifts and potential.
For whom is this?
People who like to look behind the scenes of show business.
Because Bad rap follows four musicians (at the time) relatively obscure, it is quite direct as to the rush it takes to get noticed and attract attention. In one of the most prominent footage of the document, at around 46 minutes, filmmakers ask four industry experts – a label representative, an agent, a radio DJ and a publisher hip-hop magazine – watch a video clip of each of the four artists in the film, and give their immediate instinctive reactions. They are all very righteous: not immediately dismissive and not unrealistic. It's instructive to hear how this is a matter of first impressions and how poor production, derivative sound or impersonal words can be very valid reasons to convey an artist without hesitation. .
However, they all like Awkwafina: its image, its sound, all its atmosphere. Perhaps there is a notion of "star quality".
Where to see it
Netflix. In addition, HBO Go / HBO subscribers can now see Awkwafina's leading role in the hit comedy 2018. Crazy Rich Asians.