Going off the beaten path a bit for this week’s streaming pick. Bodied is your streaming pick of the week, its available on YouTube Premium. I know that’s one of the less popular services. I generally try to pick movies that the majority of readers will be able to hunt down if they desire.
Adam (Calum Worthy) is a graduate student who’s obsessed with the world of battle rap. He decides to write his thesis on these battles. Absorbing so many rap battles paired with his English major makes Adam a contender. He’s able to approach the battles from an intellectual perspective. When push comes to shove Adam is good. His lines are tight and brutal when he puts aside his overly PC millennial attitude. Adam falls into the world he was only ever a spectator from and makes a new group of friends. He feels like an outsider looking in but realizes he may not be who he thinks he is.
Bodied starts production with credibility. Director Joseph Kahn comes from the music video world. You can feel the energy throughout the movie through the cinematography. Eminem is one of the most famous, best selling, and most talented working rappers of all time. He came up as an outsider looking into the rap world having to prove himself and, yes, he battles for real. Not just in 8 mile. Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg is a mega manager in the music world. The cast of the movie also boasts a lot of familiar faces from the world of hip-hop.
Bodied debuted in 2017 at TIFF where it won the Midnight Madness award. It also won the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest the same year. YouTube bought the distribution rights to the movie and it had a minuscule run in theaters.
Bodied is currently streaming on YouTube Premium
The face value fun of Bodied comes from the battles, of course. Two people standing toe to toe slinging insults at each other. The insults get better as they become more cutting and more politically incorrect. The crude, racially insensitive, and decided un-PC nature of the movie is fantastic. Bodied calls attention to a generation that is way too soft and way too eager to be offended again and again.
With the fun of the battles and the level of humor its surprising to find that Bodied also delivers some social messages. The biggest take away from the movie is on freedom of speech. It lets you know there’s a time and place for certain types of jokes. While you can say whatever you want in America, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without consequence. A message that Adam’s generation needs delivered. The social commentary ranges from subtle to a bomb being dropped in the middle of the character’s lives.
As much fun as I had watching the movie I gotta say, Bodied isn’t perfect. The tone and tempo is uneven at times. The script feels like a couple totally different feeling scripts told the same story and it was picked through without much care. That being said, the fun certainly trumps the humdrum. The shock value is much appreciated and never feels like it’s trying too hard.
YouTube Premium isn’t for everyone, the service honestly isn’t that good. I recommend you pick up the free trial, watch Bodied and then watch Cobra Kai before your time runs out.