Bodied won the Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (previous winners include The Raid and What We Do in the Shadows). It also won audience awards at AFI Fest and Fantastic Fest, but until this week, the film — an ambitious and uproarious satire about the world of battle-rap, from director Joseph Kahn and producer Eminem — didn’t have distribution. Thankfully (I saw it at FF; it’s good), YouTube has picked up the rights to Bodied; it will be released on their subscription service YouTube Red this year, with a theatrical roll-out to follow.
Here’s what our own Vince Mancini said about the movie.
Joseph Kahn’s Bodied [is] smart as hell but the furthest thing you can imagine from an art movie or a thinkpiece. Kahn (who was born in Korea and whose legal name is Ahn Jun-hee) normally directs commercials and music videos (for everyone from the Geto Boys to U2 to Taylor Swift), and it shows. Bodied is catchy, kitschy, and pop, with flashy editing, swooping graphics, with characters breaking the fourth wall and actors playing overtly to type. It’s the best kind of smart, the kind of smart that plays dumb to be smart, that you don’t have to be especially smart to enjoy. (Via)
Bodied is also the kind of film that offends everyone — whites, blacks, Asians, Jews, homosexuals, heterosexuals, etc. — which probably (and unfortunately) is the reason for the delayed distribution. Not everyone is willing to take a chance on a movie that has a graduate-school white kid (Calum Worthy, who played Alex Trimboli from American Vandal!) want to write a thesis about the “poetic functions of the n-word in battle rap,” only to become a boundary-pushing battle rapper himself, but YouTube did. That almost makes up for the whole Logan Paul thing.