This post is for Jay, the author of Assholes Watching Movies.
You were right. They’re so glad to have me because I watched the “The After Party” and liked it.
For those of you reading this article and wondering what this movie is about, Jay has a great summary on her blog. This is my one-sentence summary: a coming-of-age comedy about two high school grads trying to make in the rap game in one damn night before the rest of their lives begin ( you know… adult life decisions…military school, university, etc.).
Now for some direct responses:
“I have a feeling The After Party is supposed to be a fun ride but oh my god I hated it.”
It was a fun ride and I loved it. The movie was a social commentary on rap culture in America. It showed the genre has penetrated multiple socioeconomic classes and cultural backgrounds. I think we watch hip-hop films within the frame of “Notorious” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” The rap reality that exists now is so different from the 90’s grit in the ‘hood. “The After Party” exemplifies the current state of hip-hop. Plus it was funny.
“But Jeff isn’t my only beef, he’s just the beefiest.”
I LOVED JEFF THE RICH JEW! I thought it was weird the movie kept communicating him as an asshole because that seemed contrary to his genuine nature. Honestly, I understand not liking him. He seems to be a lot like the faces that run the three major labels and own about 90% of hip-hop. Jeff is the Jerry Heller from “Straight Outta Compton.” I think it’s better to say I don’t like what Jeff represents. He’s the business and marketing side of music, which ultimately kills the magic. We think of good rap as something organic and real, while Jeff is forcing it. He does a good job of showing the capitalistic grit necessary to get to the top, and lacks everything else.
The primary difference between Jeff and Owen is that someone told Jeff he could have the Dream. Although this spokesman was also Jeff, he saw it first in his own family.
“it feels like maybe the film makers aren’t sure which demographic they’re trying to appeal to.”
I think they knew the movie would appeal to the wanna-be Soundcloud rappers and young people with hidden wanna-be rapper alter egos. It’s just a funny movie targeted to people who like hip-hop, and young people trying to “make it” in the world.
“Frankly, when we have Donald Glover’s rapper-manager dynamic in Atlanta for comparison, The After Party just doesn’t stack up.”
It’s not supposed to stack up to the Donald Glover’s dynamic mostly because these characters have completely different life experiences. For starters they’re not in the ‘hood and they’re not even 20 years old. It wouldn’t make sense for them to have that same sense of maturity or want to for a better life.
It feels forced, superficial, and not particularly grounded in reality.”
That’s a good thing for the movie because these kids just got out of high school. They believe in the impossible. And the “hip hop” costume is real for a lot of young fans. I think the movie shows how social media and marketing can dilute something so impactful. It also shows that people everywhere are still willing to do whatever it takes to get the life they want.