I saw Bodied at Fantastic Fest and lost my goddamn mind over the movie. In case you forgot (or missed it), here's the highlight reel:
Bodied is a masterwork – a blistering, rap battle satire that wants to rip your face off and then tell your skinless corpse how fucking stupid you look. Joseph Kahn has delivered the anti-musical anti-Rocky, where winning can easily cost you your friends, your family, and your respectability. But all that matters is how hard you spit, and how viciously you tear your opponent to spiritual pieces. At the same time, it’s a movie that’s staunchly anti-PC, while simultaneously acknowledging that those types of regulations on human interaction are also necessary, lest the champion devolve into a total scumbag, who doesn’t deserve the belt, but only a bench at the nearest park. Because in Kahn’s world, you can still smoke everyone and end up a hobo.
Sid agrees with me, going as far as to put the movie at the top of his own Best Of list for 2017 and saying:
After sweeping the audience awards at TIFF, Fantastic Fest and AFI, the film ended up becoming even more pressing as an industry-wide seismic shift made us take a long, hard look at who we put on pedestals, and why. Great art comes at a cost, but when is that cost too much and who among us decides? Bodied doesn’t have the answer but it sure knows how to ask the questions, making your own responses to it shock you as you step in the ring to do battle with it.
After some slight delay, Bodied has finally found distribution through YouTube Red, who will hold a sneak preview during the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st. They've also promised a theatrical release later this year, before the movie drops on their subscription service.
What's intriguing about this news is that it feels like only half the story. Unless YouTube Red has suddenly gotten into the business of auditoriums, there's probably going to be a second company announced as handling the theatrical portion of the picture's distribution. Perhaps we'll be getting another announcement out of Sundance?
Either way, Bodied is going to blow your hair back when you finally get to watch it. The movie announces Joseph Kahn as one of our finest social storytellers (though anyone who saw Detention knows that already), while also just being fucking flat out astonishing as a piece of pop cinema. See this in a crowded theater and witness faces melt.