Monday, December 10, 2018

Patti Cake$

Written and directed by Geremy Jasper, Patti Cake$ is the story of an overweight white woman from New Jersey who wants to become a rapper despite the obstacles she faces. It’s a film that explore a woman’s desire to prove that that she has something to say in the world of hip-hop. Starring Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, McCaul Lombardi, Nick Sandow, Patrick Brana, and Cathy Moriarty. Patti Cake$ is an exciting and riveting film from Geremy Jasper.

The film is a simple story of a young woman from New Jersey who dreams of being a rapper to get out of her small town as well as her alcoholic mother who used to sing for an 80s rock band that never made it. It’s a film that explores a young woman who has a love for rapping and hip-hop music as she’s got the talent to make it as an emcee yet there are obstacles that she has to face. Among them is the fact that she’s white, she’s a woman, and she’s an overweight white woman where the idea of her being a rap star seems ridiculous. Yet, writer/director Geremy Jasper follows the journey that Patti Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) goes through as she works part-time as a bartender at a bar while taking care of her grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) while watching her mother Barb (Bridget Everett) going out. Patti’s friend in Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) also wants to rap as they watch a show featuring a reclusive performance artist named Basterd (Mamoudou Athie) who would help them form a group.

Jasper’s direction is largely simple with some stylish elements in the film as it is shot on location in the state of New Jersey. There are a few wide shots in Jasper’s direction yet much of the compositions are simple in its medium shots and close-ups. Still, Jasper would infuse this looseness and energy into the world that Patti wants to be a part of while it is still grounded in this small town in New Jersey where all sorts of music is being played from rock, hip-hop, and other weird shit. The direction also play into the world of fantasy into what Patti aspires to be as it does have some visual cues of modern-day hip-hop videos as she idolizes the rapper O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah) who is considered an iconic local figure. There are dramatic schematics that play into the challenges Patti endures as well as the fact that she has to help her family and find steady work yet Jasper does deviate from the conventions as it relates to loss and rising above from that. Even if Patti has to do something her mother wasn’t able to achieve more than 20 years go. Overall, Jasper crafts a compelling and enthralling film about an overweight white woman from New Jersey trying to make it as a rapper.

Cinematographer Federico Cesca does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it is largely straightforward for some of the daytime interior/exterior scenes with some shots using stylish neon lights for a few scenes as well as low-key lights for some of the musical performances and scenes set at night. Editor Brad Turner does nice work with the editing as it has some jump-cuts and montages along with some stylish moments that play into the style of modern-day hip-hop videos. Production designer Meredith Lippincott, with set decorator Sally Levi and art director Heather Yancey, does fantastic work with the look of Patti’s home as well as the secret place that Basterd lived in and the clubs that musicians play at. Costume designer Miyako Bellizzi does terrific work with the costumes as it has some style including some of the clothes that Basterd, Patti, and Jheri would wear onstage.

Visual effects supervisor Alex Noble does superb work with the visual effects at it relates to a sequence in which Patti smokes a joint that is super-potent. Sound editor Ryan Billa does brilliant work with the sound as it play into the atmosphere of the clubs as well as how the music sounds. The film’s music by Geremy Jasper and Jason Binnick is incredible for its usage of hip-hop and electronics as they would also write the original songs that are performed in the film while music supervisor Joe Rudge provides that mix of hip-hop, rock, glam-metal, and other music to play into the world that is New Jersey.

The casting by Rebecca Dealy and Jessica Kelly is great as it feature some notable small roles from Sahr Ngaujah as the rapper O-Z, John Sharian as a patron at the bar that Patti works at, Wass Stevens as a former classmate of Barb in Officer Nichols, Patrick Bana as a wannabe rapper in Slaz, McCaul Lombardi as a dealer friend of Jheri, Nick Sandow as the catering manager Ray, and MC Lyte as a bar mitzvah deejay who chats with Patti and would listen to her demo. Cathy Moriarty is excellent as Patti’s grandmother as an ailing woman whom Patti adores and cares for as she is also a fan of Patti’s rhymes and help contribute a major part into the demo Patti creates with Jheri and Basterd.

Mamoudou Athie is fantastic as Basterd as a reclusive performance artist with a love for metal and weird music as he reluctantly helps Patti and Jheri with their demo where he sees that potential of Patti’s talents as a rapper. Siddharth Dhananjay is brilliant as Jheri as a pharmacy clerk who loves hip-hop as he also has similar obstacles that Patti faces considering he’s of Indian/Pakistani descent yet manages to make enough connections in the hopes that he, Patti, and Basterd get some form of deal. Bridget Everett is amazing as Barb as Patti’s mother as an alcoholic who used to sing for a glam metal band that is given another chance but struggles to feel young while being dismissive of Patti’s gifts. Finally, there’s Danielle Macdonald in an incredible performance as Patti Dombrowski as an overweight white woman who wants to be a rapper while dealing with the chaos of her family life prompting her to try and make it no matter the obstacles she faces as it’s a charismatic and lively performance from Macdonald.

Patti Cake$ is a phenomenal film from Geremy Jasper featuring a star-making performance from Danielle Macdonald. Along with its ensemble cast, engaging story, and a cool music soundtrack, it’s a film that play into a woman wanting to express her gifts and display it for the world as well as proving she has what it takes to be a star. In the end, Patti Cake$ is a sensational film from Geremy Jasper.

© thevoid99 2018


Brittani Burnham said...

Yay! I'm glad you liked this. I saw it on an airplane and I wish so badly that I could have seen it in theaters. It came nowhere near me.

Dell said...

I need to check this out. I've heard lots of good things about it.

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-I don't remember if it played at my multiplex but it was certainly a fun film as I wish they were a real group.

@Wendell-It is so awesome as it captures some of the pure elements of hip-hop though I'm still not a fan of Autotune.

keith71_98 said...

I had an opportunity to see this followed by a Q&A with the director. I ended up sick and unable to attend! sigh......

thevoid99 said...

@keith71_98-That sucked. I'm sure it would've been interesting as I love Q&As.

Jay said...

I loved this movie, and thought Danielle Macdonald was a real star.

thevoid99 said...

@Jay-Agreed. I hope good things happen for her as she is awesome.