Ive’ been wanting to catch The Wackness ever since my friend went to Sundance last year and was gushing how much the Madman would love it. Finally I caught it last night and, I gotta admit, dude knows me pretty well. I thought the film was just bad ass. Maybe its cos I grew up in that era, but the magic of the film comes from how proficiently and accurately it stirs nostalgia — from the impeccable Golden Era hip hop soundtrack (Wu Tang, Biggie, Biz Markie, Craig Mack, Tribe, Nasty Nas, etc), to the daily streetwear, to the almost visceral muggy sweatiness of a torrid New York summer — the film is as much a love song to Old New York as it is a teenage love story. And the music is so expertly wielded it becomes a character of the film. Remember how much you loved the lo-fi dirtiness of a breakbeat, ridden by some immaculate flows?? Smoking blunts in the stairways, getting blazed all day? Man, this movie brings back that first summer romance — both with that unattainable girl, and with the music of Wu Tang Clan.

Olivia Thirlby nails the girl in high school that toyed with your heart, and Josh Peck manages not to annoy you too much as he mulls around wallowing in self-pity. But the real achievement is writer/director Jonathan Levine, who it’s almost impossible to believe is directing only his second film. The kid knows how to film and pace, but he manages to craft a great tidal flow between a coming of age/drug comedy/buddy film/romance. That takes real skill (and talent). What would normally come off as the clumsy dallying of a dilettante comes off with seasoned adroitness. And even his scenes of tenderness are handled deftly, never corny — sure, the sun-drenched, lens flare summer scenes could be cliched, but they just work. If you grew up in the 90s, listened to hip hop, or lived in New York I imagine you will surely love this movie (Hell, you’ve probly already seen it!).

Trailer after the Jump…

One Response to “The Wackness = The Dopeness”

  1. […] it is just too good to keep to ourselves. Yes, this list is hip-hop heavy, but ever since watching The Wackness I’ve been hitting my Wu collection pretty hard. Pretty much all good below, but take special […]

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