Patti Cake$ (2017)
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Like I said, it's a Disney's style. A feel good one. Not as much inspiring as Eminem's 8Miles. A lot of good but somehow cliché moments.
The rap part is what i dislike most. It's just like they put anything they can rhyme with in the lyrics. Or maybe this is a different kind of style, I don't know. But once you've watched this movie, the song will stick into your head for quite sometime. And imagine that I had to work with it for 3 or 4 days. PBNJ haunted me for like a week.
All in all, it's a good movie but not so good that I would recommend as a must see.
This movie is the typical youth dreaming of becoming a star and then we route for him/her as they are rejected by the establishment only to rise like a phoenix. Why so they keep making them? Because we love them is why. The beauty here is the parallels with the star Danielle MacDonald.
Danielle is a Sydney girl, who could not get noticed down under and went State-side to find her niche. Her talent is unstoppable and she does dirty Jersey (their words in credits not mine) proud.
The rapping is brilliant. I can't understand most of the stuff they play on the radio but given the context, the lyrics are poignant cries to the world of her plight.
Go - be inspired by Killer P and try stop singing P B N J days after you see the movie.
Am not a big fan of rap, with a few exceptions, often finding it simplistic, repetitive and preachy, but have a high appreciation, if not quite love, for blues. So wasn't sure how good 'Patti Cake$' would be, despite it being positively received, but there are good music-following your dreams films out there and there was the hope that 'Patti Cake$' would be one of them. Seeing it, it was. Not as amazing as the best reviews have said it is, but for its flaws there is a lot to like here and it was quite the pleasant surprise.
Sure, 'Patti Cake$', being a film that treads familiar ground, is very predictable with not much new and characters that fall into cliché territory. The looking up to the rap god subplot is contrived and underdeveloped, feeling like filler. Agree too that the script has its clunky moments.
However, there are good things. The budget is not a huge one and 'Patti Cake$' is not a grand in spectacle film, nor does it need to be. It's hardly a cheap-looking film and is shot well. The music is catchy and tune, yes even the rap despite some simplistic lyric writing.
Most of the writing has humour that's a mix of gentle and witty, a warm heart and heartfelt poignancy. For its clichés and predictability and one subplot that falls flat, the story has freshness too and told in a way that has vibrancy and heart, with a lot of energy and creative spark, the very definition of feel good, it's very sweet, heart-warming and uplifting and the underdog/following your dreams story as a result just about works.
Geremy Jasper keeps things moving beautifully, with great direction of his actors and the drama and great, near-seamless synchronisation of visuals, staging and music. The characters, despite being clichés, are both fun and not hard to like, with the lead character being proof that one doesn't need to look like a supermodel to be an inspirational role model. In no way is that meant to cause offence, actually think lowly of people who think it's alright to make shallow comments about people's looks.
The cast do a great job, with Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay and Mamoudou Athie providing zesty support and Cathy Moriaty registering strongly too. Best of all, the backbone of the film and the best thing about it, is Danielle MacDonald, a brilliant star-making turn and she deserves to be a big star after this.
All in all, a very nice film that made me feel good, regardless of not completely loving it. Am aware that this review is going to be very unpopular, despite being a subjective person that the very eruditely written and in my mind honest positive reviews have so many negative useful votes is a surprise to me. 7/10 Bethany Cox
However, the film is not without flaws. The main reason why this is the case is because of the film's rather generic script. While the script feels a bit bundled in parts and seems to work a little overtime to make the movie feel like a 'crowd-pleaser,' that's not the main problem with it. The real concern here is that the film contains a number of clichés that have been done many times before in films about performing arts. This makes the movie feel very slightly tedious and containing a bit of narrative 'filler' due to the presence of these tried-and-true events. As a result, it could have been about 10 or 15 minutes shorter without really losing anything.
While the movie is enjoyable and amusing throughout, it really rises to the occasion during the scenes Patti is rapping. In those scenes, the energy is truly both electric and infectious. Due to this (and the film's characters and accessibility,) this could also be an independent film that breaks out and finds a real audience in wide release, much like "The Big Sick" did earlier this summer--although unlike "The Big Sick," people will also run to iTunes when they get on their computers after arriving home from the theater to download the soundtrack. Recommended. 7/10
Disclaimer: I have not yet seen "The Big Sick," although I do plan on watching it on Redbox, and am not attempting to compare this film to that one in terms of quality. I was only using it as a comparison on the nature of accessibility/mainstream appeal.
Patricia Dombrowski (Macdonald) knows this general feeling world-weariness quite well. She's an aspiring rap artist and thusly faces all the hardships that come with trying to make it big in a crusty New Jersey city where everyone is already aspiring for the same. Additionally she's impoverished, juggles multiple jobs and deals with her fair share of false starts. Her only advantage is her youth, which given the fact that she's morbidly obese may not be enough to curry her favor. Despite this she, along with her rag-tag group of friends give their all to seek fame, fortune and true artistic expression in a world that expects nothing from them.
I will readily admit that I am a sucker for these kinds of movies, and as far as this movie goes, Patti Cake$ is quite the charmer. Much of this is reliant on Danielle Macdonald's sympathetic performance as the talented but gun-shy Patti aka Killer P., whose flows vacillate between lyrically catchy to downright Shakespearian. The entire story is told from her perspective which often melds into a bold magical realism whereby she's spitting her words to the approval of O-Z (Mgaujah) her musical hero. These segments of the story are often coated in stormy skies and green tint; the color of money.
Patti's transition from a "culture vulture" to a bonafide lyrical phemon doesn't come without a pessimistic bite. The insurmountable and grave struggles that Patti faces may not have the same incredulity as that of 8 Mile (2002) or Hustle & Flow (2005) but they do carry with them a level of incredible honesty. These are the struggles of someone who is serially undervalued but who nevertheless doesn't let the melodrama of her life define her. Moreover she includes fellow misfits (Dhananjay and Athie) in her odyssey not for the sake of furthering a nothing career but to be a conduit for artistic expression.
Those who dispute Patti Cake$ is nothing more than a cliché-riddled Sundance célèbre aren't exactly wrong about this. One can certainly draw a thematic line between this and other feel-good tales like Sing Street (2016), Billy Elliot (2000) and Akeelah and the Bee (2006). Yet Patti Cake$ brings a grizzled authenticity to the well-worn formulas of underdog stories, and does so while showcasing some truly fun tunes co-written by director Geremy Jasper and Jason Binnick. I say If the purpose of cinema is to belay poetic justice in 120-minutes or less then Patti Cake$ should be considered rousing success.
This is an independent musical which follows the rags to (presumably) riches life of an aspiring female rapper. Australian actress Danielle MacDonald is Patti, a young waitress by day, ambitious rapper by night. Patti is searching for stardom with her equally talented friend who works as a pharmacist.
Meanwhile Patti is also financially struggling to support her ailing grandmother, whose medical costs are mounting causing frequent phone-calls chasing up for payment.
There's some friction between Patti and her mother, who had a promising singing career which ended early.
Patti is a white girl trying to make it in the black stereotypical world of rap, it's not the most original story, and feels predictable, especially towards the end.
Worth watching even if you're not a big fan of rap music
Patti does not write for these moments, but these moments will cement her social standing. Resorting to ugliness empowers her rhymes with putrid fury. Even the knock off drug dealers affirm her fire. She is an insecure tyrant wary of haters, and drunk for admires. Her emerald dreams place her on a throne of excess, yet she wakes in a nicotine flavored home.
Her main man Jheri has the body shape of an anti-depressant. He has not abandoned his Indian roots, and pays homage to Bollywood exuberance in his verses. Paired with Patti, the duo slap out beats from her Chevy's hood, and belt out lamentations of Dirty Jersey life.
Patti's mother has her head in toilets all over town. Her daughter is her designated bartender and hair-holder. Barb was a hair rocker of yesterday, but now her records play in the cluttered kitchen, accompanied by drug store wine. Once a leach of men, now a leach of her dwindling family. Patti has to stomach her mother proclaim the two of them as "sisters".
Nana, Patti's grandmother, chain smokes her way to her deceased husband. Patti knows she loves limericks, so she composes a new one with each morning's brushstrokes. They are often lewd, but Nana is a sick old woman. Each bellowing laugh puts her soul closer lung failure, but they both know every bit helps.
"Superstar" is Patti's name in Nana's eyes. Her songs are crafted with supreme resentment. Her very existence is described as an accident, and her appearance is a giant piñata in a crowd of immature hoodlums. The chip on her shoulder is crater created by an asteroid the size of a scummy New England town. Barreling through these attacks, New York is only one break away.
PATTI CAKE$ is guilty of all those things.
And it completely worked for me. I dug this film immensely. Why? Mostly because I'm a sucker, I guess.
I'm a sucker for movies about people making music. I'm a sucker for movies about working class people trying to get by. I'm a sucker for movies about creativity and dreams and struggle. I'm a sucker for movies with energy and a sense of fantasy mixed with the hardships of the real world. But all of that can go horribly wrong. It's easy to earn an eye roll when two characters hold hands for the first time and the music swells. It's easy to lose patience when the mechanics of the script become so incredibly predictable that you can chart the struggles and victories in the first ten minutes.
Patti Cake$ is partly saved by director Geremy Jasper's amazing synergy of music and imagery. The film is an absolute blast to watch if you love movies about music. But what really sells it is actress Danielle Macdonald as Killer P, A.K.A Patti Cake$.
Macdonald is sick in this. Utterly amazing. I fully believed she was a New Jersey girl with strong flow who the director found in some parking lot and decided to build a film around. I was ecstatic to find she's an Australian actress who, before taking this role, had never heard a New Jersey accent and didn't know how to rap.
It's through her authenticity that I bought into the fantasy culmination of the perfectly orchestrated underdog struggle. Through her that I bought into the love and the joy and the hope.
And I walked out of the film happy and charged, finally content just to be an audience member pleased.
'Patti Cake$' Synopsis: A plus-sized white girl, Patricia "Dumbo" Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), from Bergen County, New Jersey tries to seek fame and fortune as a rapper.
What works for 'Patti Cake$' is its interesting execution. I mean, its the same rags to riches story, but the treatment is done in a funny way. Patti's journey from a nobody to trying to be a somebody in the world of rapping, is amusing, highly abusive (of course) & sweet. Having said that, 'Patti Cake$' is a predictable story from start to end. I mean, one can predict the entire film ahead & there is no novelty here. I wish Writer-Director Geremy Jasper bought in some unpredictability here, as this story had the potential to venture into newer places. But alas, that doesn't happen at all! And that's okay, maybe I was expecting a little too much!
Jasper's Writing is decent, as the story progresses well, even though we all know where its headed. The protagonist is well-etched out & she's worth rooting for. Jasper's Direction is good. Cinematography, Editing & Costume Design, merit special mentions.
And now coming to showstopper - Danielle Macdonald. Her heroic portrayal of Patti is worth alone watching the film. She's brash, focused, fun & brave -- completely sinking her teeth into the part & brings it out flying colors. Macdonald dominates the show from start to end. Lending her superb support are Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay & A Fantastic Cathy Moriarty.
On the whole, the predictable 'Patti Cake$' is certainly not without its moments & proudly brings a new star in the horizon - Danielle Macdonald. Watch it for her.
Couple of comments: this is the feature-length debut for writer-director Geremy Jasper (who previously has done various music videos). Here he tackles familiar territory, one that could be titled the female version of "8 Miles", albeit this movie is sweeter and ultimately more rewarding. The director captures the yearning of these Jersey kids perfectly, as they stare at the NY skyline and can't wait to get out of New Jersey. Beware: there is crass language throughout the movie, so if that is a problem for you, do yourself a favor and check out another movie. Australian plus-sized actress Danielle Macdonald is nothing short of sensational in the title role, and surely we have not seen the last of her. I was shocked to see in the end titles that Nana was played by none other than Cathy Moriarty, who is completely unrecognizable. Last but certainly not least, there is a ton of great music throughout the film (the original songs are written or co-written by Geremy Jasper), and check out also the Bruce Springsteen tune "The Time That Never Was" (from the 2015 The River Outtakes collection).
"Petti Cake$" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to immediate critical acclaim, and I've been eagerly waiting to see it. It finally was released most recently, and I happen to catch it during a recent family visit in Belgium. The Wednesday early evening screening where I saw this at in Antwerp, Belgium, was attended nicely, I am happy to say. If you are in the mood for an empowering and even uplifting movie that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
The power of this movie is how all the characters are elaborated upon and how they develop in the story. That makes this movie fascinating and not superficial or cliché, what you might expect. Various aspects are highlighted. Such as the barriers from family, the strength from friendship and the meaning of following your dreams from a life of scarcity. In trying to make a breakthrough she has to work hard, search for opportunities, invest, take risks and fight against prejudices. This struggle teaches her a lot about herself and others, like OZ and her mother.
The director and writer of Patti Cake$, Geremy Jasper, based the screenplay on his own life. He loves hip hop and through this movie he had the chance to create rap songs. The soundtrack has become great. And with his first feature film, he makes a fantastic debut.
Patti is also played by an actress who damned if I could tell for a moment she's Australian, and at first makes Patti seem like a tough young broad - working at a bar, doing her raps, trying to find a way she can breakthrough in this world she's in - but there's also a plethora of vulnerability and a sadness that is always underneath the surface. Macdonald communicates this at times in ways you can tell but in other ways where it's just a look or how she puts her head down or doesn't say anything. She's also working off a strong supporting cast with Cathy Moriarty as "Nana", her grandmother (and, eventually, an unlikely member of the rap group she forms, "PB&J), and especially Bridgett Everett, Patti's drunk not-even-has-been singer mother, who is perfect casting. There are also the other members of "PB&J", Siddharth Dhananjay as Patti's best friend (kind of a discount Aziz Ansari) and Mamoudou Athie as a seemingly unlikely new friend who is a... black anarchist metal-screamer who is really a soft-spoken son of a lawyer(!)
The filmmaker does an excellent job bringing us into Patti's day-to- day struggles and conflicts, down to the basic things of how she'll bring in money to support Nana's medical bills and whether she can keep and get better at a catering job. There's little details about how a woman like Patti, who is big but certainly not ugly or unpleasant as a person, that show her trying to figure out how to navigate the world she's in even as she's had to get a tough skin (which she has, but sometimes she can get pierced through by bullies and the aholes around her); an example of this is how her mother tells her she should keep a button open around her boss to try to get in good with him, but he tells her to button it back up. Whether it's just being professional or if he doesn't find her attractive is left up to the viewer to decide. Lots of moments and little touches are so great here (i.e. the cop who plays blues but looks down on Patti for taking that particular black music) that it all adds up to being a rich experience.
There are a couple of flaws which I wanted to overlook - as a filmmaker myself this was the kind of movie I aspire to make overall - but couldn't. I didn't find the sub-plot, if that can be called, with the rap god that Patti looks up to, named Oz or something like that, and how he actually comes into the film (I won't spoil it, but it's that typical "don't meet your heroes" thing, which is fine, but the filmmaker goes too far with the contrivance). I also wanted to know more about the mother, why she didn't work (aside from the booze) and why it all made everything so hard on Patti, that was left unclear and not in a way that was satisfying. And near the end in the climax there are a couple of touches that seemed a little too neat and tidy.
But these are not major complaints, only things that I can't help but notice as they are touches that make it a little more conventional after a first half that seems to be so rich and even inspirational; my 8 Mile comparison isn't being facetious, though I'm sure a lot of other movies since Emimem's have tried. The heart here could be sentimental in other hands, but the hands that it's in understand how to take things to a grungier level so that what are conventions get elevated by the truth in the characters and actors and the atmosphere. We also love Patti and genuinely want her to succeed, so every little bump in the road (or the much bigger ones by the 2nd half) become all the more painful. On top of all this... the raps are mindblowing. Remarkable!
If it weren't about rap, it would be about any other impoverished young woman pursuing her dream despite the daunting Newark world. Think 8 Mile and the ultimate working-class to riches, Rocky.
Her dogged pursuit is uplifting where another overweight young woman might fold hearing the regular shout-outs calling her "Dumbo." Where in Precious the audience might be aware of Precious's weight, here Patti's movement out of poverty is the major concern. In fact, she has been called "White Precious." Fortunately, she has boyfriends and male colleagues who believe in her talent and in some cases love her.
It's not that Patti is lovable because Jasper's script does not allow her to be sweet. It's just that she makes sacrifices for her dying grandma and washed-up singer mom while she also nurtures her band, PBnJ, to where they can have the minor break on a local stage they have longed for.
Special note for actress Danielle Macdonald: Amazingly you are not a Joiesy girl, you are from Australia; you are not a rapper, you are a fine actress who can believably rap with the best. For those of us who love classical music and mid-20thcentury folk, as I listen to the layers of culture in each rap song, I believe I could become a believer. Not enough songs, however, in this film.
I should not forget to praise the soundtrack from Bruce Springsteen to unknown hip hopit is full of the joy Patti has for her poetry; we just need to give her a chance.
An indie drama written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Geremy Jasper. It tells the story of a plus-sized white woman, in New Jersey, who desperately wants to be a successful rapper. It stars Danielle Macdonald (in the title role), Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty and McCaul Lombardi. The film was made on a budget of just $1 million, and it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, and it was released in indie theaters by Fox Searchlight Pictures. I found it to be extremely inspiring and moving.
Patti Dombrowski (Macdonald) is a young white woman that lives in Bergen County, New Jersey; with her mother Barb (Everett) and her grandmother Nana (Moriarty). She works as a bartender, at a local dive bar, and dreams of becoming a famous rapper. Patti attempts to make her dreams come true, in the music business, with the help of her friend Jheri (Dhananjay), but she constantly faces hate and harassment from nearly everyone in her neighborhood. Then Patti meets another struggling rap artist, named Basterd (Athie), that inspires her again.
The film is a classic underdog story, that actually has some likable rap music in it (and I'm not a big fan of the genre). Macdonald is great in the lead, and her character couldn't be more relatable (to an outcast dreamer like myself at least). I was totally moved by the movie, especially by it's passionate conclusion. It's the type of film that just keeps building and building, on an emotional dramatic level, and by the climax you really want to see a happy ending. It's definitely an inspiring 'feel good' movie as well, in my opinion, that I think almost anyone could enjoy. Unless you're the type of person that likes bullying and harassing outcast dreamers.
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I'd watch this movie again, and I don't say that pften these days.
When I heard about this movie I researched it and was disappointed to find out that it was not playing in my area so I had to drive an hour out of my way to be able to see it but I am very glad that I did. Reminded me a little of 8 mile and the rapping is fantastic, I'm going to download those songs from iTunes
As for her cohort in crime Siddharth Dhananjay did a phenomenal job as well! Great performance !
Hold on. Wrong film.
When "Patti Cake$" was pitched to me as a white-Jersey-girl version of "8 Mile," I was a bit apprehensive but still interested. Not being a huge fan of the film it was compared to, I took the route of this being the film to officially close the 11th Dallas International Film Festival to keep me intrigued to see it because you wouldn't not want to finish strong, right?
In this case: RIGHT.
With first-time feature director Geremy Jasper working with an Australian actress who had never rapped before in Danielle Macdonald, there would theoretically be a lot working against this film, but the fact that it all works brilliantly and keeps a wonderful sense of humor is a testament to the dedication of everyone involved with this project. There are a TON of laughs in here without getting to the point of parody or ridiculous, a really head-bobbing soundtrack, and really great relationships with the characters that this cast pulls off in the greatest of ways.
And when you speak of this cast it's not just Macdonald that brings the top of her and everyone else's game here. "The Get Down" star Mamaudou Athie is both intense and hilarious as a mysterious performance artist and producer that Patti takes on to shape her sound named Basterd, Siddarth Dhananjay does great comedic relief while keeping the character of her best friend and vocal partner, Jheri, grounded and not caricature, an appearance by M.C. Lyte as a local radio D.J., and the members of Patti's family with comedy veteran Bridget Everett as her mother who tries to hang on to her own former musical glory and the wonderful Cathy Moriarty as her grandmother who becomes a catalyst for Patti's hip-hop persona development.
Add all of this together and combine it with a script that Jasper constructs that plays to his actor's strengths to the point that there is a level of questioning whether the script of the actors came first, and "Patti Cake$" getting picked up by Fox Searchlight was a sure bet when it aired at the Sundance Film Festival to be released this summer. Whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not, this is a film that can be enjoyed by fans across all barriers. Just make sure to leave the kids at home.
The obvious comparison here is Eminem's 8 MILE, but there is also a touch of ROCKY, THE COMMITMENTS, and most all other sports and music movies featuring the dreams of those from 'the other side of the tracks'. Writer/director Geremy Jasper has a nice feel for setting and actors, and it's only the (at times) formulaic nature of the script that keeps this one in the crowd-pleasing category rather reaching a level of greatness.
Australian native Danielle Macdonald plays Patti Dombrowski, also known as Killa P, and most every other cruel nickname (Dumbo, White Precious) one might pin on a plus-sized Anglo girl found street rapping. As you would expect, her tough outer visage masks an all- too-familiar inner insecurity borne from a larger than life mother who blames her daughter for every misery in life. Bridget Everett plays the mother Barb, a hard-drinking, hard-singing, hard-blaming type who gives such sterling mother advice as 'lose the top button' for that job interview. Mother Barb, providing proof of her distance from reality, refers to herself and daughter Patti as "the Dombrowski sisters", whom she claims are "setting the world on fire".
The tenuous mother-daughter relationship is at the core of the film, and these two actresses (and the movie) are at their best in their scenes together. On the music side, Siddarth Dhananjay plays Jhen, Patti's eternal optimist-pharmacist-music partner, while Mamoudou Athie is Basterd, a self-proclaimed anti-Christ anarchist. The three form a band called PB&J (Patti, Basterd, Jhen) which provides friendship, a creative release, and, mostly, a reason for existence. Their band, and especially Patti, gets a boost from Nana (a remarkable Cathy Moriarty) on vocals and the CD cover. Ms. Moriarty is now 56 years old (playing older here), and was only 19 when she made her stunning screen debut in RAGING BULL. Other supporting work is provided by MC Lyte, Wass Stevens and Sahr Ngaujah.
The neighborhood is Bayonne New Jersey (see CHUCK), an area where lines such as "blood is thicker than Jager" actually make sense. A 23 year old would-be rapper can work as a bartender and caterer, and still find time to hone her musical skills. It's the land of misfits and music that only sounds sweet to a few ears - where dreams don't consist of owning yacht, but rather "making it across the bridge". Crowd- pleasing movies are quite welcome these days, and filmmaker Jasper has joined with dynamite actresses Macdonald and Everett in delivering just that. Expect all to reach greater heights over the next few years.