The After Party is the 8 Mile for this generation. That’s not necessarily a good thing for my fellow barely-made-the-cut millennials. While we remember 8 Mile fondly from our college days as B-Rabbit chasing the dream by battling rappers, living in a trailer park, and dealing with some bad hands in life, we live in a different time now. As a Netflix original in part produced by internet juggernaut World Star, the film charts the path of the possible rise to stardom for this era’s hip hop artists but forgets to provide substance along the way.
Basically, it’s a one wild night story in which Owen (rapper Kyle) is a struggling artist trying to make it in the game. His best friend, Jeff (Harrison Holzer), believes he’s the truth and will make it more than he does and pushes him as his manager. Yet, with being sent to the Marines on the horizon, the duo has one night to try to impress a record exec before Owen’s fate is sealed. Just prior to this all too important night, Owen went viral after throwing up on Wiz Khalifa by way of hitting his super strong weed. Now known as “Seizure Boy” on the internet, Owen has to prove that he’s more than just a meme. If this doesn’t sound substantive, wait, there’s more.
In the midst of trying to get a deal, Owen also wants to get with Jeff’s sister, Alicia (Shelley Hennig), who he’s dug since childhood. With the proper motivations in place, Owen and Jeff navigate the night and a multitude of cameos to try to get to an elusive party where he might be able to spit for a new life. The cameos in this film fly at you fast and furious in almost each scene change. Yet, it may be fair to say that’s much like this digital world of social media that we live in. We’re constantly bombarded with information digitally, so why not be bombarded with DJ Khaled, Jadakiss, Tee Grizzley, Pusha T and more randomly throughout the film?!
Regardless of how inconsequential my old fuddy duddy self thinks the plot is. There are definitely some laugh out loud moments in the film if you’re a fan of hip hop culture. The fact that the film revels in it’s outlandishness makes it easy to ingest if you don’t take it too seriously. Cinematographers Damian Acevedo and Dagmar Weaver-Madsen present a dream-like palette worthy of the best follow your dreams movie. Kyle turns in a believable performance as the laid back Owen.
I can still remember watching the rap battles in 8 Mile over and over in my college dorm room. Perhaps one of the best lessons in that film was seeing Eminem’s character go back to work right after becoming the man to beat. The After Party doesn’t leave you with any life lessons, and ends on an all to clean note. However, if you’re willing to take the ride, you can’t help but feel the inner dreamer in yourself cheer a little by the end.