Author Topic: The Get Down  (Read 718 times)

greenstreet

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The Get Down
« on: April 12, 2020, 11:16:47 AM »
Nothing to do with Mod really (well, it depends of the ever slippery definition of "mod", but that's another story), but a vibrant slice of pop culture history nonetheless, "The Get Down" (Netflix) is essential viewing, IMO.

In these days of endless audiovisual assault, it had passed me by (the series is two or three years old) but someone praised it the other day in FB and I decided to give it a go with the family, moreover given my son likes rap and hip-hop. Chronicling the beginnings of those genres in the dilapidated, warzone-like setting of NY's Bronx circa 1977, while disco rules unaware it's about to pass the scepter to the newcomers, the conventional "searching for true love/fame" story is but a excuse to get the watcher immersed in a hell of a rollercoaster ride of dilapidated urban landscapes, over the top clobber, sensuous disco music/dancing, well-delineated secondary characters, sweaty hip-hop (including proto-breakbeat dancing), grafitti mystique, drugs, ghetto violence and exuberant street life (and gangs).

Style over substance maybe, but even that can be made just right, and here Baz Luhrmann (who I didn't rate very high before viewing this, tbh: "Moulin Rouge" I especially hated) does get right that difficult balance between realistic depiction and the stylized fantasy of a musical. I've just seen the first episode so far, but even if the rest doesn't live up to the created expectations, it'd still be a worthy hour and a half of your time, as that introductory episode feels like a proper movie, and a fine one at that.

The fact I'm not very interested in popular black music after the mid-70s (even recognizing the merits of some of it, including rap or house) is further proof of "The Get Down" powerful pull, as I found myself surrendering without reserves to the heady musical mix the series proposes, and quite enjoying it! A sort of legendary/mythic undercurrent to the plot works quite well and also helps to lift the show up from the mundane "period" dramas.

On reflection, maybe a sequel/prequel/whatever of Quad isn't the way to go. Why not a TV series about the mod phenomenon that focuses on conveying the excitement and radiance of the era, also its fast/restless pace, trying to get the details right but without losing itself on the accuracy/realism trap at expense of the overall impression? Sort of a well done "Absolute Beginners". I'll leave it here.

For those interested in "The Get Down", take a look at the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfAWak0yoRA



 

DrGonzo2411

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Re: The Get Down
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2020, 12:10:15 PM »
As a fan of hip hop, particularly the early scene, this looks right up my street. Cheers, Rafa, had passed me by too.
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greenstreet

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Re: The Get Down
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2020, 02:41:19 PM »
As a fan of hip hop, particularly the early scene, this looks right up my street. Cheers, Rafa, had passed me by too.


Cheers, Nick, report back, please, I'm interested in your opinion

DrGonzo2411

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Re: The Get Down
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2020, 04:00:55 PM »
Will do, Rafa
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DrGonzo2411

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Re: The Get Down
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2020, 02:33:02 PM »
So, I watched the first episode last night and I would concur with what Rafa said, in the main. Luhrman has got the period nailed in terms of the decrepit state of larges swarthes of NY, the clothes, the gangs, the music and the language. He also has the characters namecheck the true pioneers of the scene (Kool Herc, Afrika Bambata and Grandmaster Flash amongst others). What doesn't work for me is the MTV feel of some of the musical interludes, bit cheesy for my taste. However, I can see beyond that and will continue watching. Thanks again to mi hermano Rafa for flagging this up!
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greenstreet

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Re: The Get Down
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2020, 03:05:17 PM »
So, I watched the first episode last night and I would concur with what Rafa said, in the main. Luhrman has got the period nailed in terms of the decrepit state of larges swarthes of NY, the clothes, the gangs, the music and the language. He also has the characters namecheck the true pioneers of the scene (Kool Herc, Afrika Bambata and Grandmaster Flash amongst others). What doesn't work for me is the MTV feel of some of the musical interludes, bit cheesy for my taste. However, I can see beyond that and will continue watching. Thanks again to mi hermano Rafa for flagging this up!

Cheers, Nick: I absolutely agree with you regarding the MTV feel of the musical numbers, maybe done a bit tongue in check, like the cartoon interludes. A word of warning: I'm almost finishing the two seasons and that first movie-long episode is by far the best of the lot, IMO.

Don't get me wrong: the series holds interest and you get involved with the characters (fine casting work), the comedy-musical balance usually works, the late 70s settings are well accomplished and pace is lively, but it lacks somehow the magic/dazzling element that made the first chapter so special, instead it turns quickly into a rather conventional soap opera with a derelict Bronx background and a hip hop/disco soundtrack. Still good, well made entertainment.