'Made in America' Lacks Quality In Production
As the title would suggest, Ron Howard’s documentary of the Budweiser
Made in America festival doesn’t carry too much gravitas or interest on this side of the Atlantic.
Over two nights back in 2012, self-confessed “business, man” Jay Z arranged a music event in Philadelphia which had the aim of showcasing ‘merica rising from the smouldering ashes of the economic recession. The irony of this being pieced together by an individual who seems entirely influenced by financial gains (think the Samsung record deals, the “your money too short to be talking to me” statements) is lost on everybody involved in the film, but, being British, who doesn’t love an opportunity to be cynical? The concept of the actual event was nice, as was Howard’s emphatic cinematography throughout, but the entire documentary just felt hollow and overtly self-indulgent. A weak underlying message that music can bring everyone together is true in certain circumstances, but the notion of the Dirty Projectors uniting steel industry unions is somewhat far fetched.
There are moments of interest, from the local talent showcases to the rare-insightful interviews with Tyler, the Creator, but all too often the stilted chronology of the film causes any rhythm to wither. It’s fascinating to watch how Eddie Vedder captivates an audience or how Darryl DMC McDaniels has the most encyclopaedic music knowledge, but when these junctures are followed by a Rita Ora interview or redneck drawling about the “land of the free” it all just becomes a bit too much. Even a late, and sweaty, surprise appearance from Kanye can’t inject life into
Made in America. It’s more
Talihina Sky rather than
Muscle Shoals; too much has been shoehorned into the film, and the influences of producing it seem to be solely hedonistic. When you’re as rich as Mr. Z however, would you really care?
It’s been announced that a Made in America will take place this year in LA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6zQ1MmdfGw
MADE IN AMERICA is available on VoD and DVD 19 May