Bo Burnham's "Eighth Grade" May Be My Most Anticipated Movie of 2018
The internet has launched the careers of pretty much every famous person alive today under the age of 30. For the most part this is a bad thing, now any idiot can grab a camera of varying quality, make a terrible rap song, stick it on YouTube and get a few million followers in no time at all. It is much rarer to see the internet spit out a diamond rather than an it's normal waste and Bo Burnham may just be the brightest diamond of all.
Way back.....even before there was such a thing as a YouTube, there was a much worse way to share video content, that way was ebaums world. On this beautiful haven of filthy videos and cringy animated content is where I found Bo Burnham. I remember watching this video for the first time like it was yesterday and was absolutely blown away.
I could not even comprehend the talent of this dude. 14 year old me had no idea that someone could be so funny and smart and talented and be somewhat close to my age. His ability to write songs that were so clever it took me countless re-listens to get just some of the jokes. He was also using this new platform in ways that were years ahead of his time and unlike most other internet stars, he never fell off, in fact he continued to improve.
Fast forward a few years and Bo has a few stand up specials, most of which utilizing his musical talent, acting a bit and appearing in some tv shows but he was always best in his element, viral videos. Bo continued to stand out in a sea of hacks by consistently putting out great content on a variety of platforms and then in 2016 Bo blew the dag gone doors off. In his third hour special entitled Make Happy, Bo Burnham completely stepped his game up in every way and put out what I believe to be one of the best stand-up specials ever.
The combination of comedy and music was so fluid and every single bit was not just great but extraordinary. This one is my personal favorite but everything from "Country Song" to the amazing 8 minute Kanye West rant parody is absolutely worth a watch, and when the whole thing is done Bo gets more serious than we have ever seen him.
After the way he finished "Make Happy" I knew Burnham was reeling to do something different than he had done for the better part of a decade, but that also meant stepping out of his comfort zone. Then just a few days ago I was introduced to a trailer for the movie "Eighth Grade", written and directed by Bo Burnham himself.
I think I maybe had heard of the movie before but I can't be sure, but what I was sure of is that I was watching that trailer immediately.
I know I always say don't trust the trailer, and that is almost always true. What is exceptional about this specific trailer is how well they show off what the movie is about, who it may appeal to and entices that audience without giving almost anything about the movie away.
More importantly it shows me where Bo's mind is at with this movie. It clearly has at leas some autobiographical elements to it with an appreciated and possibly genius move in the gender swap. It looks pretty cinematic so this is not some goofy movie about kids dicking around, it feels much more like someone looking back at the times they thought were the worst but really were the best. It seems funny with some big dark swings and most importantly it looks like a Bo Burnham movie through and through.
When Get Out came out everyone said "This is a movie only Jordan Peele could have made" and I get the same vibe from Eighth Grade. Burnham had this incredibly different path than almost anyone else to be where he is today and while we all got to join the ride on the internet, I have a feeling a good amount of the person we were seeing was formed in Eighth Grade.
I just re-watched the ending of Make Happy and I feel more than compelled to link it here. It is certainly not your typical ending for a comedy special but it is certainly the one that has effected me the most. It takes an immense amount of courage and confidence to show the world this side of himself, to close out his comedy special no less, and I think that Eighth Grade could to contain all of this and more.