The Carter (2009)

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Movie Info

Lil Wayne (aka Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) began his career in music when he was a teenager; at eighteen, he became part of the "Dirty South" rap music family at Cash Money Records, but in time he matured into one of the most idiosyncratic and original voices in hip hop, and earned a new degree of critical respect with his 2004 The Carter as well as his many mixtapes. In 2008, Lil Wayne confirmed his status as rap's star of the moment when his album Tha Carter III sold over a million copies in its first week of release. That same year, Lil Wayne granted filmmaker Adam Bhala Lough full access as he hit the road for a concert tour, and The Carter is a revealing behind-the-scenes documentary which follows the rapper as he travels from town to town, discusses his music with journalists, talks frankly about his life and career, indulges in his passion for marijuana and codeine cough syrup, and constantly puts down new musical ideas on the portable recording rig that's his constant companion. Tha Carter received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as part of the "Park City At Midnight" series.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Virgil Films & Entertainment

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Critic Reviews for The Carter

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Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Carter

First and foremost let me clarify all the bias and ignorant, yet frequent, comments that are swirling around "The Carter": this film does not glorify Lil Wayne. Period. What it DOES glorify, however, is his addictive and downright inhuman work ethic. The man does not stop...ever. Recording over 1000 songs in the year 2008 alone is a perfect example of his constantly-creating lifestyle, in which he somehow manages to raise an adorable (and loving) daughter, all while forever-high off his choice of drugs: Promethazine syrup and lots and lots of marijuana. It is inarguable that Wayne is far from a normal, functioning human being...and if that isn't an engaging film premise, I don't know what is. The film begins with montages of Wayne recording songs in his tour bus and hotel room, places that only HE manages to make music in. It's safe to say that, along with Wayne himself, his manager Cortez Bryant is the "narrator" of the film, sharing his opinions and love for the artist through interviews and footage of his constant phone-calling and dollar sign negotiations. The film is very "Tyson"-esque in the sense that you are brought into the mind of this bizarre individual by the individual himself. When asked the question "What would you do if you were President?", he answers "I would put cocaine back into Coca-Cola, I would legalize marijuana first AND second. Then I would eliminate all drug-use laws in sports: if you wanna take steroids, that's cool with me...as long as you playin' good." You can't help but laugh at the sheer foolishness of the man's comments, however Wayne has no shame in being downright immature; this is HIS world that he's explaining. We just all live in it. As "The Carter" dives into his self-destruction drug addictions, we see a darker side of the artist, a side that his manager barely even comments on for he is "too heartbroken to see him like that." Once again, no one in Wayne's extensive clique of assistants and errand-runners support or enjoy his addiction...and he doesn't expect them too. "Who gives a f--k what I'm drinking or what I do or what's in my cup? It's in MY cup!" This is practically common sense to Lil Wayne, confused as to why everyone cares what he does. He's going to do it either way, whether we like it or not. We might as well all just accept it now. The film doesn't shove anything in your face or add unnecessary melodrama. It doesn't portray the addicted martian-like rapper as an icon or role model whatsoever. It simply takes you for a ride into the world and mentality of Lil Wayne, such a bizarre, conceited, and uncomfortable place that it is ultimately somewhat of a wonder. This film exposes us to the real Lil Wayne, one of the most interesting characters ever put on video.

Kaylee Shepherd
Kaylee Shepherd
½

Im a Lil Wayne fan and the first part of this doc was what I wanted to see but the second part showed a side of him that most don't see. His drug addiction, ego, and his lack of respect to a lot of people. He is the best rapper alive and I love his music.. he is standing on top the the world but its glass he is standing on.

David Nordgren
David Nordgren

Whatever your preconceived notions of rap superstar Lil Wayne are, viewers of Adam Bhala Lough's documentary "The Carter" are bound to be shocked. Being an avid listener of the work of Lil Wayne, it was a treat to watch him record in his hotel rooms while smoking weed and drinking the infamous "sizzurp," a cough syrup with codeine. This was an artist at work; however, as the documentary moves on, the you start to perceive that drinking "the syrup" is not a fun hobby that is beneficial to Waynes' creative flow. It is simply an addiction that parallels heroin and completely detrimental to many aspects of his life. His childhood friend and manager, Cortez Bryant, can no longer ride on the tour bus because he can't stand seeing Wayne destroy himself with the syrup. I must admit to being disappointed by this documentary, because it is more of a public service announcement than it is a delving into the life of a rap icon. The first ten minutes of the film (which were released on youtube as a promo) gave the impression that the method of dissecting the life of Mr. Dwayne Carter would be through interviews that correlate to his lyrics. An especially effective scene is the use of lil Waynes' song LaLa to describe his tough early life on the streets of Hollygrove, New Orleans. However, director Adam Bhala Lough seems to abandon this method as the film progresses. Switching to a darker style that makes Lil Wayne appear to be almost inhuman at times, hopelessly trapped in his drug use. It must be noted that Wayne does not support the release of the film. He appears a man who will never cry for help himself, but this documentary seems to be doing it on his behalf. Although his lifestyle appears reckless, this is a biased film, only highlighting the most extreme parts of his world. Instead of seeing a Dwayne Carter who is a lyrical genius and self proclaimed voice of a generation, we see a miserable, mumbling, drug addict. If this is truly the case, and lil Wayne is actually this decimated by his choices, than maybe it is time for some rehab. The carter is worth seeing if you are an avid fan or even curious about lil Wayne. The actually quality of the documentary however, is poor at times, and the bias is unhidden.

Greg Rappaport
Greg Rappaport

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