The Sound of One Man Clapping

Clapping for the Wrong Reasons is Donald Glover‘s paranoid pot tinged, self-reverential short film.  Reasons was released on his website iamdonald.com without any known ambition. This is likely one of the initial salvos in Glover’s attempt to broaden his pop cultural office from supporting actor and comic, to multi-hyphenate rapper and now filmmaker. Glover chose to cut short the comforts of his role as Troy on NBC’s Community to chase and create pursuits like these.

Reasons is a beautifully bizarre spectacle frosted by utterly pointless exercises. Glover plays a darkest timeline version of himself caught on infinite loop of random hard bodied young women; directionless conversations, and hyper ironic Gen-Y pop culture allusions (Danielle Fishel anybody). All this is couched within a series of beautifully shot, barely cobbled together scenes. In the most curious scene in the piece, Glover inexplicably pulls a gold tooth on a string out of his nose. Clapping for all the wrong reasons is mirror image of another rapper’s inflated vanity project Kanye West’s Runaway.   West’s Runaway is larger than life ,including literal angels, opulent dinners and golden chalices. Glover’s Reasons is deflated. Despite its monied settings, Reasons shows a man rudderless, detached from his given fame laced reality and perhaps reality itself.  If this description seems tortured its because Reasons begs for one.

Glover reigns as one of modern pop culture’s most interesting characters. How long his moment is anyone’s guess. Work like Reasons will carve his mark no matter where his career shifts to next.