Green lights flash as the roller coaster jolts to a start. The camera pans to the left, revealing Travis Scott, up close and personal. Released on Aug. 28 the Netflix Original “Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly” is a roller coaster ride similar to the one that the Houston, Texas born rapper enjoys in the opening scene of his documentary.
The film highlights the tumultuous and highly successful past two years of Travis Scott’s career, while also further exploring the perplexity of his personal life and the cyclical nature which connects both his past and present. The majority of the first half hour of the hour and twenty-four minute long documentary is intense footage from the rapper’s concerts.
A certain passion courses through the veins of every concert goer, founded in a combination of obsession and appreciation for Travis, and his energy within each performance is palpable through the screen. Images of flashing lights, pyrotechnics and an abundance of fans heaving their bodies into a wild crowd characterize his concerts with a unique vibrancy and fascination.
This fast paced beginning is soon juxtaposed with old home videos of Travis Scott’s childhood, a time when he went by Jack, short for Jacques Webster Jr. Throughout the documentary this personal film is inserted sequentially in order to develop the multifaceted connection between his past and present personal life and career.
The most frequent scenes of Webster’s past are those of his time in Astroworld, a defunct amusement park in Houston, which served as the muse for his triple Grammy nominated album “Astroworld.” The footage of his own childhood experiences is used next to that of his and Kylie Jenner’s daughter, Stormi, in order to highlight the repetitive nature of Scott’s life and the way he reflects upon in many different aspects of the past two years.
Similarly, videos of young Jacques Webster with his family are used in combination with recent footage of them attending his concerts as an emotional trigger to further build the concept of Travis Scott as much more than an enigma who only exists in the media.
However, as implied by the metaphor of his roller coaster ride in the thrilling opening scene of the film, Travis Scott’s journey has not been a simple route to stardom. The volatile nature of the rapper’s life is depicted through footage of his arrest and release from jail, conversations with his lawyer and his mugshot.
Later, the documentary takes a more morbid turn in order to pay homage to DJ Screw who Travis notes as a key influence in the development of “Astroworld” and his music making process as a whole. The scene serves as a reflection on the mortality of all lives, even those of celebrities.
In addition to his exponential success over the course of the last two years, the movie explores his greatest disappointment: the 2019 Grammy’s. Although Travis received three separate Grammy nominations for “Astroworld,” all of them failed to come to fruition, resulting in an extended period of self-loathing and stress. The documentary successfully captures how public yet personal the loss was for Travis and uses this setback as a catalyst to exhibit his ability to overcome his failures.
Though the movie does not necessarily comply with the typical characteristics of an informative documentary, it successfully provides a personal, visually intriguing insight into the life of Travis Scott. The film closes with footage of young Jacques Webster leaving Astroworld and then cutting to recent family footage of him, Kylie and Stormi. The imagery serves as a somewhat cliched yet genuinely heartwarming ending and highlights Scott’s appreciation for the consistent support from those in his personal life throughout the highs and lows of his capricious lifestyle.