I don’t know what the deal is with this movie but I gotta admit I kinda liked it. Basically it is your formula movie about young kids competing in something, like LOVE AND BASKETBALL or KARATE KID or WORLD’S BIGGEST GANG BANG or that kind of thing. But in this case instead of sports they are competing at marching band.
The main kid is Nick Cannon who I just looked up on IMDb. I guess he was on the “nickelodeon” kids channel and even had a show named after him. So basically he is an unknown. He is real good as a prodigy on the drum. Not the drums, just one drum that you carry around. This kid is real good, especially good at memorizing and picking things up fast, but you find out later that he can’t read music. Still, he gets a scholarship to this college and goes to this marching band and finds out it’s alot more strict than he expected. They got a curfew, they got a drum major that hates him, etc.
One thing I like is they don’t try to convince you that marching band is cool. They just kind of assume that you already think so. And you kind of feel like there must be some mistake, I guess I never knew marching band was cool. This kid is a superstar, like Ray Allen in HE GOT GAME, there is even an instructor from a rival marching band talking him up trying to get him to switch over.
Another thing I like is that it takes itself seriously. It is basically a drama, there’s not alot of bad comic relief type crap. There is a little bit about one white guy who tries to compete in this all black band, but nothing embarassing.
What really makes or breaks the movie though is if you enjoy watching the band. I mean it’s not like I’m into that kind of crap but they do a good job making it seem exciting. The drumming sounds good and they play lots of classics by Earth Wind and Fire, Sugar Hill Gang, Michael Jackson, etc. They make it into a big ass duel, they even have the competing bands face to face drumming at each other. I swear to christ a fight breaks out in one scene because the drumming competition gets too personal or something, I don’t know.
There is sort of a theme in the movie of “old school” vs. “new school.” The teacher (Orlando Jones from OFFICE SPACE and 7-UP) is real serious, like he’s trying to be Laurence Fishburne. I think he’s the 21st century Ernie Hudson. Anyway he hates that other bands play popular music, and criticizes rap as not being music. But in the end he learns to combine “my old school with a little bit of your new school” which turns out just to mean playing old Michael Jackson songs. (?)
I think maybe there is a theme in there about individuality also, as they try to hammer the rebelliousness out of the kid and teach him the concept of “one band, one sound.” Fuckers.
Anyway, I thought it was mildly entertaining. I will keep an eye on this director Charles Stone III who also did PAID IN FULL. I’m not sure what the deal is with this one though.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.