For MLK weekend, moviegoers may elect to see Freedom Writers (review here), or can choose another mostly positive offering.
I could describe Stomp the Yard, but I prefer this plot summary:
After the death of his younger brother, a troubled 19-year-old street dancer from Los Angeles is able to bypass juvenile hall by enrolling in the historically black Truth University in Atlanta, Georgia. But his efforts to get an education and woo the girl he likes are sidelined when he is courted by the top two campus fraternities, both of which want and need his fierce street-style dance moves to win the highly coveted national step show competition.
Wow. You see why I had to go?
I plead a great deal of ignorance about dance culture, but while watching the film, I noticed that a lot of these "fierce street-style dance moves" resemble what I thought originated in the South. Why wouldn't Atlanta college students know about them already? Why would they need a West Coast import to teach them?
Aside from that critical plot point, it's enjoyable. Columbus Short, who I barely recognized as the reserved and deferent new writer on TV's Studio 60, gives a potentially starmaking performance here, full of intelligence, physicality, and depth. He leads a cast of mostly recognizable faces who haven't had roles this big before.
(Author's note: This week I attended an advanced screening of Alpha Dog as well, but left after about 30 minutes. I wasn't as offended as the rest of my party, but certainly felt annoyed and unamused by then. We weren't the only ones to leave.)