Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stompy feet

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.)


K-Lyn said...

Hmmm. I just got a huge long-winded review by a co-worker who saw Alpha Dog last night and was trying to encourage us to all go... She was not amused when I asked if JT was sucessful
"bringing alpha back".

Meanwhile, have you see Children of Men yet?

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Alpha Dog's that bad? Wow. I see ads for it every 2 seconds on TV.

Neel Mehta said...

"Bringing alpha back"... that's very funny. That your co-worker didn't laugh at that tells me a lot about her bad taste.

Alpha Dog may eventually have become worth watching -- it was written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, and is based on a real event -- but it did not start well.

The opening credits are a series of fuzzy home videos of these SoCal children back in their age of innocence, probably to show the stark contrast of what they are now: bored, drug-dealing, gangster wannabes who idolize the violent aspects of hip-hop culture but are racist at the same time. They lack any virtue, create a criminal element where there was none, and descend into hedonism just because they can.

All that said, Justin Timberlake played a minor character mostly there for comic relief, and produced a few audience chuckles.

K-Lyn said...

Ahem...seriously man...Children of Men...

Mainline Mom said...

I am seriously jealous of all the advance screenings you go to. I get to see a movie in a theatre about once a quarter, if I'm lucky.

Neel Mehta said...

K-lyn: The more important I'm told a movie is, the less I want to see it, but I'll certainly try to see Children of Men this weekend.

MM: Well, I'm jealous that you have a great spouse and kid, so it balances out. Kidding. I'm going to go cry now.

K-Lyn said...

Not important so much as really well-crafted. And you always find words for how I felt about a movie so I need you to articulate for me...although you'll probably leave out how hot Clive Owen is. He would have made a fine 007!

PG said...

I initially rooted for Clive Owen to be 007, and I think he would have worked particularly well for Casino Royale, when Bond is still kind of rough-edged and not the polished playboy, but ultimately I'm glad they didn't pick Owen. I think he would have gotten stuck in the role, and now he's free to play a range.

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