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    Drumline [18]

    Movie Reviews
    If you like marching bands and drum lines, then this movie is for you. If you want to get a look at life in a historically black college or university (HBCU), then maybe Spike Lee’s School Daze is for you.

    Devon Miles (Nick Cannon), A good high school drummer from New York (Harlem), gets recruited by Dr. James Lee (Orlando Jones), to join his marching band on scholarship at fictional university Atlanta A&T. It turns out that Devon cannot read music, but is remarkably gifted at drumming and learning by repetition. While we do not know if Devon is dyslexic overall, the story has the same theme as that of a dyslexic struggling to read.

    HBCU marching bands have traditional band uniforms, perform half-time field shows, march in parades, and play music like other American college bands. But they have a distinctive marching style that combines the strutting chair step of Big-10 marching bands along with energetic dance moves. Their musical selection also places emphasis on Soul, R&B, and Hip-hop music instead of military and marching music.

    The ( Southwest DeKalb high school band from Decatur, Georgia starred as the fictional Atlanta A&T pounding panther college band. The movie was filmed at Clark Atlanta University and the real Robert Morris University. In the final battle of the bands in the fictional BET Southern classic, we get to see the real Grambling, Bethune-Cookman, and Robert Morris marching bands in action in the Georgia dome. We also see the Clark Atlanta band members in several roles. SWD was the band that appeared in the 1996 Olympic opening ceremonies in Atlanta.

    There is lots of drumming in this movie. And when I say lots, I mean field snares, field toms, and basses in every scene. Pearl drums and Remo drumheads are featured prominently. In fact I would go so far as to say that the product placement was obvious. I will just put their web site links here to save you time.

    The love story between freshman drummer Devon and junior dance team member Laila (Zoe Saldana) seems kooky. Why does this hot chick not have an upperclassman boyfriend? I kept waiting to find out that big brother ironman Sean Taylor was Laila’s main man. They do not even seem to have a scene together.

    This movie might possible have the first portrayal of the Kappa Kappa Psi (Κ Κ Ψ) honorary band fraternity in a movie. I was looking forward to their choreographed dance at the Epsilon party. Although it did not match one I saw from the Howard University band members in 1986 ("I was swimmin’ through the ocean on the head of my dick, a just wadin’ through pussy like an oil slick").

    If you were not a band person, well this movie was just plain boring. The only real tension comes when Devon is booted from the band and might possibly defect to Robert Morris. And why not? What loyalty does he have for A&T? He needs a scholarship, right?

    Band camp was very intense in the A&T band. Members are classified as a P1 though P4 based on their abilities. And only P1 members are guaranteed a spot to march in the half time show. The P2 through P4 members have to challenge higher ranking members to gain spots in the marching squad. Freshmen are hazed and called "crabs" in the movie. It seemed overly dramatic to me, as bigger and better college marching bands are much more laid back about this sort of thing.

    The movie does a great job of portraying that there are other opportunities for getting out of Harlem besides NBA basketball.

    This movie was worth a one dollar library rental {BB}

    Clark Atlanta Panther band:
    Bethune Cookman band:
    Morris Brown:
    Grambling State University Tiger Band:

    The real life Honda Battle of the Bands at the Georgia Dome

    And check out this great trailer parody put together by the UCLA Bruin Marching Band

    Added: April 6th 2006
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 18    [18]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB - Drumline
    Hits: 12095
    Language: english


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