Directed by Charles Stone III.
Written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps.
Starring Nick Cannon, Zoë Saldana and Orlando Bloom.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 1/5/03
My sister Cate and I had to see something,
but because she is my 14-year-old sister, the film pick had to be a
“Gangs of New York” was out and “Drumline” was in.
(“Two Weeks Notice”? You MUST be a Bellview rookie.)
“Drumline” follows the fictional Atlanta A&T
marching band as it goes from late summer training camp through its
run for victory at the BET Big Southern Classic, a band competition
where the best bands in the South duke it out for $50,000 in prize
money. The movie is most concerned with an incoming freshman from
NYC named Devon (Nick Cannon) who is possibly the best snare drum
player at Atlanta A&T. Devon’s an egotistical hotshot, but with
skills to match his motor mouth and the eye of the lead cheerleader
(Zoë Saldana, from Britney’s
“Crossroads”) to boot, he’s DEFINITELY hangin’ out as he helps the band go from good to great.
As many movies have been this year,
“Drumline” is basically two movies, one very clichéd and passé, and
one pretty entertaining at a high level, no matter what your
background. Here, the scenes involving Devon in class, at parties,
with his chica, and all others featuring him not on the field
playing drums are pretty weak. I just didn’t like Devon or the
actor playing him, from his fake smile to his clichéd pick-up lines
(blackified for this film, of course) to the fact that it just felt
like this kid knows the director or something and that’s how he got
However, the band sequences really shine and
they are what make “Drumline” worthy of a Saturday-afternoon
viewing. I don’t think I have ever seen a film that spends so much
time with the percussion section, and this originality helps you
learn just a taste of why, for marching bands at least, the drums
are the most important section of them all. Adding to this is the
same feeling you get every time you watch the halftime show of the
Bayou Classic, featuring two traditionally-black schools.
Man, white bands suck!
In fact, watching “Drumline” made me think
of how shitty the Pep Band at THE University of Virginia really is.
By far the whitest band in the country, the Pep Band isn’t really a
marching band but has marching band tendencies—uniforms, on-field
formations, covers of popular modern songs and a conductor wearing a
grandiose uniform. The difference is that the musicians on the Pep
Band—at least, while I was there—mostly sucked. In fact, during the
Continental Tire Bowl, the ONLY thing that went wrong for UVA during
the game was at halftime; 72,000 fans (i.e., West Virginia fans AND
the UVA fans) were booing the Pep Band during their halftime show.
Sad. (Don’t worry, Amanda, Vicki and Themis, I still love you
I love watching black marching bands; the
music, the dancing, the uniforms, the *soul* is just awesome. And,
“Drumline” captures that feeling very well...too bad the rest of the
movie doesn’t get any sloppy seconds.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard