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A fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer from Harlem who enrolls in a Southern university, expecting to lead its marching band's drumline to victory. He initially flounders in his new world, before realizing that it takes more than talent to reach the top. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Those who have been in precision marching bands (yes, that includes the music) know about the hard work and dedication that it takes to be the best or among the best. The message of the movie, as I see it, is about that dedication and sacrifice in order to achieve greatness. Being a movie, of course there are unrealistic aspects woven into the story. For example, Devon should have not have been permitted to rejoin the band until he could read music. Because he did, it shot a big hole in one of the main underlying moral principles of the band. Still, we're talking about a movie. I experienced great emotional appeal watching the hard work of the "team." Sure, if it was a complete story about a marching band, the movie would fall far short, but who would watch a 20-hour movie about a marching band? It certainly would have been more realistic to include the pranks and general fun that we all had to have in between all the hard work just to stay sane. The movie as presented may not be entertaining to anyone who has never worked hard toward a goal with a team, but for those who have, I'm sure they will see a piece of themselves and their experience in Drumline. It's easy to find criticism in virtually anything. If we accept the basic good message of Drumline and allow ourselves to be entertained by the music as presented, it will be a movie that will be watched and enjoyed repeatedly. For those who actually think there are race issues in the movie, pay more attention to the people in it and what they are trying to do with their work, and you won't see any color. With some luck, maybe one day, you'll know what it's like to be in a marching band.
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