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Reviews & Ratings for
Drumline More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Horrible acting by Nick Cannon

Author: DeadInbred
28 December 2002

The movie looked good in its initial announcement, but choosing to make the movie about showbands was a major disappointment. It would have been better about a true marching band that really works to put together a good show, not goes out and learns in a day or two how to get in the shape of a car or play as loud as possible with a bad sound. The performance by Nick Cannon is abominable. A jar of jelly could have delivered a more riveting performance. Not only was Cannon a horrible actor, but he had the audacity to go on to Jay Leno and make fun of real marching bands. Real class act. All in all, don't see the movie, and if you do, don't think it is about marching band.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Pass on this lame piece of work

Author: cutpurse777 from NYC
20 February 2004

I thought it would at least have a good beat, but it didn't even have that. And the overly slick camera tricks were not enough to save this director who was clearly trying to overcompensate for a lack of ability to JUST TELL THE STORY.

Bad movie, bad directing, abysmal dialogue.

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10 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Should've been called "Violaline" to indicate how boring it was.

Author: ianrey from Albuquerque, NM
17 April 2003

I'm a former band guy, and watched this movie knowing how cheesy and foumulaic it would be, but I assumed I would enjoy it the way my wife, a former cheerleader, enjoyed "Bring It On." Nope. There's nothing enjoyable about this movie. The story was cliche, the characters were stock, the direction was amateur, the situation was ludicrous, and the music and marching were a joke. I kind of thought they'd use, or at least model themselves after, real SWAC or MEAC bands and players, but the music sequences, which should have been equivalent to the game sequences in sports movies or the performance sequences in arts movies (e.g. Fame, Center Stage, Bring It On - kinda), were so low quality they were laughable. 20 High Schools in my state could have easily won that competition, and every drum corp except maybe the Troopers. There was some special attention given to, can you believe it, the drum line, but ultimately, the sequences were boring and monotonous, and the cadences rudimentary and annoying. Since the story was utterly predictable, let me rate the performances in this movie, using BOA scoring:

Music Performance Individual: 12/20 - The closeups were the best part, and Devon was good enough to be in my college percussion section - on cymbals. Music Performance Ensemble: 5/20 - One band, one awful sound. They couldn't even play a Bb scale in tune. Seriously. Visual Performance Individual: 5/20 - Hey, Devon? Tick, Tick, Tick... Visual Performance Ensemble: 3/20 - Straight lines are not that hard to maintain when you stand still for 5 minutes.. Maybe you guys should be introduced to a thing called "Marching". In a few years we'll move on to another thing called "Drill Design." Music GE: 15/40 - Dr. Lee, let me introduce you to a thing called a "Theme". There's nothing wrong with quick cheers and fanfares in the stands being based on hip-hop, but you may have noticed that the melodic lines of most contemporary hip-hop tunes are not exactly ever-changing. In The Stone was cutting edge about 20 years ago, but now every high school band plays it. Visual GE: 4/20. Atrocious dancing, flat footed marching, no concept to the shows at all. While we're doing Band 101, there's a new concept called "Color Guard" you may want to look into.

Total score: 44/100. OK, so maybe I was too stingy: there are at least 50 bands in NM that could beat that score.

Oh, one comment made by another user I agree with wholeheartedly: UCLA sucks. Fight on, brother.

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No Drumline Here.

Author: Python Hyena from Canada
1 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Drumline (2002): Dir: Charles Stone / Cast: Nick Cannon, Orlando Jones, Zoe Saldana, Leonard Roberts, J. Anthony Brown: Here is a drama that drums a beat that we've all heard countless times. It regards perseverance and maintaining your goals. It stars Nick Cannon who wins a scholarship to attend a Southern university where he hopes to extend his ability to play the drums on a marching band drumline. His attitude comes into conflict with others, particularly the conductor. The plot is full of clichés but director Charles Stone handles the material with skill with the marching and performing that are wondrous in itself. Unfortunately the fine cast is subdued in stereotypes. Cannon bringing out the rebellious nature of a gifted drummer but the problem is that everything has been laid out before. Orlando Jones is also playing predictable material as a conductor. He will yell at Cannon who will in turn rebel before they come to respect each other in that conclusion we've long arrived at before they have. Zoe Saldana is a disappointment as Cannon's love interest because that is about the height of her role. Other supporting roles are cardboard as well, and are about as festive as hearing those drums beat in your ears for hours. Theme regards expressing self through talents but unfortunately the screenwriter was expressing clichés and stereotypes right down to the final drumline. Score: 3 / 10

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Good formulaic story

Author: SnoopyStyle
16 August 2014

Devon Miles (Nick Cannon) is a brash young drummer with a scholarship to Atlanta A&T. He was raised by a single mom in Harlem. Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones) runs the program but he's very traditional under pressure to update his style to compete against a rival. Devon flirts with dancer Laila (Zoe Saldana) immediately. Leader of the drumline Sean Taylor (Leonard Roberts) is challenged by Devon's rebellious nature and his superior playing. It all culminates in a big BET competition.

This is a pretty simple coming-of-age story against the backdrop an interesting African American subculture. Nick Cannon is great as the brash young buck and I didn't even realize that the love interest was played by Zoe Saldana until I watched it again recently. This follows a very traditional formula and delivers a very competent movie.

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Up From Drumming

Author: higherall7 from Detroit, Michigan
27 June 2014

African American males often use Music as part of a wonderful learning style and this film is a hilarious and inspiring exposition of this fact. Nick Cannon is on the beat as Devon Miles, a musical prodigy with a gift for rhythm and percussion. Orlando Jones is a revelation as Dr. Lee, a different kind of black hero who uses his mind and his teaching skill to win adventures in learning rather than relying on guns and fists. He easily and naturally reflects the kind of personality that populates many urban environments working tirelessly to raise the tone of the entire community.

I also enjoyed the conflict and tension between Cannon's Devon Miles and Leonard Roberts' (of 'Heroes' fame) Sean Taylor, head of the Drum Section at the Southern University Miles has won a scholarship to attend. Once again, as in the movie 'Accepted' the creative nonconformist butts heads with the system and its representatives and learns the value of humility in cultivating natural talent. Something like 'The Natural' with drums, but minus the lightning and the thunder if you discount the emotional fireworks between the lead characters themselves.

That's it in a nutshell. The final 'Drum Off' between the two competing Universities at the end of the film captured more about the Black Aesthetic than anything I have seen in a long time. I thought it was a beautiful set piece and kudos to Director Charles Stone III and his Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut. The beautiful thing about this scene was that despite it sensationalistic aspects nobody was maimed or killed to accomplish the ultimate dramatic effect. You can feel the intense passion of the African American to rise above that factor of their legacy that involves oppression and exploitation, but here that angst is discharged creatively rather than destructively.

Zoe Saldana (of 'Star Trek' fame) as Laila, the romantic interest of Devon, demonstrates through their relationship the steps our main character must take to socialize his tremendous talent for the greatest benefit to all. J. Anthony Brown makes a worthy adversary as Mr. Wade to Band Leader Dr. Lee before and during the BET Competitions for best University Band in America. But what I really liked was how the story revealed the African American Community seizing Learning and Music as an appropriate choice of weapons for attaining greater freedom with an in-your-face style and panache.

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A must see. A great love story. Plan to shake your groove thang

Author: Angelasvision from United States
7 May 2014

A movie very close to my heart as I played a featured extra, Layla's Mom. It was an honor to work with Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana. They are both the most kind and talented actors in the business. Meeting, Angela, who played Nick's mom was a treat. she is the daughter of Florence on "The Jefferson's.

The highlight of my acting career, so far, was working on this extraordinary movie. Filmed in Atlanta, this movie brought a lot work to many actors. It also show cased the soulful sounds of African American college bands and the talented and beautiful dancers and majorettes.

If you want to be entertained with some great music and see some beautiful people of color please see this movie ASAP. If you want to see "yours truly" look for me after one of the major band scenes. Enjoy

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Waste of time

Author: nsam85 from United States
3 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Anyone in an actual college marching band should be offended by this movie!Horrible acting, sound track, visuals, plot, and COMPLETELY unrealistic.If you apply to a scholarship for a music program, there will be a number of professors there to watch every move you make.they will bring out a piece of music to sightread, also they hand out different music to players of the same instrument so they have to prove they can read music.The music the bands play in the movie are totally unrealistic. The whole film is just annoying, every time I hear it on TV in a different room I put my headphones on. It is possibly the worst movie I have ever seen, a waste of two hours and a $12 movie ticket.I went with a whole bunch friends that was in band and we hated it.After the movie I wanted to reenact the scene from Family Guy where Stewie see's the new Charmed movie and travels all the way to Will Ferrals house and slaps him.

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Okay but not a great movie

Author: ncisabbyfan30 from United States
22 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can stand to watch most of this movie when I feel like it but there are some things that could have been and should have been left out. I too found it rather silly that this kid got a full scholarship even though he couldn't read music. Wouldn't that have been something Dr. Lee would have asked when he recruited Devon? Afterall, it was part of the official rules to be in the band. The way Devon ignored rules, his attitude toward Lee and his drumline leader, and the fact that he caused a fight with a rival school, any other person would have been kicked off the band without given a second thought. Also, the P.A. announcer at the stadium was very annoying. Could have done without those pointless arrogant lines. Lastly, the movie ended badly. Sure, Atlanta A&T won the Classic but it ended during the celebration. They needed a better moment to end it on. Like maybe show Devon a year or 2 later leading a group of drumline hopefuls.

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The portrait of a flawed character; not a lacking one

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
28 January 2013

The urban culture depicted in Drumline is without a doubt the softened, fictionalized version built for a PG-13 film. Yet it doesn't need to be vulgar. It's a sweet, innocuous parable about a school's marching band, erecting a pleasantly unfamiliar atmosphere known to few American audiences, and too, showcasing actors of charm and set-pieces that almost touch the status of sublime.

I've had a countless number of debates that centered around school and extra-curricular activities and my general disinterest in many of them. I could always admire the time, effort, and devotion many put into their favorite activities, whatever they may be, but my place is more behind a computer rather than out on a field or a track. I've continuously mentioned, however, how school bands, both at high school and college level, go mostly unrecognized due to the "bigger" entertainment that awaits after they finish. There's an enormous amount of practice, perfection, and devotion that go into making a band a success, and Drumline makes no attempt at shortchanging that.

The film centers on the likable, yet troubled Devon Miles (Nick Cannon), who has just graduated from high school and looks to pursue an invaluable four years at Atlanta A&T University. He wants to continue formulating his musicianship and excellence in the field of percussion, and has aspirations to make the awe-inspiring drumline the school has to offer. Yet because of his smarmy, often surly attitude, his position on the band is rather in limbo with Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones), who is annoyed by his ability to change not only moods but notes at random. Then there's the romance we love to watch unfold. This time, it's with Zoe Saldana, who plays Laila, who is often off-put by Devon's attitude, yet knows there is a good person wrestling with the worse one.

This sort of inner-character-conflict can grow tedious at times, with Devon adopting a rather up-and-down personality to almost everything and often challenging those who do not look to challenge him. But Drumline doesn't capitalize off of this so much as it does several things that boost its story above the level of simple Saturday morning fare. For one, it is occupied with riveting, highly-detailed set-pieces that exfoliate the theatricalities beautifully, also allowing the set design and painstaking choreography to assume the forefront.

Secondly, it pleasantly subtracts needless elements of the story that could've further stretched out the already lengthy film to a level channeling tedium. For example, the film is in a grand-ole position to have Devon kicked off the school band because of the potential possibility that he is not doing well in his classes (we only see him on the field practicing or performing and rarely with his head in a book or body in a desk). Thankfully, there's no contrivance that Devon is very skilled when behind a drum, but in a desk he's inept and anemic, and there's the reason he can not be on the band. When he is punished, he is for his own belligerence and disobedience to policy and disrespect of intimidating authority. He's a flawed character. Not a stupid one.

And finally, writers Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps prevent the entire project from veering off into mawkish sentimentality, despite, yet again, being in a great position to do so. Throughout the film, there are hints that Devon's absent father only affected him in a small way, seeing as he was still kept fulfilled, nourished, and motivated by his peers and, most importantly, his mother. What Drumline doesn't need is a sob-story about a youth who is troubled because of the lack of a father figure he somehow managed to get by with for several years up until college begins. Again, Devon is a victim of his own actions. Not the fact that he lacks a father figure.

Then there's the obligations I have as an aspiring film critic, or an amateur one, whatever may have you. That is to recognize that the film does rely on formula and familiarity to get by for a good portion of its runtime. But the reason we watch a story like this unfold and stick around for the two hour runtime is because we enjoy the setup, reside with the characters, sympathize, or even possibly empathize, with what they're going through. The film is an achievement worth cherishing, and if it may be labeled as contrived filmmaking, it should at least be worthy enough to take notes from. Insert drum pun here to conclude review.

Starring: Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, and Orlando Jones. Directed by: Charles Stone III.

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