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Leave It on the Floor (2011)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Musical  -  3 August 2012 (UK)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 309 users  
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Set in the ballroom world originally memorialized by the documentary Paris Is Burning, Leave It on the Floor is an original musical set in the scene in Los Angeles 2011.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Phillip Evelyn ...
Princess Eminence (as Phillip Evelyn II)
Barbie-Q ...
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James Alsop ...
Metra Dee ...
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Hailie Weaver ...
D.J. Fatha Julz ...
Lady Red Couture ...
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Daveione Williams ...
Cornelius Wilson ...
Koreyo Kreame ...
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Storyline

Our African-American hero , Brad is bullied by his dysfunctional mom; he flees his home and by chance tumbles down the rabbit-hole into the LA ball scene where he finds a ragtag new famiiy. With music by Beyonce music director, Kim Burse, screenplay and lyrics by Glenn Gaylord choreography by Beyonce dance master, Frank Gatson Jr. and eye-popping visuals and direction by Sheldon Larry, the film is an ode to the wild funky and heart-aching life of this amazing underground. Written by Sheldon Larry

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Comedy | Drama | Musical

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3 August 2012 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Loser's List (Reprise)
Lyrics by Glenn Gaylord
Music by Kim Burse, Glenn Gaylord and Rie Tsjuri
Produced and Arranged by Kim Burse
Vocal Production by LeDon Smith and Sheldon Larry
Orchestration by Scott Tibbs
Performed by Ephraim Sykes
Executive Produced by Sheldon Larry
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User Reviews

Cult Film Waiting to Happen
14 September 2011 | by (So Cal) – See all my reviews

Director Sheldon Larry's Leave It On the Floor is a musical about the Los Angeles ball culture, bred out of an East Coast phenomena of underground LGBT youth dating back decades, but most prominently featured in its progenitor the documentary Paris Is Burning. Thrown out of their biological homes, black and Latino queers find and congregate in new "houses," led by an elder (or "house parent") and then compete in periodic competitions, dancing and vogueing down their own runways in outrageous costumes, often simulating their own version of the outer world, judged by their own peers. As a result, a newer, much stronger family is formed where everyone is accepting of their differences and they are able to operate at a level disallowed in mainstream society. This movement is responsible for giving birth to the idea of the pop star, including, but not limited to, such icons as Madonna, Lady Gaga ("'House' of Gaga" borrows the term from these ad hoc homes/teams) and Beyonce's alter- ego Sasha Fierce. Much like the music industry co-opted black R & B in the 1950's and popularized the form by concocting Elvis Presley, most of these ladies owe a great part of their success to this subculture.

The story concerns Bradley Darnell Lyle (the talented Ephraim Sykes), a black queer youth, thrown out by his mother Deondra (Metra Dee along with her fingernails are hilarious at first, before the low-budget laughs give way to the stone-cold reality of how heartless the mother is). He takes off in her car and gives "meet cute" a new definition when Carter (well-cast Andre Myers) crosses his path. Their exchange is indicative of how truly smart and sly Glenn Gaylord's (who also wrote the songs) screenplay is. From there, Bradley slowly immerses himself in the world of ball culture, meeting all kinds of characters along the way, including his house mother Queef Latina (Barbie-Q, who can threaten to stick her foot up anyone's ass with the best of them) and Eppie Durall (James Alsop almost steals the whole show) who wants nothing more than to give birth to her children.

The more upbeat songs are generally stronger than the slower ones. Princess Eminence (a divinely bitchy Phillip Evelyn, who also gives a heartfelt performance) gets to sing the toe- tapping "Justin's Gonna Call," explaining to Bradley that greener pastures await. And "Knock Them Mothafuckers Down" is a driving bowling-alley number about kicking ass and taking names that makes a catchy companion piece to the film's self-titled theme. While the movie doesn't quite properly weave Caldwell Jones (Demarkes Dogan as Queef Latina's lover) into the story, his rap duet with Carter, "This Is My Lament," achieves an odd beauty. "I'm Willing" and "Don't Jump Baby" didn't ring any tears, but "His Name Is Shawn," about the perception of and fight for identity of transgender and queer youth between the biological families who have ostracized them and the chosen families who have opened their arms to them is astonishing, appropriately awkward and strangely moving. The soundtrack also creates a really cool mash-up between "Ballroom Bliss" and Bradley's self-pitying "Loser's List."

Like 1970's Blaxploitation, there are some rough edges which work to the film's advantage. It's painfully obvious that the actors sing to their own vocals (a common practice in musicals that is less apparent in higher-budgeted affairs), but it's unimportant and hardly distracting.

To an outsider, at first, the Los Angeles ball culture may appear narcissistic and superficial. People prance down their runways, gesticulating and shooting irreverent poses, while being cheered on and/or booed in the process, all of which this attitude spreads into their respective homes. Yet, we eventually bear witness to talented dancers and contortionists, as well as the time and creativity which the artists invest into their costumes and makeup, but, ultimately, most importantly, the resilient fabric stitching these untraditional families together.

Floor is both a celebration of a marginalized culture which has been around for ages and developed out of a Darwinian instinct to exist and thrive, but its songs and sass beg for audience participation. Its flamboyance and musical revelry create an experience not unlike The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although I could be deathly wrong, as no one else immediately around me was bopping their head to the beats. This may have just been another indication of my square white boyness. Still, if this film could achieve a small fraction of the popularity and response of Rocky's, it would certainly be a respectable reflection of where our society is at today, especially considering the quality level is on par with modern classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

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