6.3/10
13,013
44 user 77 critic

Bandslam (2009)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A new kid in town assembles a fledgling rock band -- together, they achieve their dreams and compete against the best in the biggest event of the year, a battle of the bands.

Director:

Todd Graff

Writers:

Josh A. Cagan (screenplay), Todd Graff (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aly Michalka ... Charlotte
Vanessa Hudgens ... Sa5m
Gaelan Connell ... Will
Scott Porter ... Ben Wheatly
Ryan Donowho ... Basher
Charlie Saxton ... Bug
Lisa Kudrow ... Karen
Tim Jo ... Omar
Elvy Yost ... Irene (Cello)
Lisa Chung Lisa Chung ... Kim Lee (Keyboards)
J.W. Wright J.W. Wright ... Dylan Dyer (Glory Dogs Guitar) (as J.W. Wright II)
Blair Bomar ... Megan
Casey Williams ... Ms. Wittenberg
Maggie Maye ... Kyra 17-1
Jennifer Blair ... Kyra's Friend
Edit

Storyline

Will centers on a high school outcast and a popular girl who form an unlikely bond through their shared love of music. Assembling a like-minded crew of misfits, the friends form a rock group and perform in the battle of the bands competition at their school. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Band Together See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 August 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Will See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,231,273, 16 August 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,205,343, 20 September 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color (FotoKem)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Karen Burton is selling band shirts during the competition an actor in the background is seen wearing a shirt with, "Made in Texas" printed on the back. The movie was shot in Austin, TX. See more »

Goofs

When Charlotte hands Will her notebook in Wills bedroom, and we first see 'Phil's Song', the words 'Phil's Song' are written in red writing. But when Charlotte plays 'Phil's Song' on the piano and we see the notebook again, and we clearly see that the writing of 'Phil's Song' is now in newspaper cuttings, not red writing like it was previously in Wills bedroom. See more »

Quotes

Will Burton: I think if you tried signaling, people would honk less.
Charlotte Banksasks: They don't need to know my business.
Will Burton: ...It's not really a privacy issue.
See more »


Soundtracks

Wichita Lineman
Written by Jimmy Webb (as Jimmy L. Webb)
Performed by Glen Campbell
Courtesy of Capitol Records Nashville
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
School of not
20 August 2009 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

This high school musical movie actually contains one of HSM's stars, Vanessa Hudgens, plus Lisa Kudrow as the single mother of the protag, Will Burton (Gaelen Connell), who is delighted when his mom finds a way to take them to live in a new place, Lodi, New Jersey. He was more then ready for a change. In one of the chatty emails to David Bowie that provide the narration, he calls his old high school "Guantanamo with lunch breaks." What happens at the new school? Will gets lucky. Real lucky. He gets paired off with Vanessa Hudgens in a class, and they become a couple. A former Alpha Female called Charlotte (junior prom queen, head cheerleader), played by Alyson Michalka, finds out Will has an encyclopedic musical knowledge and recruits him to meld her garage band into one that can beat the high school's reigning Glory Dogs and win the tri-state (NY, NY, CN) "bandslam." One obvious motive is that she wants to beat the Glory Dogs to trounce its lead singer, Ben Wheatly (Scott Porter), because he is her snotty former boyfriend. Aside from Ben, a generic model of testosterone overconfidence, Graff (mostly) steers clear of high school stereotypes.

This sets up a trajectory for the film that's like an older kids' version of Richard Linklater's 'School of Rock,' but Gaelen Connell is no Jack Black and the pathway to the big event isn't as cute -- or as climactic. That was one of Black's triumphs, but on the other hand Connell himself is way cuter than Jack Black, whose closest lookalike is the base guitarist, a Flea imitator who calls himself Bug (Charlie Saxton). Resembling young Tom Hanks or maybe John Cusack, with a weak chin, a sweet little smile, a mini Afro and a wrinkled brow, you can almost believe Connell's Will might actually be in the constant company of the school's hottest chicks. Not quite. He's not as articulate and soulful as Cusack, and not as edgey and dark as Christian Slater was in 'Heathers' or 'Pump Up the Volume.' But then Hudgens isn't the shiny, prefab girlfriend of Zac Efron this time. Au contraire. She gets to be the dark one. She calls herself Sa5m ("the 5 is silent"), wears dark clothes, and she reads all the time, even when Will's trying to kiss her.

When you think of Eighties youth classics like those two Slater was in, Bandslam looks generic. We'll just never relive that great Eighties youth movie moment or see the likes of the late, great John Hughes again. But when you compare Bandslam to 'High School Musical,' you realize this is not the kind of movie that you pan. It deserves encouragement. The screenplay by Graff and Josh A. Cagan is packed with inessential cuteness and never takes its dark moments seriously enough -- even though it pushes them too hard. The music Will leads the band into is bland -- and loud. There's none of the joy in rock frenzy that Jack Black comically evokes. Maybe Wil's expertise -- his celebratory (and still pretty touching) visit to the ruins of CGMG, where punk began -- may seem more a reflection of the 50ish director than a teenager. But none of that matters enough to maul this movie, unless you're desperate to show how musically hip you are. The cast is just too appealing and the action is just too much fun to write them off.

When Will reshapes the band by adding brass and an Asian girl classical keyboardist (Lisa Chung) and an elphin-spouting nerdy girl cellist (Elvy Yost) and a boy drummer called Basher (Ryan Donowho) whose majors are machine shop and anger management, if feels like he's bringing something to life (however silly the music), and Jack Black was just a puppet master. It's also good that Kudrow really seems like a single mom trying not to get too much in the way of her son's new life but still protective and sometimes forgetting herself and making him a friend, or as he says "doing that thing of talking to me like I'm Oprah." Sometimes Todd Graff's perky cuteness seems pretty real. Connell has been compared to a Michael Cera "without the sweetness." "Thank you Shia LaBeouf and Michael Cera" is something Connell has actually said, "for paving the way for someone like me to be the leading guy in a movie." But Connell is Connell. LaBeouf would be a lead weight here, and Cera would swamp the movie with his indie quirkiness. The best thing about Connell is he's not a scene stealer: he's a catalyst. He makes this movie built around him an ensemble picture, and everybody looks pretty good.


21 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 44 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed