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Former drumline member here. Well damn, I guess I'll be the first drummer to say I liked the movie a lot. I swear, half of these reviews I'm reading are annoying - people bashing it because it's an all black movie, people bashing it because the band has dancers instead of a color guard, people calling the drumming rudimentary because they played in a drumline that did better blah blah blah.
What do you guys want, a documentary on marching band? If I was to make a Hollywood movie about the drumline I would have done the same exact things with the drum sequences - put in a gang of stick tricks and showmanship that would translate well to the screen. Nobody wants to watch flam taps for 90 minutes.
That being said, the last drum battle is one of my favorite things to watch. I love when the bass drum cadence comes in, the basses march in a circle, the quads toss each other their sticks between bars, and the snares have an orgy of backsticking and other stick tricks on a level you rarely see performed in real life. And the movie is only cliche as far as its kid w/ bad attitude needs to put his pride away plot goes. I don't watch Nickelodeon so I haven't seen one of those types of movies since I was... hmmm since I was 5. Far as what isn't cliche about it, there's a lot to like. One of the best things is that it immerses itself in Afro-American culture w/out any cliches at all - just life as it is down south at an all-black university. No guns, drugs, none of that stuff that you'd expect from a character who walks and talks like Nick Cannon's character does. I also liked the way they handled the white character in the band. The dialogue where they ask him why he went to the all-black college. His first reply is a wink at the audience, which would expect Hollywood to trivialize race relations like that. Then he goes, nah for real though, and gives a sincere answer that makes sense.