Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bandslam Turns Misfits Into Overnight Sensations

Every so often Hollywood releases a movie that is kind of an inspirational story for teenagers, the stories all center around a teen with some tragedy in their past, and then the showcase a means that this person uses to overcome that tragedy and make friends and become popular. In the newest teen inspiration movie, "Bandslam" one such teen uses his knowledge of music to help form a misfit ragtag group of high school seniors into one of the most popular bands.

Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) is a misfit, he just doesn't fit in with any other group of kids at his high school, his mom Karen (Lisa Kudrow) asks him what would make him happy, he jokingly tells her to let him leave the school he is at and enroll in another school, she tells him that she has been offered a new job in New Jersey, so yes he will be enrolling in another school. Will is happy to be getting a new chance but then he realizes that he will be the same Will wherever he goes to school. When he gets to his new high school, Will notices that the kids are nearly the same here, they have almost the same clicks and groups that his last school had. Except here the students rally around an event called Bandslam, where student formed bands compete for a record contract. Will is in awe that the students are so rapt up in this contest, everyone except for Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgens) she tells Will that the contest isn't her thing. Will is immediately taken by her lack of enthusiasm, later that day in one of the classes the two share they are given a project where they have to describe who the other person is.

Will meets another girl, Charlotte Banks (Alyson Michalka) and Will isn't sure why this perfect girl would pay attention to him, but he doesn't object to her friendship, Will helps her out in a school daycare program and the two become friends. Karen of course doesn't like the fact that Will is now spending so much time with his new friends, Charlotte finds out that Will knows alot about music and asks him to come listen to her and some friends during a rehearsal in her garage. When Will gets there he finds the band in full swing, Charlotte and her two friends, Bug (Charlie Saxton) and Omar (Tim Jo). Will tells them that they could be good if they didn't try to out duel each other. Will tells Charlotte that she sings great. When Ben Wheatley (Scott Porter) comes and to where Charlotte works she tells them that she and her friends are going to compete against him at Bandslam this year.

Will tells Charlotte that if they want to win they have to form a new band, they look at other students in the school and they convince Kim (Lisa Chung) to play keyboards, Basher Martin (Ryan Donowho) to play drums, Irene Lerman (Elvy Yost) to play Cello and a host of others to play sax, trombone, and trumpet. Together they form a new band calling them I can't go on I'll go on. When the day draws near for Bandslam, tragedy strikes Charlotte family and Sa5m, who Will has been spending alot of time with and has grown closer to decides she will take over the lead vocals for the group. When the group gets to Bandslam, Charlotte comes to wish them luck, it seems that her new character and the reason she was friends with Will is a selfish one. Another near tragedy occurs when Ben Wheatley and his band perform the same song that Will's band was going to do. Of course the band regroups and comes up with an alternative song to sing. Whether the band wins or not isn't the moral of the movie, it's that kids of all types can join together and become not just friends but be support and help to overcome any obstacle, Sa5m tells Will to do what scares you the most, and at Bandslam Will confronts a personal issue that he has been trying to hide almost his entire life.

I give Bandslam a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, this is a very good movie to take the entire family to see, there isn't anything remotely offensive in this movie, it is the type of feel good movie that parents can go to and not worry about foul language or sexual themes. There is a sad aspect that comes is a part of the story line, that may not fully be understood by young children, but it is something that parents can explain and use as a means to ask how something like this makes them feel.

Bandslam is rated PG for some Thematic Elements and Mild Language
Running time is 1 hr. 51 mins.

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