I was bored this weekend, and none of my friends got back to me on doing anything with them, pathetic – I know. But while TV surfing (I really am this lame), I came across this little movie on Showtime.

 

Bandslam (2009).

Inital impression without watching it: I didn’t know much about it. I knew Vanessa Hudgens (circa High School Musical) was in it, and there were guitars, and a band, obviously – but other than that. Nothing. The Showtime Description read: “This rollicking coming-of-age film stars Vanessa Hudgens as a social misfit who teams up with a popular girl to form a rockband for their high school’s battle-of-the-bands contest.” Also starring Alyson Michalka. (Who for some reason I don’t want to like, but I like the stuff she’s done: Easy A, Hellcats).

So I decided to watch it. Just the first 10 minutes until something else better came along. I mean, heck, I was bored. And low-and-behold the description the TV gave it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the movie at all, the only phrases phrase they got right was “coming-of-age.” This movie doesn’t even star Vanessa Hudgens, but a kid named, Gaelan Connell. And while I thought it was gonna be some teeny boppery show with kids more concerned about what shade of eyeshadow their wearing or how many girls they’re sleeping with rather then – well anything else, it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close.

Rottentomatoes gives it an 80% Fresh Tomato rating, and I think they just about have it right.

 

What the movie is actually about: It’s about a bullied, outcast boy, trying to run away from his past, who meets up with other troubled misfits and actually finds out who he is and where he belongs thru a Bandslam competition. It’s sweet, funny, and the music is actually pretty good.

 

My review: The movie starts on the outcast kid. He’s picked on, and called “Dewey” and all he wants is for his Mom, Phoebe Lisa Kudrow, to move him to another school. And apparently his wish is his command. Mom got a new job and he gets to start over at a new school. With in the first couple of days he’s made “friends” (I use that term loosely), with two HOT, yet outcast girls, played by Vanessa Hudgens, and the girl who’s name I don’t feel like looking up again to figure out how to spell. I know it starts with an A. He finds out about Bandslam, which is as popular with the school as football is to Texas high schools. I mean I watch Friday Night Lights, so it must be a big deal right? (Yes there was a hint of sarcasm there). And in a hint of irony, the rival band at the school starts Jason Street from Friday Night Lights, who I’m sure has a real name, but I’m a little obsessed with FNL and hate the fact it got pulled from ABC FAM line up. Sorry tangent – moving on.

Anyway, Will Burton (the outcast kid), teams up with the Used-To-Be-Popular-But-Now-Wants-To-Be-An-Out-Cast Girl, and helps her turn her band into something awesome. Any band that has an asian girl playing the piano, a cello, and a brass section is OK in my book. Meanwhile, why he’s starting a band, becoming besties with the blond, he’s also nursing an unlikely friendship with a strange, emotionless girl.

He learns some stuff, he feels like he belongs, he betrays his crush, and his past creeps up on him. The best part of this movie is near the end. When he and his best friend get into a fight. She, of course, knows he’s an amazing kid, and wants to make up with him, but Mom, who also knows her kid is amazing says, “Don’t do it. Don’t make up with him. Because I don’t think he can handle you leaving him twice.” It just – hit home. And it was fantastic acting by Lisa Kudrow.

And the music throughout this movie, both in and out – were fantastic. It’s my kind of music. Indie rock. Indie music is always the best, don’t you think.

All in all, this movie was pretty good. Good enough for me to DVR when it repeats on Shotime so I can fast forward to the good parts.

 

Overall rating: B/B-


Ps: If you are still skeptical helps, Vanessa Hudgens isn’t as annoying in this movie as she’s been in other movies. I like it when she plays a normal girl, and not a “I’m cute, and I know I’m cute, but I’m pretending I’m not cute.” If you know what I mean.

 

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