“Always do the thing that scares you.”
PG for some thematic elements and mild language.
Comedy, Drama, Teen
August 14, 2009
Alyson Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell, Scott Porter, and Lisa Kudrow
Summit Entertainment, LLC
Bandslam: Official Web site
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Bandslam: A Concert Tucked Inside a Great Movie
- Bandslam delivers nearly two hours of wholesome, quick-witted comedy, an exciting storyline, and tremendously talented musicians. What an enjoyable rock and roll experience.
Bandslam depicts the American Idol of high school rock bands. Local pick-up bands are vying for first place in the annual Bandslam competition in New Jersey and it’s “Texas High School Football Big!”
Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) just moved into town with his single mom (Lisa Kudrow). Will, who was bullied and shunned at the high school he left behind in Ohio, is surprised when he quickly become friends with a quiet, attractive girl in his class (Vanessa Hudgens), who spells her name Sa5m, and an outgoing, knock-out cheerleader blonde, Charlotte Banks (Alyson Michalka). He teeters on having a crush on both of them, but gradually starts having serious feelings for one girl.
Meanwhile, the excitement builds at school for last year’s Bandslam winners, Glory Dogs, with lead singer/guitarist Ben Wheatly (Scott Porter). Ben, a popular jock-type, intends to take Glory Dogs to the top again. In an effort to beat Ben's band, Charlotte has pulled together a group of her own and pleads with Will to hear her garage band. With Will's lifelong love of music, he quickly spots her talent, and also figures out what this band lacks and what needs to be done about it.
The two friendships tug at Will’s heart throughout the movie and thankfully the story does not pit Sa5m and Charlotte against each other, which is a refreshingly mature aspect of these characters.
Gaelan deserves kudos for his believable performance as a good, normal high school boy who manages to duck under all the social persecution he receives in high school and maintain a pseudo-mature personality and a seemingly natural knack for quick witty lines. From the opening of the movie, viewers will be hoping the best for this kid; and because of his talent, they will enjoy his triumphs and awkward encounters.
Five Cool Things about Bandslam
1. There is absolutely no obscenity spoken! However, the Lord's name is used as an exclamation when a different word choice would have been equally effective. Many thanks to the producers for keeping the language fairly clean. What a refreshing joy; the movie is not a G-rated cartoon and it has no cuss words. It is proof that it can be done.
2. The music was fabulous. Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) and Alyson Michalka (Aly and AJ) have already established their musical abilities; and the proportion and timing of songs versus story are well balanced. The acoustical performances are powerful and the additional musicians bring brass, keyboard, and a variety of other expertly played instruments into the band mix. There is no sappy feeling of a musical where characters break out in song at the weirdest times. The story is built around band practices and performances, so the songs always fit well.
3. The messages are universal and for all ages, not just high school age. Everyone can relate to the desire for acceptance, the need to step back and take a look at what kind of person you are being, and make changes as noticed. The actors perform their roles well and the story is much deeper than which band won Bandslam.
4. Lisa Kudrow, who many have loved since the very first time she appeared on the hit TV show Friends, is such a cute single mom. Her personality is perfect for the role.
5. Moviegoers aren't subjected to soft porn. Everyone has enough clothes on and there is no attempt to sleeze out these talented singers/actresses. Even the very few kissing scenes are done with class; light and sincere kisses on the lips with no extra hand or body motions. (Note: There is one exception: a French kiss by extras in a concert scene.)
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Beth Patch serves as the Global Ministries and Spiritual Life Devotions producer for CBN.com. For more articles and info, visit Beth's bio page.
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