Initially, Bandslam was not something I had hopes of being “great.” Imagine my surprise when I discovered this as being one of the BEST (albeit quirky) teen flicks to come along in a long time.
(Seriously! This is true.)
Bandslam (2009) Film Review
Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) is not popular. Each of the schools he enrolls in knows the secret that earned him the nickname “dewy.” But it’s really his “geek” status that stops fellow students from befriending him. Feeling like his only companion is his free-spirited mother Karen (Lisa Kudrow) – so not cool – he can only wish for a move, which is exactly what he gets.Upon arrival in New Jersey, Will finds his latest school is crazy about a competition called “Bandslam,” it’s “like, Texas football” size big he learns from fellow classmate Sa5m (and anyone who wonders: The five is silent!).
Finding what he has walked into all a little… weird, Will tentatively begins a friendship with popular-girl-gone-nice, Charlotte Banks (Aly Michalka). In exchange, she wants him to manage her fading band. But this new relationship jeopardizes his potential with Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgens), and before long, he’s back to square one.
Because of its female leads, this one caught my eye, but it never hit the top of the list as making me excited enough to rush out and obtain a copy. Even still, I was immensely glad that I had a copy the first week of its release. Perhaps initially, the first thought is “okay, this is quirky.” But underneath there is an unknown quality to it that radiates. Most teen flicks follow patterns – something is always the same about them. It’s true that there is certain themes of Bandslam that mirror those, but most of all, it stands on its own two feet. There is truisms that we don’t find in today’s entertainment.
The main story is recycled, but is unique because all the actors provide their own vocals. As a film of a musical nature, one cannot help but love the soundtrack. It has a distinctive sound that is a sort of eclectic rhythm and a lot of instruments to accompany it. Sure, there are rock ballads (not my favored genre), but I am willing to say everything worked together really nicely, each of the songs playing off the others well, which in turn complemented the vocals nicely.
The humor is clever without ever being “inappropriate” (except perhaps for one subject). Between Will’s deadpan seriousness and Charlotte’s not-afraid-to-be-me attitude, there is always some witty word match. It’s the characters and relationships that interest us the most. I enjoy how each of develops, and how the actors play off of this. The cast is strong, most especially Connell, who does a fabulous job playing a likable “geeky” sort of character. However surprising, it is really the ladies who steal the show (more so Aly). Vanessa is absent from the movie than I’d expect, but she makes Sa5m so likable regardless of her emotionless façade. Charlotte is the most interesting of them all though. Aly exudes just enough “mystery” to make us question her motives, all without making her the standard popular “mean” girl we dislike.
Everyone learns profound lessons (which encompass true friendship and loss). Such depth is usually absent from teen flicks. From the snappy opening and closing credits, Bandslam is really a delightful little movie that is not so different from the normal to make it one-in-a-million, but at the same time there is something special about it.Don't miss Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Michalka's early cinematic days with the heartwarming teen #romance, BANDSLAM Click To Tweet
CONTENT: PG , there are a few sensual instances: “First kisses” is one topic. Charlotte questions if Will has kissed Sa5m, she “educates” him by showing him what to do [nothing explicit]. Charlotte sneaks into Will’s bedroom, with no intention of anything other than to talk [Karen finds them and thinks differently]. A student has a crush on Will’s mother, whom Will claimed was his sister [the extent of which is one kiss]. Cheating and lying is presents in separate instances.