21 February 2010

Dance Like Somebody's Watching

Remember a while back when I was looking for a mini-genre of movie to be into? Well, I picked assassin movies and to be honest, it's been a lot of hit and miss. That wasn't an attempted pun, really. While I soldier on and continue my assassin movie research, I realized I already have a mini-genre I'm totally dedicated to: dance movies. I don't even think my fandom qualifies as a guilty pleasure because dance movies and shows are so mainstream now. So what I'd like to do is combine two of my loves -- dance movies and rankings -- to pen detailed reviews of all the dance films of the recent past. Important cinematic events like Step Up, You Got Served, Save the Last Dance, Honey, Stomp the Yard, and the rest of the modern classics.

Some rules I'm making for myself: All movies must be fictional, so that eliminates documentaries (sorry Planet B-Boy, Rize, Mad Hot Ballroom). For now I'm avoiding anything before 1990, but I may have to lift that rule eventually. If only to cover Dirty Dancing -- which I've never seen all the way through -- and Footloose. I'm not sure how far I'll expand my definition of dance movie either. If it'll include stuff like Shall We Dance or Saturday Night Fever, which are arguably character films.

Most importantly, a movie with dancing in it is not necessarily a dance movie. Does it have laughable acting and a cliche-laden plot? Yes and yes? Then I want to watch it. Is the lead character taking their nontraditional street skills to an esteemed academy? Is the romantic relationship fraught with racial and/or sociological tension? Will you liberally utilize the fast forward button through repeat viewings yet rewind for key lines? That's the kind of movie I'm talking about. I could call the mini-genre "hip hop dance movies," but I'd like to leave some room for Bring It On (and its four sequels), which just might be the Citizen Kane of the genre.

"I am a choreographer. That's what I do. You are cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded. What you do is a tiny, pathetic subset of dancing. I will attempt to turn your robotic routines into poetry, written with the human body. Follow me, or perish, sweater monkeys."
-Bring It On-
Important things we'll be rating on a 1-10 scale include: Can the lead actors/actresses actually dance? How much fun are their sidekicks? What are the best lines from the movie? How's the music selection? What is this film's overall cultural impact?

If you'd like to guest judge or watch anything with me, please don't hesitate to ask. Nothing is better than watching dance movies with other dance-ophiles. Bring your snark, bring your fashion commentary, bring popcorn. On the other hand, if you want to know when I'm watching one of these and would like to not be around for the next three hours (DVD extras are a must), I can let you know that information too. And please tell me any suggestions you might have for movies I need to watch. Like the J.Lo produced Feel the Noise, or the upcoming Turn the Beat Around from MTV.

Are you excited people? All of this will culminate in a group viewing of Dance Flick, obviously.

3.03.2010: Step Up
4.26.2010: Center Stage
6.04.2010: Street Dance
8.16.2010: Step Up 3
12.14.2010: You Got Served
5.23.2011: White Nights
10.18.2011: Footloose
8.03.2012: Step Up Revolution
10.11.2013: Battle of the Year
6.19.2014: Street Dance 2
9.18.2014: Step Up All In
7.02.2015: Magic Mike XXL
Next up: The Company