Sunday, December 6, 2009

Overlooked....Actually Not.

I'd read a lot about Bandslam: how it was the worst-marketed movie of the decade,how putting Vanessa Hudgens front and centre in the posters and trailers was both misleading and a doomed attempt to lure in the High School Musical consumer, how it was an undiscovered gem waiting to be found by audiences who would then clutch it to their heart and how it was one of the great lost teen movies. And now I've seen it.

There's only once thing I'd like to add to the hail of criticism facing the marketing of this movie. Why didn't Summit, the mini-major swimming in Twilight profits, invest in a box of crystal balls? That way they could have foreseen the success of Glee and delayed the release of Bandslam so people might have been fooled into thinking they were getting another fun, heartwarming and uplifting teen musical competition saga. Which they're not. What they would have been getting had they gone to see it which they were smart or oblivious enough not to was a worshipful portrait of a mumbling, awkward, music-obsessed outsider who inspires a disparate bunch of high school nobodies to form a band. I applaud the decision to cast a real-looking kid rather than an underwear model as the mumbling hero. But this guy, who is in every second of every scene of Bandslam, is excruciating. He is a charisma-repellent.He brings absolutely nothing to the role. But barely a minute goes by without someone telling the guy, or us, how amazing he is, how he's such a visionary, what a big heart he has, how he's changed their lives. He's held in such high regard because of his all-encompassing knowledge of music. He shoots off daily emails about his life to David Bowie, he reveres the Velvet Underground and regards CBGB's as his Vatican. But what he really likes? The music that really talks to him? Ska. Watered-down ska, especially. There's so much terrible stuff here: Aly Michalka's entire unbelievable arc. Lisa Kudrow's face. The climactic high school battle of the bands(watered-down ska saves the day!) As it turns out, the best-- and I'm stretching the definition of best-- thing in the whole film is Vanessa Hudgens. Her character might as well be called Ally Sheedyinthebreakfastclub but at least she's better than you expect. Everything else is far far worse.

No comments: