Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 27 January 2007

I guess you have to be a ‘Yardie’

Stomp the Yard

I was about to see the movie and called my sister to let her know since she recommended it.  She told me “Well, you may want to reconsider because all of the critics gave it a thumbs down. I can’t believe they saw the same movie I did.”  Without thinking I said “There are no white people in it.” [You know I never would have even thought something like that as recently as three years ago. Thank the church from hell-long story.]

The movie was awesome! The stepping and dancing was well choreographed and performed.  The lead actor was very expressive and f-f-f-fine. The story line had consistent internal reference, i.e. the beginning was referenced throughout the movie as a marker for the main character’s growth. AND I left the theatre with a GOOD feeling.  Imagine that!

I’ve read critic reviews that used phrases like ‘meaningless sub-plot’ and ‘mediocre, unrelated storyline’ and wonder what it is that they mean. I only see two alternative options: 1. No plot, just the dance/step or 2. Some hoighty-toighty plotline that could not possible coexist with this type of movie where the core element is the STEP-the heart of African ability to transcend the oppressive troubles of the world with group dance and music.  Everything else falls to second place when brothers and sisters are collaboratively joined in the mutual goal of an attempt at team excellence-where it is evident in the intensity and synchronization of physical activity that you have ‘overcome’ the past and can move forward in strength. What other story line?  Stories have not changed much since we have begun to write them. Man, woman, troubles-Man overcomes trials and gets woman. Sometimes the woman is left out, sometimes it’s just about the man and the woman, sometimes it’s a tragedy and the man loses the woman and everything including his mind.

But back to my beginning comment.  [Honestly, I was being flippant and it wouldn’t make sense to have a bunch of white folk with this subject matter anyway.] You have to be from a certain background or be at a certain place to GET this movie. The supposed ‘mundane’ and ‘meaningless’ details of a brother’s life, including his love for one woman, are the appropriate backdrop. A story about greek life does not have to be about the details of how each fraternity/sorority initiates, but can be about how relationships you build help to contribute to your growth enough for you to face everyday trials and triumph over them.

Any seemingly negative portrayal of a ‘greek’ is just about reflecting life.  Some people just don’t have integrity.  What I saw was a portrayal of a good young black man who has had some troubles but manages to grow up and overcome them ‘with a little help from his friends and family’ PLUS incredible step/dance scenes and choreography.  Of course, kind of like that scene from Malcolm X where he made them all turn with a movement of his finger, a stage full of shirtless, virile [and college educated] young black men powerstomping out their awareness of the very important nature of teamwork may make some people nervous.

And don’t get me started on how people are on this misguided ‘intellectualism in movies’ kick.  WTF?!  Movies are primarily entertainment, not every movie can be a Schindler’s List.  ‘Intellectual stimulation’ can be found anywhere if you already have some intellect.  I’m waiting for Ghost Rider, dahmet. “On fire?”. “Yeah, like schwoaawaaooawwaaooww.”  Hilarious…Woohoo! Ok, you have to see the preview to get that.  Not to mention, I finally saw Moulin Rouge but only some of it because I HATED IT.  And it’s not that I don’t like musicals or ‘Nic‘ or Ewan McGregor who is a dream, but is that how music is supposedly dealt with appropriately as a central part of a movie? Well, count me out.  They massacred perfectly acceptable songs in uninteresting and frankly annoying ways ruining the possibility of scraping by on the great visuals.  Next time watch Chicago for tips on being a good big screen musical before you get going…sheesh.

Alright, I could make links all day so I’m cutting myself off.  I suppose I’m realizing just how much I was leaving out this blog and it doesn’t make sense, to me at least, to start another just for ‘personal’ stuff.  The goal is total synchronization and focus anyway.  So the Movies category will stay.

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