Fear and Loathing in Anaheim
Dustin asked me to do a review of Bandslam because apparently my time on the "Wizards of Waverly Place" qualifies me, despite being an overweight, bald childless man with a molester beard. That, or he won't be happy until I've taken my life by my own hand. I offered some preteens $10 to go watch the movie and give me their take, but was promptly arrested by the Burbank Police Department and spent the weekend in jail. In my place, my girlfriend was kind enough to endure the film and offer this con/pro breakdown. Enjoy!
It's 111 minutes long. This is 81 minutes more than necessary.
Gaelan Connell's character Will Burton is nicknamed "Dewey" at his old school in OH, and ritually hazed, but at his new cool school in NJ, he's accepted by everyone as a musical prodigy. Lesson learned: Lying makes you popular. Especially in New Jersey, the Armpit of America.
Will narrates the entire movie Doogie Howser-style while composing fanmail to David Bowie. Neither Ziggy Stardust nor Dr. Horrible smite him.
Vanessa Hudgens's character is named "Sa5m," telling everyone the 5 is silent. Apparently, funding for the special needs program has been cut in New Jersey. This explains most of the state.
Alyson Michalka's Charlotte was the lead singer of a band "Glory Dogs" with her ex-boyfriend, until her dad got dealt the cancer card and made her promise to be a better person. So she quit the band and started another completely totally absolutely different band. It's called "Glory Dogs." Not to be confused with "Glory Dogs."
During the first day of school, there's an impromptu concert from "Glory Dogs" in the school cafeteria during lunch hour. Followed by a JCPenney commercial fashion walk-off across the tabletops. Cause those teens will find any excuse to Vogue.
Sa5m and Will are assigned an English project to give a presentation on their partners explaining who that person really is. Because "Up Yours, Steinbeck," those teen pregnancy rates aren't going to awkwardly skyrocket without the help of Mrs. Socially Responsible Matchmaker.
Will's favorite place in the world is CBGB's. Because it was an inspirational punk mecca. Way before he was even a terrible mistake by a backup dancer.
Will's not actually in the band, he's just the manager. So mostly he gathers a mock U.N. of various races and ethnicities who happen to play multiple instruments to bolster up the band. Because everyone knows that The Ramones often incorporated cello and piano to get that authentic punk sound.
They change the name of the band from "Glory Dogs" to "I Can't Go On I'll Go On." This is a Samuel Beckett quote from Waiting for Godot. Which is about two hours of people waiting around for something to happen that never ever fucking does. Sound familiar? Plus, we know the teens are all down with Didi and Gogo.
Lisa Kudrow wore enough makeup to audition for clown college. They made her dress like a slutty groupie to attract a drummer for Will and Charlotte's new band. Remember "Friends"? Now, you're whoring for teens.
The screenwriters are two old guys in their 50s. Creepy old guys.
There are so many self-help phases thrown around -- "You can't let them ruin your life or they win," which is strange since teenagers have no sense of "self" or "help."
These teens commit atrocities against each other, but everything magically gets resolved with a simple "I forgive you." Pretended to befriend nerds to manufacture a band? I'm sorry, it's cool. Gave away our championship song? I'm sorry, we're cool. Shot up a schoolyard and raped the wounded? I'm sorry, we're cool. Forgiveness is something you do for a week when you've accidentally watched Oprah, not a common high school practice.
Vanessa Hudgens literally becomes a cardboard cutout from some of the scenes. And her acting improves during those shots.
There's a Battle-o-the-Bands as ultimate resolution. And it's not the '90s. Or "Saved By The Bell." And neither Garth Algar nor Ted "Theodore" Logan are there to claim victory.
Charlotte plays the "dead dad done died" card to get out of the new-version of "Glory Dogs." They had already filled all their ethnic quotas, so the Aryan gets ousted. This is your future, America. Courtesy of Disney.
Charlotte's ex finds out why everyone called Will "Dewey" at his old school. Cause, you know, school files for schools three states away are public records.
Will's nickname "Dewey" comes from the fact that his father got a D.U.I. when he killed a small child while drunk driving. He's now a running back for the Eagles. Way to make light of drunk driving, Disney. Especially since several of the stars of "Lost" have been convicted and ousted from the show for doing the same thing. Boy, whoever owns ABC should feel pretty ashamed. Maybe you should have just called Will "Abeesee."
None of the three stars of the movie are actually in the band at this point. And yet two of them hold guitars on the poster.
"Glory Dogs" played the same song "I Can't Go On I'll Go On" was going to do! The crimes of Sparky Polastri will never end. Fortunately Sa5m steps in to use her cockgargling voice to save the universe/defeat the bad guys.
David Bowie has a cameo at the end. He is neither wearing tight pants or stealing babies. He's watching a YouTube video of Vanessa Hudgens singing with the band. He must have been looking for the nude photos, like me.
Nobody explodes from alien technology.
New Moon trailer!! Woooo! I'm on team Jacob now. Woof.
The movie eventually ended.
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