While I have not seen every dance movie ever made, I’ve seen enough to declare that Battle of the Year is one of the worst. Whatever you say about the dramatic messiness of the Step Off movies, the dancing is pretty great, not only in the quality of the steps and choreography but in the way that it is shot. You can actually see the dancing. In Battle of the Year, there’s only one scene that depicts an entire dance routine, and it’s about 90 minutes into the movie. While there’s tons of dancing prior to that great moment, it’s in spurts, focusing on singular tricks or brief, confusingly edited snippets of longer numbers. The result is dance movie that is oddly focused on the story, which is never a good idea. Dante (Laz Alonso), a hip hop mogul, is bummed that Americans have not won the international b-boy competition held in France called Battle of the Year, so he hires an old crew mate – an alcoholic, former basketball coach grieving his dead wife and son – to mold a championship team. Jason (Josh Holloway, falling far, far from Lost) puts together a dream team of egotistical breakdancers and trains them into a force to be reckoned with. In a rare moment of surprise in the plot, they prove that they have become a team with they all defend the honor of the one gay dancer. At the Battle of the Year, they dance against teams from Russia, France, and Korea, and it’s all strangely and unnecessarily patriotic. Even stranger is the presence of Chris Brown, who is supposedly the best dancer on the team, but clearly isn’t, and then somehow doesn’t get to go to the Battle. I assumed it was because Brown’s parole officer wouldn’t let him leave the county.
The winners should all be so very proud.
Most Excellent Reason to Loathe the Grammies.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0gghjczAt0] So, Spin, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly all declared that TV on the Radio’s Dear Science was the best album of 2008, and the band didn’t get a single Grammy nomination. Meanwhile, Kid Rock got a nomination for a song built entirely on a Lynyrd Skynyrd hook. And the Christianist boy bandJonas Brothers, who were spit out by the Random Pop Star GeneratorTM, were short-listed for Best New Artist. I know that the Grammys have been a joke for decades, but still.
Most Excellent Album from Any Source.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7mMoc-x_v0] TV on the Radio’s Dear Science is the best possible outcome for the freak show love child of David Bowie, Beck, Prince, and the Talking Heads. With distortion. Or something like that. It’s accessible, danceable art rock with slam poetry lyrics.
Most Excellent Album More than 75% Computer Generated.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7FUMLIG03k] I just listed to Robyn’s Robyn for the bazillioninth time while making my fabu white and green bean salad, and I still love it, especially this song here on the left. It’s the album that Britney Spears would make if she had talent. And how can you not love someone who describes herself as the “most killingest pop star on the planet. A pint-sized atom bomb dosed to the tits on electric and dispensing wisdom in three-minute modernist pop bulletins on the post-adolescent condition.” They’re not modernist, actually. Even though “postmodernist” wouldn’t be exactly right, it’s the closest word we have.