Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Take The Lead

I really do not know what it says about a movie when the only useful effect it had on me was to ensure that I spelt “tango” correctly.
Take the Lead tells the story of Pierre Dulane (Antonio Banderas), a successful ballroom dancer and teacher who decides to teach his passion to underprivileged youth who are in detention at an inner city school. After initially getting off on the wrong foot, both sides (teacher and student) learn to trust each other.
I love stories about impassioned teachers being so moved at the plight of their students’ inner city existence that they find ANY glimmer of hope they can grasp onto. Of course, as these stories go, it looks like the teacher will never succeed, then they get through to the ringleader, and then things begin to fall into place. I love this kind of story. Dangerous Minds was great! But it feels like everyone saw the reaction to that movie and has tried to recreate it ever since. So I have some advice for the movie industry: “The idea was good but it’s been done. Please feel free to try to move us in some other way, and feel free to move away from this type of story.”
Well, now that I have finished with the problems I had with the movie concept, let’s go on to the problems I had with the movie itself. First of all: Antonio Banderas. Oh Antonio, you have never disappointed me (although I never saw Mask of Zorro). Why now? How could you do this to me? You lured me into a movie thinking that I was going to see a good dance movie, but as I was watching the truth came out. It was a bad dance movie. I love watching dancing, and can usually stand cheesy dialogue between good dance scenes. But where were the good dance scenes? After I had been so faithfully smitten with your acting and your voice, you led me down a path of boredom. Your acting was bland, and I do not even know where to start about the dancing; it wasn’t horribly done, but it wasn’t enjoyable to watch.
I would like to make it clear to everyone out in They Might Be Critics Land that I am not against this type of movie. However, I think it’s time that it gets done from a different angle. I have great respect for teachers who can mold and shape their students’ lives like that and give them courage to do things they never dreamed of. But I just feel like I have seen the same story again and again. Usually when I watch a recycled storyline, it’s enough of a salvation of the movie for me if the acting is done well. But the acting in this movie reminded me a poorly done high school musical. You want to support the actors, but you also demand that they take some acting and singing lessons so next time will not be as painful.
As I said before, I generally like movies that center on dancing. I am okay at dancing, but seeing people who are really great at it just awes me. Even if the movie has completely cheesy dialogue and an extremely contrived plot, usually the dance sequences are good enough to help save the movie in my mind. It seemed like this movie did not want to be saved. The dancing was somewhat enjoyable but not enough to outweigh the lack of outstanding or even mediocre acting, or the queasy feeling I experienced from seeing this plotline for like the fiftieth time.
Overall, this movie gets a -12. I’m sorry, Antonio. I still love you, but I think that we need some time away from each other after the hurt you have put me through. You led me on and then stomped on my heart. The only way to save our relationship is to take a break and do our own thing for a while. I guess this time I’ll have to take the lead.


Wicked Little Critta said...

What was bad about the dancing? And the acting? If it hadn't been done before, do you think it would have been a good movie?

Stormy Pinkness said...

I think it could have been good if it had not been done to death. The problem with the dancing was that while not bad it was not good enough to make up for the quality the movie was lacking.

Stormy Pinkness said...

I would also like to thank Wicked Little Critta for the wonderful idea of the movie relationship idea.