Longtime readers of this blog know how much I love dance movies which I feel are the highest expression of cinematic joy. I have seen all four Step Up movies now and honestly, I feel like these movies and I are on a journey and that journey is amazi
ng. Step Up is the movie that introduced me to my hot neck boyfriend Channing “DAT NECK” Tatum and the series has only gotten better (worse) with each installment.
First, you need to know that the women behind me in the theater love dance movies too, and not only that, they’ve seen every episode of ABDC and So You Think You Can Dance? They were very enthusiastic, whooping and hollering and shaking and shrieking and it made the movie that much better.
Step Up Revolution (3D!!!!) is life changing. It is basically OCCUPY DANCE MOVIE but with scantily clad ladies.
I shall not waste time by talking about the “acting” because these are dancers and the acting was so stiff and monotone that I couldn’t help but think,
“Bless your hearts, each and every one of you.” This movie is not about acting. THIS MOVIE IS ABOUT THE DANCE! Dance is everything.
- The 3D is bullshit and basically nonexistent.
- The only recognizable actor within the traditional understanding of acting as something where a person tries to bring emotional cadence to a role, was Peter Gallagher.
- It’s great this franchise exists so former cast members of So You Think You Can Dance can still find work.
- The budget for the movie was approx. $4.23
- Plot? LOLOLOL
- Dubstep is featured heavily.
When the movie begins, we’re on Collins Boulevard (I think) in Miami. There are all these shiny cars and suspicious looking pretty people. It’s kind of like this:
Only, there are palm trees and it’s day time and the cars looked like this:
This woman, we’ll call her DJ for the rest of the movie because she’s a DJ, is pulling a suitcase that she opens up et VOILA! She has a whole double iPad deejaying rig set up in that bad boy with some nice product placement for Beats headphones. (I use Beats, too, and honestly, they’re worth every penny.)
These two guys, Hero and BFF, are in a car. Hero says, “Are you ready?” BFF grins and says, “Are you serious?” and suddenly, a bunch of beautiful, fit people in young people’s clothing jump out of cars, jump ONTO the cars, and start dancing. On the cars. I’m old so I kept thinking, “Mmmm. That’s going to cost a lot to fix.”
The dancing throughout the movie is simply amazing. The way these kids move their bodies defies imagination at times. There is some rapid booty shaking that, frankly, impresses me.
These guys in one of those glass delivery trucks jump out and carry three pieces of glass to the middle of the road and Silent Face Tattoo Guy starts spray painting something. On the glass. In the middle of the dancing. In the middle of the afternoon. That is stopping traffic.
A piragua guy we’ll call Videographer, is filming the entire dance.
When the cars started dancing, I simply started laughing so hard, I cried because I realized I was about to have a transcendental movie experience.
This is exactly what it looked like:
After all the dancing is done, the gang disperses and the three panes of glass are beautifully spray painted with The Mob!!!
Three of the dancers run to work at the Dimont hotel where they are waiters. The man’s always gotta keep a dancer down. As they’re straightening their ties, this preppy asshole with shellacked hair, we’ll call him Chip (Clearly I don’t remember anyone’s names from the movie because the names just don’t matter. THIS IS ABOUT DANCE!!!) Chip is the new manager and he quickly lets the boys know there’s a new sheriff in town. There are customers waiting to eat that shitty hotel food.
At the end of their shift, they change back into street clothes and get ready to head to the beach club of the hotel to dance. There’s a sign that says, “No employees allowed in the beach club,” so BFF tears the sign down and says, “What sign?” He’s a rebel.
The beach club is what you’d expect–scantily clad women with ultra tight bodies and the men who love them, all drinking and grinding to overproduced, oversynthesized music without discernible lyrics. There’s a girl at the bar, we’ll call her Poor Little Rich Girl or PLRG for short. She wants a drink but the bartender is flirting with some skank so she just hops behind the bar to prepare herself a drink. Hero sidles up to the bar for a beer and they banter and then he says he’s going to dance and they go to the dance sand. He says something like, “Well, start moving and make me look good,” so SHE DOES! I think she’s doing it sarcastically but not really.
Then they really go at it and as is necessary in a dance movie, a crowd develops around them and it’s fucking time for a dance battle. They totally go at it more, with intensity, the kind that will require Ben Gay later if you’re over 30. By the end of the dance, they are down in the sand, grinding on each other, and rubbing sand all over their bodies. I was, wiping my eyes at this point because I was so happy. I also thought, “They’re going to have sand in crevices, later.”
That evening, Hero and BFF and the rest of The Mob gather at the salsa club that’s one of their main hangouts and they talk about how amazing their flash mob was because it’s 2001 when flash mobs were… still a thing. We learn that they’re trying to win $100,000 by being the first YouTube channel to get 10,000,000 hits. The gang strategizes about their next Mob.
Yes, Step Up Revolution is a quest movie.
In the morning, Hero is woken up by a child, his niece, and he does a dance move for her. In the kitchen, Hero’s sister basically tells him to get his life together and stop dreaming of the dance because he asks her if she watched his Mob video. Sister tells Hero her friend has an opening in the Management Training Program and he should apply but he’s a dancer, and management can’t hold him down.
Have you noticed how in every movie where someone has a dream, the alternative to the dream is management training?
At work, all the employees are being blabbed to by Peter Gallagher, who is the corporate overlord who has just bought the hotel. BFF runs in late and is immediately fired because there is no tardiness at the Dimont hotel.
Unremarkable things happen.
Out by the pool, Hero is waiting tables and Gallagher and PLRG are having a tense father daughter breakfast. Oh snap! She’s not really the bartender! There’s some lame flirting. Later he runs into PLRG dancing to an acoustic song. FEELINGS! Hero watches and after more banter he invites her to an event, tells her to dress nice. Obvi, they will be madly in love in about 7 minutes.
More unremarkable things and furious planning at the Mob Clubhouse, which is featured in some fashion, in every Step Up movie–a place where dancers can just dance. Concrete is always involved as are elaborate electronics that beg the question, how are you affording a. this amazing space and b. all these electronics.
PLRG auditions for the Winwood Dance Company and guess who’s the director of the company? LOLOL! Mia Michaels. My TV and movie worlds collided. Truth time: I clapped at this point and I wasn’t alone in doing so.
Look, PLRG just wants to dance and her rich daddy doesn’t understand. That’s her entire character arc.
There’s a fancy art opening at an art gallery in downtown Miami. The Mob infiltrates. PLRG shows up looking nice and Hero is wearing a suit and they look each other up and down. PLRG’s dress is a coochie cutter. All the dresses in the movie are. It’s really just, those poor girls’ vaginas–no protection from the elements.
The lights go out. DJ starts playing some music. People come out of paintings. Oh snap. Trompe l’oeil! Then, there’s another room, these gorgeous white silky installations hanging from the ceiling and four ballerinas with light tubes in their tutus start dancing. It is all, truly, amazing.
The choreography and dance design are simply flawless in the movie. I will give credit where credit is due. I clapped again. I was SO into it.
After the entire dance, which is incredible, and the art patrons are giddy with having been part of a moment, there’s this light projected outside the theater that says, “The Mob.”
This video gets a lot of hits. PLRG finds Hero the next day and demands to be part of the Mob. Hero takes her to meet the gang and introduces everyone and their roles in the gang. BFF is not into it at first but eventually, everyone becomes friendly and they start planning their next dance incursion. BFF throws down a gauntlet. PLRG has to lead the next dance off! Oooooh! Burn!
Unremarkable things happen.
We’re at a restaurant that kind of looks like that crazy, ultra modern restaurant in American Psycho that I cannot find a picture of. This will have to do.
PLRG and Hero are escorted to their table. We see the rest of the Mob getting in place. Hero and PLRG put on masks. Swear to God.
And I was like, wait. Are we about to get Black Swan up in here?
I was ready for that. Alas. Instead, they did another dance number, etc etc etc. This is all you need to know:
At the end of the Mob, the artist guy has made a The Mob sculpture. Out of silverware.
Yup. Best movie ever.
After, flushed with excitement, the gang all go to the salsa club homebase to dance their excitement off. If you know your dance movies, you’ll know EXACTLY where they stole this, “outsider learns about how the other half lives,” motif from.
Hero and PLRG sneak off and they get into his crappy little boat and he shows her another side of Miami. They make out a little, just enough to stay PG.
In the morning, we hear a loud blaring as a big ferry passes them by. The young lovers have fallen asleep together in the boat.
Back at the club, the lovers flush with kissing and sleeping in a boat all night, find all their friends still there, even though it’s morning, looking pitiful. Crisis! Gallagher, the corporate evildoer, plans on building on the waterfront. He’s buying up the property to build a new hotel and condos and whatever. The Mob doesn’t know who PLRG’s daddy is so she runs off to try and convince him to not destroy her boyfriend’s home but he basically pats her on the head and says, “You worry about dancing and I’ll worry about being an asshole.”
The Mob decides to create some social justice. From here on out, there are literally lines about how dancing is how people can be seen and heard and can make a difference and again, you know, bless their hearts. The next mob incursion happens at a corporate tower where Gallagher’s men and the city council are meeting. A fire alarm is pulled and then there’s this AMAZING dance number in the lobby.
This is involved:
Outside the building, there’s this huge robot with an open brief case that says like, We’re Not For Sale. Amazing.
Hero and PLRG go to the beach to practice dancing on the water’s edge, straight up biting from the only water dancing movie in LIFE that matters.
More things happen. BFF finds out PLRG is PLRG and gets mad. There’s a gala and Hero is working and PLRG is being a good daughter. Suddenly, there’s a video on the screen of PLRG talking about her greedy daddy and then all these scary looking guys in all black with gas masks enter the scene and do another incredible dance.
The jig is up! Secrets are out! Friendships are damaged! Young love is torn asunder! BFF and Hero are arrested then bailed out. PLRG is in the doghouse with daddy. She fucks up her dance audition to become a permanent member of Winwood Dance Company. Hero and BFF fight then make up. Etc etc etc. It all leads up to the end dance for freedom. Or just to dance and BE HEARD!
The final dance is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
There are sparks.
There’s also crunk booty shaking, robotics, dance moves I couldn’t name if I tried, and trampolines, and then these guys like run down a ramp attached to bungee cords.
There’s a guest appearance from Moose (either you know what this is or you don’t).
There are some cops who are really dancers.
The dance is SO amazing, Gallagher decides to work with the community to keep it vibrant, let everyone stay in their homes and businesses, and still build his hotel. Then, Hero and PLRG dance for life and for love.
We know where they got this idea from.
I wrote all this to tell you that all great dance movies owe everything to the one dance movie to rule them all, Dirty Dancing.
When it was all over, I dried my tears of joy and sat there in the darkened theater for a long time. I just didn’t want the moment to end.
(Feel free to ask me about Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life, “Episodes 1-5″ because I’ve read them ALL and am dying for Episode 6 to be released at the end of the month. Shit is going down in Sweet Valley and everyone’s a