BandSlam (2008)

Rating  U
Length 1hr 42
Release 4.4.1985
Director Wolfgang Peterson
About The new kid at school brings new hope to a fledgling rock band when they decide to compete at a mega annual event-a battle of the bands.


The Good

  • The music is still, over 10 years later, the strongest element of the film. What happened to the mainstream ska genre? Even when the storyline got deep and emotion fuelled, the music keeps you upbeat.
  • It’s funny. Charmingly so. The one liners, the awkwardness. All of it. I’d forgotten quite how funny it was.
  • It has two excellent female leads at the starts of their career. Vanessa H’s early breakaway from her peppy Disney persona is very refreshing. Even now, with her wide ranging filmography, it is this that feels the most redefining for her. This was also my first time seeing Aly Michalka in a role. She’s awesome as the friend (most of the time).
  • The Bowie framing. I love the reference alone, but it’s his cameo at the end is just fantastic.

The Bad

  • I wish we’d seen pre-cancer Charlotte. I always find her turning against Will after her father’s death a little against everything we’ve come to know of her. I know it’s needed for the final act, but it’s too much and way too harsh. Instead of checking out her Wikipedia page, perhaps a youtube video would have given us a better glimpse into her character.
  • Holy fuck, the kids are so cruel to Will. Yes, he’s a bit of a dick (see below), but when you consider how badly he is treated by everyone, for something that wasn’t his fault, I’m surprised this isn’t a slasher flick. That shit is the making of Hollywood’s scariest horror boys. Michael and Jason would welcome him with open arms.

The Ugly

  • Will isn’t a likeable character when you’ve watched it as many times as I have. While, at times, he’s sympathetic and is a refreshing contrast to many leads you often come across in these movies, it’s not enough to make up for the fact that he’s a total dick to friends and asks really inappropriate questions. Often they do provide exposition as a result, but it’s really at the sacrifice of the character.

Final Thoughts

Even with its unlikable characters and flaws, I adore this movie and will always be a go-to movie for me.

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