Drumline [2002]

Once you've seen Drumline, halftime shows will become works of art. This formulaic yet surprisingly captivating movie honors the military precision of college football marching bands, those battalions of eager, sternly disciplined brass sections, drummers, and fly girls who turn halftime shows into well-oiled Vegas variety acts on steroids. Devon (played by Will Smith protégé Nick Cannon) is a cocky Brooklyn kid with a snare-drumming scholarship to (fictional) Atlanta A&T University. He can't read music (he lied on his application) and his attitude sucks, but he's the best natural drummer the college has ever had, so he quickly rises through the marching band ranks. The school year brings Devon the obligatory girlfriend (Zoë Saldana, smart and charming); clashes with his old-school band director (Orlando Jones); and well-earned redemption at the championship marching band showdown. No surprises here, but great chemistry all around, and a fantastic, positive role-model showcase for a musical form that has evolved far beyond the main street parades of Smalltown, U.S.A. --Jeff Shannon

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