Film and TV

No, Seriously, Drumline Is a Masterpiece

It's late at night, and Nick Cannon, playing the character Devon Miles, is the last to audition for the Atlanta A&T drumline. It's been a rough road for the cocky freshman thus far, and Orlando Jones (the band director) looks more than ready to rip Cannon to shreds before he even begins playing. Cannon blasts through the audition piece on his snare, pauses, then busts into an original piece. He gives that signature Nick Cannon smirk that made every girl in the early 2000s swoon, and then he says the most iconic movie line of 2002 (and possibly even the first half of 2003): "I just thought I would add a little somethin' somethin' on the end."

See also: Quiz: The Sixteen Most Surprising Cameos By Musicians in Movies

If you're like me and grew up during the too-brief Nick Cannon-ssance when Drumline and a certain Prince movie were on VH1 every few hours, then that scene is burned into your pop-culture memory. Not because of sheer repetition, but because that is the moment that I (and, I hope, you) realized that this odd, cheesy movie about a fictional college drumline is amazing. It's a masterpiece. An outsider with authority problems enters the strict world of college marching bands, determined to claw his way to the top without sacrificing his style. Of course he encounters all kinds of challenges and slowly realizes he can channel his swagger into his drumbeats while learning some life lessons along the way. There's a rivalry plot with Cannon and the senior drum captain who takes band disturbingly seriously, a broken relationship turned loving with the out-of-touch band director, and even a romance with Zoe Saldana, the woman so gorgeous she dared to dump Bradley Cooper.

That movie made classical music and marching bands cool for every 2000s preteen. It was the Remember the Titans for band nerds everywhere, and probably the reason I spent years in my room learning to play the drums and trumpet instead of playing sports or making friends. In was a constant staple at every sleepover and school field-trip bus ride. It also served as a valiant reminder of the importance of music education for underprivileged students. (Seriously, that's quite important: Please support your local school district's music program.) So when VH1 announced the Drumline sequel, Drumline: A New Beat, I concerned that it would be awful. There's still a solid of that, but the trailer provides some hope for those Drumline die-hards out there. The plot looks to be almost identical, except it's a new generation, Atlanta A&T once again hasn't tasted the glory of winning the "southern classic" in years, and this time the protagonist is a girl choosing her love of a drum over her family's vision of her future. There's going to be some feminism in this film, Devon Miles and Mr. Angry Bitter Drum Captain return as buddy buddy band directors, and Zoe Saldana is back because the past decade was not kind to her acting career.

Based on the trailer (which is borderline the exact same as the trailer for the original) this Drumline will be a remake of the old one, with some character changes, new references and fingers-crossed even more jaw-dropping drum line scenes. Remember when the rival school had the audacity to drum on A&T's drums?!?! It's going to be that kind of insanity, times ten (I hope).

The sequel premieres tonight and will certainly be followed by a Drumline, Drumline: A New Beat double-feature on VH1 every Saturday afternoon for eternity.


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Isa Jones is an editor in Jackson Hole; her writing has appeared all over the Internet and occasionally in print.
Contact: Isa Jones