Movies: Stomp the Yard

People thought “Stomp the Yard” would be another “You Got Served” – a horrible movie to show off some cool dancing. Fortunately, this movie goes beyond the cookie-cutter dance movie model. The movie follows DJ Williams, played by Columbus Short, as he transitions to life as a student at Truth University in Atlanta, Georgia. The movie opens with DJ Williams and his dance crew, which includes Chris Brown, challenging another crew on foreign turf. With their impressive moves, DJ and his team win pride and lots of money. As they leave, the loosing crew starts a fight and Chris Brown’s character gets shot. In an effort to escape juvenile hall under assault charges, DJ gets shipped off to Atlanta. At Truth University, DJ learns about college life and is introduced to fraternities. However, it is a little cliché how so much emphasis is placed on DJ learning to be part of a team by joining a fraternity. The typical boy-meets-girl theme is present as well. DJ quickly becomes attracted to the daughter of the Dean. Unfortunately, she is dating one of the most powerful seniors in the school. This movie seems to target a completely different audience from the one of “You Got Served.” The other has a lot of dancing and very little plot. It is mostly targeted toward people who want to see some impressive break dancing. “Stomp the Yard” has a very specific plot that stays entertaining and is geared toward viewers with less of an interest in dancing. DJ is a very interesting and complex character. He respects women and recognizes that he needs to work hard in order to gain anything in life. DJ personifies an image that is rarely portrayed in the media. Generally, characters in hip-hop movies are pressured to fit the stereotype of being tough and macho. DJ’s character adds realism to the story – a nice change from other movies in its genre. With that being said, there are plenty of aspects of this movie that I did not enjoy. All of the previews advertised the film as a dance movie. Of the little dancing there is, most of it takes place in the first and last 20 minutes of the movie. This does not decrease from the value of the film, but it initially misled audiences. The movie also confuses the audience as the famous actors are not a major part of the movie. Chris Brown, possibly the best dancer in the whole film, is tragically killed very early on. Ne-Yo also makes a cameo in the film, but is more for comic relief than for dancing. The moral message the director tried to give the movie also detracts from its potential. It makes the film seem more like a Disney movie. The same cliché line, “It’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s about the team,” is repeated at least five times throughout the movie. In sum, “Stomp the Yard” is mediocre. There is very little dancing, but it has a decent plot line and believable acting. The general consensus was positive, however, seeing as the movie opened as number one in the box office and stayed there for another week. This is pretty impressive for a movie about college and dancing. Although this is not a movie that I would recommend going out of your way to see, if you are looking for a quick fix to Friday night boredom, “Stomp the Yard” should be at the top of your list. **Final Grade: 4+**