Once again, we find ourselves going back to 1984. That year, rap music was starting to become huge, with the rise of artists like Run DMC, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Beastie Boys, Afrika Bambaataa, Sugarhill Gang, Slick Rick, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Melle Mel, and so many others.
Along with that music, there came a new style of dancing known as breakdancing. And when the two were combined for major plot points in a movie, how could it possibly not be a hit?
The answer, of course, is this episode's movie: Beat Street.
Beat Street was in direct competition with Breakin', and both were meant to capitalize on the growing new music-based lifestyle. When the two studios found out the other was making a breakdancing-related movie, they both rushed to finish first. Breakin' got out two months before Beat Street, and it made a ton of money. Two months later, Beat Street failed to make even half of the box office that Breakin' did.
|Some blame star Rae Dawn Chong's demand to be carried everywhere Yoda-style.|
|F'rinstance, you won't see LL Cool J dressed like this!|
Double K is a DJ. He wants to become famous for working the turntables, but he is not getting anywhere by throwing parties in abandoned buildings. With his friend Chollie's help, he hopes to get work in some of the bigger clubs in the city.
Ramon is, to use his own words, "a graffiti writer" who dreams of having his art seen all over the country. Unfortunately, his work is ruined by a mysterious tagger by the name of Spit (Bill Anagnos), who writes his own name all over Ramon's art. AND THAT IS ALL. Seriously. The guy just shows up with a paint can, and very neatly writes his name--in cursive--all over Ramon's work. What a dick.
|Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.|
When Double K gets work filling in at a club called Burning Spear, Lee and his crew show up to challenge the Rock Steady Crew, and they are seen by Tracy (Rae Dawn Chong), a composer and writer who is currently working on a show for the local dance school. She invites Lee to the school for a demonstration, and Lee tells his brother that he is going for an audition, and when it is made clear that it is not an audition, Double K immediately gets pissed at Tracy, and then storms out with a videotape of Lee's performance, thereby setting Tracy up as Double K's love interest, for some reason.
|This is why you don't leave banana peels on the dance floor.|
Tracy, wanting to talk to Lee, comes to his home and talks to Double K, who takes her to see him. She starts planning a show of some kind, and she takes Double K along to the studio to see if he can do anything there while she works with her writing partner, Robert (Duane Jones from the original Night of the Living Dead). When Tracy shows a minor display of affection toward her writing partner, Double K immediately assumes she is dating him and crashes an expensive Synclavier computer/keyboard, then storms out of the studio.
Ramon suddenly reveals (to the viewers, at least) that he has a child, as well as a girlfriend named Carmen (Saundra Santiago), and he realizes he needs to take care of them. So he gets himself a real job and, with the help of Double K, Lee, Chollie, and a weird Puerto Rican dude (Dean Elliot) they found in the basement of the abandoned building they hold parties at, makes an apartment for the family in that same building.
|Ironically, his job is cleaning graffiti off of subway cars. (Not really.)|
Double K decides that the new gig at Monte's club will double as a memorial to Ramon, with live performances by himself, as well as a gospel choir, Afrika Bambaataa, and all the local breakdancing crews. But will it help with the healing and possibly raise money for Carmen and the baby? Will Double K be able to keep the job? Will Lee become the world-famous breakdancer he hopes to be? And will Tracy ever realize that she is just setting the bar way too low in her choice of men?
You'll have to tune in to find out!
Larry picked this movie based solely on what little he remembered from seeing it decades ago, as well as his love of three songs on the soundtrack. He now regrets this choice, but what can he do? He thinks the movie is a bit choppy, and the story mainly focuses on exactly the wrong character. He is right.
Derek never saw this one before, and now, having seen it, wishes he could get that 121 minutes back. He thinks the movie is sloppy and poorly edited. He also agrees wholeheartedly with Larry that the main story focus was on the wrong characters. It should have been Ramon's story. And why did it take so long to introduce his girlfriend and child?
So put on your Kangol hats and Puma sweatsuits, limber up, and listen to this week's episode!