I saw another excellent movie over the weekend: Roll Bounce. It’s amazing what films are out there and we don’t even know it because we’ve become inundated with films aimed at critics and the false glam of Hollywood extravaganzas such as the Academy Awards (which are meaningless self-masturbatory exercises) and other narcissistic award shows. If we watched those exclusively or stayed within our comfort zone, we would never have found Roll Bounce, a cross between Saturday Night Fever and Xanadu only ten times better! For once, a movie that doesn’t marginalize because of race, but portrays a nostalgic and true look at suburban life in Chicago through the eyes of young teens and through the lens of a cultural movement such as skating.
In the 70s I was a major disco-head and roller rink frequenter. Before we were old enough to get into clubs, my friends and I would go roller skating and I’m here to tell you that combining disco dancing and skating is the most fun you can have standing upright. Turning your elbows and knees to mush learning dance and skating moves is simply part of the fun! We had a blast and OH the music! Roll Bounce brought that all back to me, with a refreshing storyline, no foul language, and it was blessedly free from hip-hop. My tastes in African-American music run toward old style Motown, George Clinton-style disco Funk, and Memphis style Blues. I’m no fan of hip-hop with misogynistic lyrics and its promotion of violence, although I realize it’s an important cultural phenomenon for some. That said, I’m glad I was spared the hip-hop in this movie. Great performances by Chi McBride and Little Bow-Wow and his group of friends make this a fun, music-filled journey down memory lane. The soundtrack is one I could easily buy just to hear Foxy sing Get Off numerous times. The caricatures of skating phenoms and their “gangs” are hilariously right on. Good for the whole family!