Saturday, October 31, 2009

Epiphanic Street Dancing = Pure Unadulterated Bliss

Holy cow, guys. I normally don't post so often, but in light of the fact that my last was mostly just a big whine-fest about my current workload, I figured I owed you something good. Also, I'm bursting with things to say about this movie I watched last night. Now, I have seen this movie probably 30 or more times, and listened to its soundtrack, and practiced the dance moves therein, but I just watched it again for the first time since I had this blog on which to wax eloquent, so I had to throw down.
Dude. Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984). That biz is hands down a frikkin' laugh riot from start to finish. Movies simply aren't this entertaining by a long shot anymore. I mean, the festival of optical excitement alone, what with costuming and break dancing and break dancing with special effects, is some top notch stuff. Then you have your actors, and the plot, and bitter social commentary, and this movie becomes the stuff of legend. I tell you they could re-release Breakin 2: E.B. in its original format, completely unedited, and it would be an instant smash hit. I am not kidding. Especially since, in spite of all possible taste, kids today are actually resurrecting the fashions (some of them, not all, thank goodness) that are featured in the film. Well, you might wonder why I am doing the sequel and not Breakin' itself. I'll just say that it took the second movie for them to distill the essence of perfection from the material that Breakin' 2: E.B. represents. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, it goes like this: Ozone and Turbo (played by Adolfo "Shabba Doo" Quinones and Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, which are two of the best names EVER) are street dancers who live together and work at a community center in a sort of East L.A-ish neighborhood. They dance in a team with Kelly, or "Special K," who is a rich white girl who has been classically trained but loves to break dance, and joined them in Breakin', which tells the story of how they met. Breakin' 2: E.B. opens with the two boys enjoying their volunteer work, but worried that the community center won't be able to raise funds to keep open, and Kelly finding it tough to get inspired by hoofing it in the chorus line as a professional dancer. She heads down to the slums to meet up with her homies and they introduce her to their neighborhood pals, at which point they all DANCE on over to the community center: Miracles. She gets to see all the super stuff they are doing there to keep kids off the streets and teach them how to do giant synchronized dance numbers involving popping and locking. Miracles is a wonderful place; painted with vibrant graffiti from floor to ceiling, inside and out, with hundreds of creative youths practicing dance moves, acting, miming, gymnastics, boxing, and looking cool. Kelly decides while she's in between jobs, she'd like to help out, and becomes aware of their troubles with money. Meantime, a big developer decides that he wants the building for a supermarket, and begins legal proceedings to take the place over, since Miracles owes back taxes and isn't up to code. The kids decide to have a benefit, with break dancing, naturally, to raise the money they need to keep Miracles open. Kelly asks her dad if he can give them any advice, but he doesn't approve of her hanging out with the riff-raff and accuses her of trying to get money. Meanwhile, the Miracles crew has a DANCE RUMBLE under a bridge with their rivals, ElectroRock, who are clearly bad guys because their outfits consist entirely of red and black, with studs. They get served by Ozone and Kelly and Turbo, who are on the side of the righteous, so they are obviously better dancers. Later, Ozone realizes that ElectroRock needs to be on their side, because they are all from the same neighborhood and need to band together against White Developer Man. He goes over to the dance club where they hang out and pleads his case. I mention this because the club has a stage and on that stage is ICE T, performing in football shoulder pads covered in metal studs, studded belts, armguards, and fingerless gloves, plus sunglasses and a hat. It is...fantastic. There are animal tails on Ozone's hat, and pants. There are too many things about the way things look in this movie for me to give them all the comment they deserve, but MY GOD it is a sight to see. Right down to the final number, which features all the Miracles kids, and ElectroRock, and our protagonists, dancing in FLUORESCENT OUTFITS right up until the credits roll.
The thing I have to tell you is, after all this time, I finally realized that the funny little sequences where Turbo dances on the ceiling and Ozone floats through the air are not just for entertaining special effect. And the name Miracles doesn't just refer to the wonderful work they do at the community center. It refers directly to the MIRACLES that can be wrought when a group of young people learn to break dance, in unison and solo, for the forces of good. I don't know why I didn't make this connection before, but I now know. And I am better for it.
And because there are truly no words to describe how fantastic this movie is, I am going to attach my first ever clip of streaming video, so as to testify. FEAST YO EYES!

And if you are interested in learning more about the history of the dance forms featured in the movie, this website has a pretty good background for you.

1 comment:

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