Sunday, March 22, 2015

Breakin' - ten things I love about the 1984 breakdance film

A few weeks ago, I wrote about cheesy dance films I had to see this year. The first one I got to enjoy was Breakin', the story of female jazz dancer  (Kelly) who discovers the street dance of Venice Beach. Here are some of my favourite bits (all the dance sections are a great watch, so make sure you catch the entire movie one day!)

1. This top. Adolfo 'Shaba-doo' Quinones has amazing style. If only I could rock a jumpsuit like he does!

2. This signature look, worn by Kelly's friend Adam, who takes jazz class with her and is friend with streetdancers Ozone and Turbo. One word: tight. (credit to @ParisLDN, who came to see the film with me, for the joke). In a later scene, Adam pays Kelly a visit in the diner she works for, and wears really tight bright blue trousers. From this, the audience can easily work out that Adam tucks it to his left.

3. Ice T being credited as 'Rap talker' in the end credits. I guess the term rapper didn't exist at the time?

4. This movie montage. (I love a good movie montage). Amazing dancers, fun reaction shots, and of course its soundtrack, Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan. The film's soundtrack is a fun listen.

5. Christopher McDonald - one of those actors you have seen in lots of shows and films but you can't quite place - in one of his first roles as an agent who believes in our heroes.

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme! In a black wrestling singlet! Feeling the beat and overdoing it a little. See the clip here (he is in the background). Yep, in 1984 the Belgian martial arts hunk was already moving up the Hollywood greasy pole.

7. The fact that heroine can never really shake her jazz mannerisms: her shoulders move too much and too suavely, her arms can't stop kicking themselves up and to the side and up and to the side, her high kicks fill any gap in the choreography. However, she more than proves herself on the floor.

8. That kid (35 seconds in). Gosh... if I ever have kids, they will do gymnastics and hip-hop dance from a young age. That will set them up for life. How can a kid who moves like that aged 5 fail at anything? 

9. Some really hammy acting. One of the scenes in the middle, when Ozone and Kelly argue about going for their dreams and not caring what people think, was quite something. 

10. This fusion of street dance and jazz. The colours, the make-up... so, so OTT. Spoiler alert: our heroes wow the competition judges and end up with a show of their own (who would have thought? sorry to give the ending away, you Kimmy Schmidt). I don't think it would have run for more than 5 nights, but now I know where all those Flawless, Diversity and variety hip-hop shows originated from.

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