Bandslam (2009)



Critic Consensus: Bandslam is an intelligent teen film that avoids teen film cliches, in an entertaining package of music and coming-of-age drama.

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Movie Info

A gifted young singer-songwriter recruits the new kid in town to manage her fledgling rock band in this music-driven comedy starring Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Gaelan Connell. Charlotte Banks (Aly Michalka) has what it takes to be a true rock star, and with the battle of the bands approaching she's determined to win. Her chief opponent in the upcoming competition is none other than her egotistical ex-boyfriend Ben (Scott Porter). Ben may be cocky, but there's no denying his charisma when he takes the stage. With a little help from new arrival Will Burton (Connell), Charlotte's band begins to develop a unique sound and starts writing some original songs. Meanwhile, as Will and singer/guitarist Sa5m (Hudgeons) start to make a love connection, disaster strikes, and the band is forced to choose between conceding the competition or standing tall and finally living up to their true potential.
PG (for some thematic elements and mild language)
Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Alyson Michalka
as Charlotte Banks
Gaelan Connell
as Will Burton
Gaelen Connell
as Will Burton
Scott Porter
as Ben Wheatly
Lisa Kudrow
as Karen
Ryan Donawho
as Basher
David Bowie
as Himself
Tim Jo
as Omar
Ryan Donowho
as Basher
Lisa Chung
as Kim Lee (Keyboards)
Elvy Yost
as Irene (Cello)
J.W. Wright II
as Dylan Dyer (Glory Dogs Guitar)
Blair Bomar
as Megan
Casey Rogers Williams
as Ms. Wittenberg
Maggie Maye
as Kyra 17-1
Jennifer Blair
as Kyra's Friend
Zach Thatcher
as Kid Talking About Miles
Derek Cox Berg
as Rapping Boy 1
Matt Hensarling
as Rapping Boy 2
Cassidy Rose Johnson
as Slapping Girl
Michael Cuomo
as Mr. Berry
Nathan McCray
as Glue Boy
Kai Roach
as Glory Dogs Bass
Christopher Scott Copeland
as Glory Dogs Drummer
James Hairston
as Glory Dogs Saxophone
Chance Morgan
as Burning Hotels Guitar/Vocals
Matt Moody
as Burning Hotels Guitar/Vocals
Marley Whistler
as Burning Hotels Bass/Vocals
Wyatt Woodruff Adams
as Burning Hotels Drummer
Farah White
as Sa5m's Mom
Nikka Graff Lanzarone
as New Art Teacher
Bobby Bones
as Bandslam MC
Jonathan Rice
as Stage Manager
Ryan Ciardo
as Kid at Lunch in Cincinnati
Will Greenazur-De Johnson
as Scott Donnelly
Bryan Chafin
as 1st Kid
Rebecca Petro
as 2nd Kid
Dallas McGilberry
as Staightfork Guitar/Vocals
Patrick Owen Tierney Jr.
as Straightfork Guitar/Vocals
Ryan Tierney
as Staightfork Bass/Vocals
Grady Saxman
as Straightfork Drummer
Valin Zamarron
as Hip-Hop Group "Zeale"
Jason Shaw
as Hip-Hop Group "Phranchyze"
Candice Jackson
as Hip-Hop Group "Candice"
Manjeri Krishna
as Hip-Hop Group "DJ"
Ben Kessler
as ICGO Saxophone
Andy Rector
as ICGO Trombone
Juan Lopez
as ICGO Trumpet
Evan Butts
as The Daze Guitar/Vocals
Chris Ritchie
as The Daze Bass
Aaron Lemke
as The Daze Drummer
Krystal Morton
as Art Class Girl
Todd Graff
as Screaming Teacher
Julian Riano
as Dewey Kid
Joey Olivares
as Rock-N-Roller
Joshua Montoya
as Screaming Fan
Nadia Sahari
as Charlotte's Aunt
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News & Interviews for Bandslam

Critic Reviews for Bandslam

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (30)

There is really just a lot to like here.

August 17, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

These are characters that make mistakes, they redeem themselves, and they grow throughout the course of the film.

Full Review… | August 17, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

Bandslam is hardly the definition of a great movie, but it is pleasant and bright and doesn't insult its audience's intelligence. And that's as rare and welcome as a well-crafted three-minute pop song.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Tidy, heartfelt direction by Todd Graff (Camp); astute song references; and a David Bowie cameo transcend the formula underpinnings and keep Bandslam buoyant, gratifying and, yes, rocking.

August 14, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

The movie has a few good tunes and some charming comic dash, at least at first.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Bandslam consistently exceeds current teen-flick standards thanks to its snarky humour, its strong musical sequences and its ability to convey the excitement the characters feel both about performing and forming new friendships.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bandslam


Witty, Emotional, and Funny! Bandslam soars above all the movies in it's genre. It has it's own certain style that grabs your attention and never let's go. When a sad moment come on the horizon, it is eventually saved by a happy moment that will put the biggest smile on your face. It is an amazing story of friendship and music. I loved Bandslam, and I'm going to be honest, it's better than I expected. In fact it is brilliant storytelling. Vanessa Hudgens and Alyson Michalka are amazing here and even Gaelen Connell who is an up and coming star from this film, is a decent actor himself. This is pure teen film with no swearing, but just enough laughter and emotion to keep adults interested. Bandslam ROCKS!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Bandslam is clever, funny, charming, and insightful, and Gaelan Connell is a surprisingly charming lead, but it suffers from some odd inconsistencies in its story and tone. There's also an unhealthy dose of that teen musical goofiness we see too often.

Kyle Fowler
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer


Since "Sucker Punch" released today, I decided to review another film that stars that hot hottie, Vanessa Hudgens. "Bandslam" is one of the most poorly marketed films whose trailers looked like it was only going to appeal to Disney Channel's demographic. And this is coming from the studio that made the first "Twilight" look like it was going to be awesome. No wonder why it flopped upon its release. Not to mention that it was going up against "District 9" on its opening weekend. I eventually caught the film on DVD and I was proved wrong! The plot follows a kid named Will who is bullied and alienated in his high school. After him and his mom move to New Jersey, he meets a weird girl named Sa5m (the "5" is silent), who is played by ever-attractive Vanessa Hudgens, and a popular girl named Charlotte, played by Alison Michalka. Their school is participating in a Battle of the Bands competition known as Bandslam. Will is a music geek so he forms his own ska band to participate in the competition. "Bandslam" is not predictable tween-targeted garbage. This movie is actually too sosphisticated for tweens. It features smart, witty dialogue and like what the RT critical consensus says, it avoids cliches. It also avoids predictability. It also adds a good blend of coming-of-age drama. But the drama is not too edgy, folks. So don't expect Vanessa Hudgens playing a depressed, knocked up teen. "Bandslam" is a movie for music lovers like me. If you love classic rock from the 70's and 80's than this is for you! And if you're a Gleek, give this a watch as well. Heads-up for all the "High School Musical" haters: nobody bursts into song in this. This is a film you either like of love. As for me, I really liked it. "I do feel like Clark Kent."

Bentley Lyles
Bentley Lyles

Super Reviewer

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