Dance Party USA - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dance Party USA Reviews

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½ July 1, 2012
It's halfway there to being something great. Katz gives us two interesting characters with Jessica and Gus, but their motivations for doing what they do in the film seems to be lost. Also, I wasn't sure of their age until the last ten minutes of the film, so when Gus talks about having sex with a 14 year old girl I wasn't sure if I should be really creeped out and mad or if it's just a little weird. It would have been nice to know they were all in high school straight from the beginning of the film. I also felt like the film should have opened with Gus. We are with him much more than Jessica and it seemed like Katz opened with her just because he wanted the audience to keep her in mind for the other lead in the film. If we open with her then we won't think the majority of the film's about Gus and Bill's friendship, but instead it all leads to his relationship with Jessica. I guess my main problem was that since it was mostly improv the film seemed sloppy. There are plenty of mumblecore films out there that feel more tightly wound than this one. This is easily Gus's story with their own attempts to throw a little more of Jessica in there. But what was Jessica all about? It opens with her waking up the next morning after a party then going home. That afternoon she talks to Christie who describes a guy that was telling her she was pretty once and that this guy kept trying to touch her and the more he complimented her the more she let him touch. It's a great piece of dialogue that represents girls my age; they are just as sexual as the guys but also want to feel beautiful and wanted. But Jessica is just there to listen. Then she goes to the party and talks to Andy and won't do anything with him because she says she's Christie's ride, then goes outside and eventually leaves with Gus. After that night she seems him and smiles at the amusement park and kisses him. But she was so mysterious! All the mystery of why she's been tough has disappeared because we never get an answer and she just turns to being open. We could infer that she was tired of the party scene and wanted a genuine person, but the film doesn't really go into that enough to make this a concrete idea. Gus also has some great moments that come out of nowhere. When he sees Jessica at the party he goes to talk to her and at first she's cold and distant but then he starts to tell her a story that she has to promise never to repeat. I didn't think it would be much of a story because why should it be? They don't really know each other and he just got done having sex with a girl at the party. He seems okay with his life. But the story ends up being about him having sex with a passed out 14 year old girl and then she woke up when he stopped and she was crying then said she was sorry. Why did he tell Jessica this story? I never got the sense he was bored with the parties or the sex. Perhaps it's because he really liked Jessica and wanted her approval. Again, that's a moment that came about without a buildup to deserve it. Where was his true motivation? It would take a lot for me to tell that to someone. I also really liked the scene when he hugs Bill and Bill has no clue why he wants a hug. We can see his desire for people to start accepting him. Gus might stop telling people these sex stories that he makes up. He's tired of it. The scene going to the 14 year old's house was pretty unbelievable though. She has no clue who he is, but she lets him in and then he watches tv with her and sporadically asks her questions then leaves after he finds out she doesn't remember that night. I just didn't feel like he would have done that, or that she would have let him into her home. Dance Party, USA would have benefited from being longer than just an hour. With this it could have established characters better and given them true motivation which would have paid off the interesting concept and characters.
½ September 11, 2011
I love this kind if raw filmmaking. I like the relationship-driven plots, the silent moody landscapes, the closeups from odd angles...
My biggest problem with the film was Gus was an asshole, and the small amount of soul searching he did wasn't enough to convince me that he wasn't still one. But I suppose no case was really being made to that effect... But my less cynical side tells me that everyone deserves a chance to change... Good movie on the whole, though.
February 12, 2011
Mumblecore at its mumble-ist, I found 'Dancy Part USA' to be tedious and uneventful, focusing on a group of largely unlikeable characters.
½ October 22, 2010
2.5: The drunk guys story about the long road and State Park in Nebraska is ridiculously funny simply because it is so stupid. One sort of hopes there will be a point and the storyteller will redeem themselves, but they never do. Just as is the case with many other Mumblecore pictures, the most apt way to describe the film would be as a slice-of-life. Everything in the film seems plausible and occasionally documentary-like. The script, the manner in which the lines are delivered, and the style of filmmaking could definitely make one think they were watching something other than fiction, at least at times. At other times it is obviously staged and theatrical, as most films are. Combining this realistic sensibility with an artistic flavor is what makes Mumblecore so effective. It is refreshing and startling in a way that can sneak up on you. It doesn't cut out the mundane, ordinary, and less than beautiful from reality, but rather embraces it. This is a quality example, but nothing revelatory.
½ August 1, 2010
quiet city was better, but i still liked this one. aaron katz's films are the only mumblecore films that i can stand
February 6, 2010
disgusting and tender.
December 7, 2009
A humble, and poignant look at the mindset of a teenager.
½ May 4, 2009
Just like Quiet City, there is a lot to like here. The story is slight but it is intriguing.

The hand held visuals place you right next to these people and whilst the acting is not the greatest, the naturalism of their performances make this quite intimate. Considering the short running time, the makers have tried to cram a lot in, which means that come the end, we are not quite sure where we stand. Personally, I quite like the open ended nature of the film, but it will be frustrating to most.

Overall, this was not as good as Quiet City but I liked what they were trying to do....
½ April 7, 2009
A wonderful journey into the confused teenage psyche. Expertly crafted to feel like a Cinema Verite documentary, the realistic dialogue makes it completely believable. Subtle yet superb performances make the audience feel almost everything the young cast do, especially the loneliness and awkwardness of being a teenage! Mumblecore at it's beautiful best!
February 22, 2009
This film was not good, but it was unintentionally funny. I found myself thinking (what?) at almost all the dialogue. I know it's mumblecore, but the conversations made no sense at all. Not to mention none of the characters are likable, most of them were kind of gross.
January 14, 2009
wow umn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a pretty good movie 2 watch...its got a really good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie...i think that the director of this Drama, Art House & International movie had done a really good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie...this is a really good Drama, Art House & International movie 2 watch its got a good director behind this movie...its a really good Drama, Art House & International movie
January 11, 2009
"Yo dude, I was seriously, like, with this girl last night, and...oh, sorry, be less of a prick? Okay, I'll try. Take 2."
½ January 8, 2009
Hard movie to rate but in the end i don't think it was really deserving of a 3 star rating. Nice characters and an interesting back story but nothing really grabbed me or made me consider anything. Script could have been better as well. Its a short film that flows quite nicely and is worth watching if its scheduled to be on tv and you have nothing better to be doing but not worth going out of your way to try and see.
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2009
Absolutely rubbish.
Acting was appauling, I watched and cringed.
December 28, 2008
Yeah everybody has to start some place I suppose... Some good moments in this mumble core film, but most of all it feels like a student's project from a director who does not (yet) know how to make his characters come alive.
October 13, 2008
Disappointing. The movie had a lot going for it for it's first 2/3, but then the last scene really rubbed me the wrong way; I felt that everything that had lead up to it was just an extended meet cute. It felt less complex and resonant, and I didn't believe Jessica would necessarily do some of the things she did in that last scene, but oh well. There's still a lot to recommend it.
½ October 5, 2008
Doesn't feel like a film so much as a poorly pieced-together home movie. There is some real honesty - the girl is amazing. But the two guys in the film sound totally fake when they're together.
September 8, 2008
Nice little indie film I didn't know what i was about to watch at first. The movie is very honest on itself, and
has some good intense dialoge in some scenes.
all in all not for everyone but unique for some ;)
½ August 25, 2008
A slightly unsettling film, but very well scripted. It had a stillness to it that I really liked.
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