Butt News Movie Club #9: Save the Last Dance
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We’re in some kinda train town, and Julia Stiles is on the train, literally moving from the right side of the tracks to the wrong side of the tracks. This is not bani wei for her. She stares out the choo-choo window in silence. She can’t even express herself. If only someone in this town could teach her how to sing the blues!
Or maybe… dance the blues?
Do you think there might be anyone?
Who knows about the blues??
An older woman approaches, Gump-style: “This seat taken?” She sits down next to Julia Stiles and notices that Julia Stiles has a copy of DANCE Magazine.
Old Lady: “Hey, you dance?”
Julia Stiles: “I used to.”
Dangggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Something tragic is going on with THIS trainaholic sadgirl!!!
At this point my dog Barry vomited kibble all over the carpet and then ate it again. Everyone’s a critic!
Now we’re in flashback. Julia Stiles is practicing dancing in her nice house in a good CHRISTIAN neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs. Her mom loves her and gives her a four-leaf clover necklace! You assume that this necklace will become important later or come back in some emotional capacity but nah.
Julia Stiles is nervous because she has her Julliard audition later that day. She confides in her good CHRISTIAN friend: “I kept messing up these pirouettes, it was really frustrating. But It’ll be okay. My mom’s going to be there. She’s going to drive me after lunch.” Dude! Don’t jinx it! Oldest proverb in the book: don’t count your moms being there before they don’t die in a car accident!
Julia Stiles’s friend makes her pray about it, and I’m sorry I keep mentioning this—it’s just a really jarring choice that they code Julia Stiles’s uptight white life as CHRISTIAN and her forthcoming integrated life as… godless? Because they do grinding? Her Christian friend IS racist, and the cool Black people DO help Julia Stiles find herself, no thanks to Jesus, so maybe it’s not a clear virtuous/naughty binary, but remember when a white person could be openly racist in an ostensibly progressive movie and just be framed as kind of a silly goose? Because it was considered normal/understandable at the time for good Christian suburban white people to be kinda freaked out by Black people?? That tension is pretty much the whole log line for this movie, so idk what I’m asking for!
Anyhoo, they pray, and then Julia Stiles’s mom calls and is like “sorry bitch, gotta work, hope you dance good or whatever,” and Stiles is like, “Mooooom, this is the hardest most important day of my life, you have to be there! You promised!” And the mom is like HEY FOUR LEAF CLOVER NECKLACES AIN’T FREE, but she bails on work early and fast ‘n’ furiouses her ass off to get to the audition and BAM! Dead as a doornail. Which, admittedly, sucks.
The movie does that thing where at the MOMENT of her mom’s death, Julia Stiles FALTERS and STUMBLES in her contemporary dance piece! Which I feel like people do all the time in otherwise grounded dramas without ever acknowledging that… you just turned this into a wizard movie? Oh, did she fall during her dance because she felt a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced??????? Certainly a normal occurrence for any normal non-magical ballerina! Like why go to the trouble of establishing Julia Stiles as a psychic elf who can smell car accidents with her feet if you’re just going to waste it? Wake me up when they make Save the LEGOLAST Dance!!!!!
Now Julia has to go live in regular Chicago with her no-good jazz dad. He meets her at the train station with his cigarette and his porkpie hat and he’s all, well, let’s bebop on outta here, cool cat! and she wants to fucking DIE.
Jazz dad says he couldn’t get out of his gig in South Bend to make it to her mom’s funeral, sorry. (BITCH R U KIDDING??) He takes Julia to his bad apartment under the train and shows her his jazz bathroom, his jazz kitchen, and his jazz mold problem.
“But dad, where do I sleep?”
“In my trumpet case, daddio! Skibbity bop bop dow!”
No, actually she has to sleep in the living room because “her room” is a pile of rubble, just like LUCIFER’S daughter’s room IN HELL. She can’t believe it. She was living on the right side of the tracks with a four-leaf clover necklace and now she’s in a flop house with this jazz ghoul!?! That’s gotta be some kind of reverse racism! This apartment costs nine million dollars now.
The next morning it’s time to get up and go check out her new school. Julia Stiles is nervous, but no sweat—dad’s got some swingin’ advice! Hey, my man, just walk in there and be like, “What’s up, cats???? I just bebopped here from 52nd Street and boy are my chops tired!”
Unfortunately, high school is pretty jive. They have GUN DETECTORS and Julia Stiles is basically the only white person there, including the teachers!!!! She walks around clutching her bookbag like 0_________o and what exactly are we supposed to feel about this? Are we supposed to feel sorry for her? Afraid for her?
In English class they’re analyzing In Cold Blood, and Julia Stiles stumbles right into her first SPICY interracial American literature debate! The teacher asks why In Cold Blood represented a complete turning point in American history, and Stiles says that Truman Capote created a new genre called the nonfiction novel (which is FORESHADOWING THE NEW GENRE OF DANCE THAT SHE IS ABOUT TO CREATE WHEN SHE COMBINES BALLET AND HIP-HOP, A GENRE SHE KNOWS WELL WITH A GENRE SHE CAN’T KNOW!!!!!), and then nearby hot student Sean Patrick Thomas says that, no, ACTUALLY, Capote made white people uncomfortable because “he took hardcore crime out of the ghetto and placed it in America’s backyard, that’s what makes the book special,” and Julia Stiles is like “yeah, that’s part of it,” and he says, “THAT’S ALL OF IT!” and the teacher goes, “We got a debate going on now!”
Respectfully, A DEBATE ABOUT WHAT? What are they disagreeing on? Whether or not Truman Capote taking hardcore crime out of the ghetto is “part of it” or “all of it”? Someone show me the thesis statement of an essay arguing either one of those “positions”!!!!
Sean Patrick Thomas: “Capote wasn’t the first. Richard Wright, James Baldwin did the same thing. Wasn’t nobody trying to read them, though.”
Julia Stiles: “A lot of people read them.”
Sean Patrick Thomas: “A lot of people like who? You?”
I appreciate the point about the visibility and credibility that has been historically granted to white authors at the expense of Black authors, but, Sean, you were just hyping up Truman Capote 30 seconds ago, bro! I do not understand the parameters of this debate! You’re mad at Julia Stiles for… knowing about Richard Wright and James Baldwin? Like, is the point of this conversation that he’s calling her out for being a poser who pretends to know about Black intellectuals without having read them!?!?!?!? Or is it that she’s underestimating the “specialness” of Truman Capote taking hardcore crime out of the ghetto and making white people uncomfortable???????????
I know I’m getting into the weeds about this, but I hate when dialogue feels like the script got run over by a lawnmower and then taped back together. Like, oh, as long as we give it the SHAPE of a debate and call it a debate it doesn’t matter what they actually say. Also, the whole point of this scene is that we’re supposed to be ~*amazed*~ that this Black kid can answer questions about literature and actually might know MORE than the white ballet girl, and I guess I wish they hadn’t done that, or, if they felt they must, that they’d given him something actually coherent to say? WHY AM I SO INVESTED IN THIS.
Anyway, the real winner of this scene is Mr. Campbell, achieving a truly mythical level of student engagement in this first-period high school English class.
After class, Julia Stiles is putting stuff in her locker when Kerry Washington—looking gorgeous and 35—shows up and teaches her how not to get her backpack stolen.
Then Julia Stiles goes to lunch wearing THESE UNPRECEDENTED SWEATER ELBOWS:
She skips the one table of white kids, instead seeking out Kerry Washington, whose tender words in the hall (“Don’t put your shit on the floor”) Stiles has interpreted as best friendship. At the last second some other girl (presumably Kerry Washington’s ACTUAL FRIEND) cockblocks and steals the open seat at the Kerry Washington table, so Stiles is forced to sit with the Black nerds!! Can’t white people catch any breaks??? But then Kerry Washington takes pity and rescues her from the Urkel table: “Let me introduce you to some of the ladies that I roll with.” (Maybe this is the Seattle Freeze talking but W H Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y WOULD YOU DO THAT.)
I don’t remember who said it or why, but in this scene I wrote down the quote, “We are the 2k generation, and no one takes us seriously,” and I have to say, from 20 years down the road, that It Does Not Get Better!
Julia Stiles sees a Black girl dancing all cool and is like !?!?!?!?!!???!??
Julia Stiles then sees Sean Patrick Thomas lounging on a windowsill and starts talking shit because she is still holding THE GRUDGE from when she got pwned in Mr. Campbell’s class and then Kerry Washington is like “that’s my brother,” because in Hollywood you can just cast any Black person as any other Black person’s brother no matter how little they look alike and people will be like sure, seems plausible.
Meanwhile, Sean Patrick Thomas—who from here on out I will be referring to as “Derek,” because that is the character’s name and also because Sean Patrick Thomas is too many letters to type over and over and also because it’s only a matter of time before I accidentally write Seann William Scott or Sean Patrick Flanery and don’t catch it and then someone will correct me in the comments and I will expire—is arguing with his friend Malakai who is trying to pull him into the drug game of course. Will he resist!?!!?!?!?!??!?!?!!!?????!?!?! What would Truman Capote say about this!?
Julia Stiles—okay, as long as we’re using character names, her name is Sara and Kerry Washington’s name is Chenille, okay??—goes home to glumly unpack an ugly candle and her ballet slippers and her dad is like, Sara! Come in here a minute! I’m making jazz macaroni!! He invites her to go to his gig downtown and she says, “It’s a school night, Roy,” like a HUGE B. Dude, ma’am, seriously, what is your problem? Why are you so mad at your dad? Did you overhear him tell his hat that his real daughter is his trumpet?
The next day at school Chenille sees Sara and is like “hey, girl” (WHY DO YOU LIKE HER), and then Sara overhears their friend Snookie talking in some kind of impenetrable deep-state cipher: “Steppes is gonna be off the hinges Friday night. I’ma bust a new move, break in the new Jordans, and bring a little honey.” Sara is like WHAT!?!?!!?!???!?!?!?!?!?!?
Then he says, “they call me Snook the Coochie Crook,” which means the same thing in every language.
In PE they’re doing some sort of intensive gymnastics program (I thought we’re supposed to think this school is impoverished?) and Sara is INCREDIBLE AT THE BALANCE BEAM. Everyone is like holy shit and Sara says “I used to dance, ballet mostly,” so Chenille says (WHY), “Oh, then you should hit Steppes with us tomorrow night.”
Chenille orders Snookie to get Sara a fake ID so she can get into Steppes, and he’s like WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY (I AGREE) and then Sara goes, “Snookie you talk a lotta shit for somebody who never says anything,” and everyone is like OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO as though she has now earned her place among the Black people with that incredible roast. This writing is a grave failure.
But she’s not done yet! Derek warns her, “Steppes ain’t no square dance,” and then newly minted battle rapper Sara counters with, “That’s all right, I’ll dance in circles, probably around you!” Wow, check out Al Jaffee over here!!
You know what would make this movie better is if instead of Julia Stiles it was Ryan Stiles.
Friday night has arrived. It’s time for Steppes. Sara goes to Chenille’s place and the following exchange occurs:
Sara: “Cool outfit.”
Chenille: (rolls eyes) “Slammin’. Slammin’ outfit.”
I’m not sure how but that dialogue decimated my immune system and gave me Covid.
Sara meets Christopher, Chenille’s baby (bc OF COURSE), who is being cared for by her grandma Momma Dean tonight as babies are not good enough dancers to be allowed into Steppes. Then Chenille hands Sara her fake ID and Sara is outraged. “Chenille! She’s ugly! She’s fat!” Somewhere out there in the world is the woman whose actual photo was used on the fake ID. If you’re reading this I think you look great! Fuck Sara!
As they approach the club, Chenille suddenly realizes that Sara looks like absolute shit. She turns Sara’s top into a cool head scarf, then takes off her OWN EARRINGS and puts them on Sara. I’m sorry, but why does Chenille have to sacrifice her cool look for this random white woman? Oops, I mean her slammin’ look. I have a lot to learn!
Snookie is DJing at Steppes, because they definitely let high school kids be the DJ at exclusive clubs. Related: SO MANY HIGH-SCHOOLERS IN THE CLUB. Ooooh, look at him, he’s the hottest 15-year-old in here!
Chenille gets sexually harassed so she squeezes the guy’s nuts and calls him a “tickle-dick” and promises that she will squeeze tickle-dick’s nuts any time he grabs her ass. I think I already said this in Coyote Ugly, but that was pretty much the beginning and the end of what the culture had to offer imperiled women in 2001! Just grab his nuts, sweetie! Wow, thanks, I feel safer now!
These women are in high school:
They head up to the VIP area (definitely where the 15-year-olds would be hanging out!) and Nikki, a mean goth, notices Sara and is like, “What is up with this place? Seems like they’ll let anyone in here” (yes, such as 100 15-year-olds), and Chenille goes, “They started with YOU.” Then this:
Nikki: “I ain’t walking on eggshells because you brought the Brady Bunch to the Negro club.”
Sara: “Maybe you came to the wrong spot, ‘cause I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Negroes here.”
VERY BOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW SARA SOMEHOW FEELING DEEP IN HER ELEMENT I GUESS! I COULD NOT EVEN BEGIN TO KNOW HOW TO UNPACK THE SUBJECT MATTER HERE! I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE!
Chenille threatens to lay all of Nikki’s shit bare because I guess she used to date Derek but she dumped him, which was illegal in 2001.
They go to the bar to get a drink and Chenille runs into Christopher’s father, Kenny (come on, please, I’m begging you, this man is 40 years old), who did not come to pick up Christopher on Sunday. She can only stay mad at him for 4 seconds, though, because SHE’S GOTTA GRIND!!!!!! Chenille tells Sara to order her a “rum and Coke no ice” (EW) and runs off with Kenny.
Now it’s reggaeton time! To be honest, this club seems fun as hell, despite the danger of freak-dancing with a sophomore who looks 54!
Sara delivers the worst drink order that this bartender has ever heard—“rum and coke straight up and a beer, anything”—and he quits on the spot, just gets on the highway, starts driving, and never stops. Then Sara and Derek have another one of their signature normal human conversations:
Derek: “That’s a bad choice—anything.”
Sara: “It’s just a beer.”
Derek: “But it should be the best beer. You’d know that if you even drank.”
Derek: “What’s that mean? Whatever?”
Sara: “Whatever you want it to mean.”
Derek: “You’re the genius, right?”
Sara: “I don’t feel like dancing right now.”
Derek: “But you know how.”
Sara: “Would I be here if I didn’t?”
He challenges her to a dance-off, so she just leaves the bar without even getting her nasty-ass drinks??????
Sara and Derek dance, but despite her prior claims, she is NOT dancing circles around him. She is not even dancing triangles next to him. She is very bad. I’m sorry, but if you have a lifetime of dance training then you can do better than this! You look like Bill Gates at the Windows ’95 launch!
Someone tells Nikki that “She’s all up in your nut and crackin’ it,” and Nikki says, “She don’t got shit on me,” and I have to agree with Nikki here!
Someone else is like, “What’s she doing—two-stepping?” and NO! EVEN TWO-STEPPING IS WAY BETTER DANCING THAN THIS.
Despite Sara’s terrible flailing, she and Derek are kind of having a fun time. Until Malakai shows up to cause trouble! He doesn’t like Derek’s plan to go to doctor school. He wants Derek to go to drugs school! Malakai confronts a rival drug dealer who is selling in Steppes, and Derek has to step in and help him with the punching. That’s not going to look good on his doctor school application.
Then Derek offers to walk Sara home, and he says, “Come on, Braveheart,” which, your guess is as good as mine.
He says that they can hook up after school and he’ll help her with her moves.
Then, more talking written by a snake that fell out of the air vent and on to the keyboard!
Derek: “So how’d you like Steppes, once you got used to the music?”
Sara: “It wasn’t the music I had to get used to. That’s not the first time I’ve heard hip-hop.”
Derek: “Uh huh. I bet you listen to it all the time.”
Sara: “Thank you for walking me home.”
Derek: “Is that thank you like gee whiz I had a great time or thank you like I’ll bust a cap in your ass if you ever darken my doorstep again”
Sara: “No, I would never bust a cap in your ass.”
Sara enters her apartment, still a-boppin’ and hip-hoppin’, and uh oh! Dad’s home, and he’s mad! He came home during a set break to check on Sara (note: I am married to a jazz trumpet person myself and NO JAZZ DAD HAS EVER DONE THIS) and she wasn’t home and he was worried. Whatever! He should be excited that his daughter isn’t such a sad loser anymore!
The next day Sara and Derek start their dance practice. Derek teaches Sara how to sit in a chair like a cool Black person.
Rules of good dancing, according to Derek:
1. Sit in a chair cool
2. “Act like you’re a nasty bitch!”
Sara talks to Christian girl on the phone and tells her about Steppes: “This club was SO SLAMMIN’!”
Christian Girl: “Have you seen anybody get shot yet? Jesus, Sara, you’re in the freakin’ ghetto, forget about the drive-bys, how are you supposed to meet anybody??”
Sara: “I met this guy and I think he’s pretty cool.”
Christian Girl: “They have white guys at your school?”
Sara: “No, actually, they don’t.”
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL NO ACTUALLY THEY DON’T
WHAT A RESPONSE
IN WHAT UNIVERSE IS THAT WHAT YOU WOULD SAY
Sara stops Malakai from beating up a girl in the bathroom for drug money. She tells Derek that she thinks Malakai is scary. Derek explains that Malakai is just tough, because he has to be, because of the streets.
Derek tells Sara that one time he and Malakai broke into a liquor store and “Somebody peeped us and called 5-0.” Then Malakai took the fall for Derek! He’s actually a street angel!
Derek takes Sara to practice dance in an old furniture warehouse. Okay but WHY is he teaching her to dance, though??? It’s not like there’s a dance competition coming up?? Is it because his sister is fixated on this white nerd for some reason and if she’s going to be hanging around at Steppes he’d like to be 30% less embarrassed by her? I mean, I know the real reason is that he is dee tee eff dot com, but a free four-hour daily dance lesson seems like an unnecessary amount of effort when “do u want to go to burger king after school” would probably work?
Anyway, he teaches her to grind and tells her that her butt is “good.”
Then Derek gets into Georgetown Doctor School, so they go on a date to celebrate.
The old white ladies on the train are mad that a Black and a white are riding the train together. Sara goes, “We have an audience. Work with me,” and they get ALL EROTIC. He’s kissing her neck on the train!! They haven’t even kissed yet in real life!!!!! This old bitch can’t believe it! Sara: “Ha ha ha! That lady was freaking out!”
This movie vastly underestimates how horny teenagers are. There’s zero chance they wouldn’t have already made out AT STEPPES ON THE FIRST NIGHT.
Derek reveals where they’re going for their secret date: it’s the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago’s Winter Engagement! Sara doesn’t want to go in, because of trauma, but Derek makes her. Then there’s a HORNY BALLET SEX SCENE where they use BALLET to IMPLY INTERCOURSE and Sara is so horny she can’t even clap. JK, she’s sad again, so she has to be shitty to Derek about it.
Derek: “I thought you would like it.”
Sara: “I did!”
Derek: “You weren’t acting like it.”
Sara: “Ballet is not a part of my life anymore.”
Derek: “I don’t understand. You just woke up in the morning and decide you wanted to waste your talent?”
Sara finally tells him the real reason she gave up dancing.
Sara: “She got scraped off some highway because of me, because of my audition! She was dying while I was dancing and I was mad at her!”
Derek: “It is not your fault that she died, or that she was rushing!”
Sara: “It was my stupid audition and my stupid dream and it killed her.”
10000000% remember crying the first time I saw this scene!
Derek is like I’LL BE YOUR MOMMY NOW, SARA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If she still really wants Julliard then she’s the one that’s gotta make it happen! She’s gotta make her dream come true!
Reminder: She already tried out and didn’t get in! Sorry!!!!!!!
He walks her home and then they KIIEEEESSSSS. Before bed, Sara contemplatively puts her foot into her ballet shoe, just like she wants DEREK’S DICK TO DO.
Julliard is holding auditions in Chicago next month. Sara is way out of shape. Her feet are all fucked up and nasty. She starts practicing ballet during the day at the ballet studio and HIP HOP BY NITE IN DEREK’S PANTS.
Sara and Derek go back to Steppes to show off Sara’s new moves. Just a few weeks ago she was timid and awkward. But now…
Now she is THE GREATEST DANCER THAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE EVER SEEN.
Nikki gets jealous and cuts in to dance with Derek, who is really into it. But why?? He literally hates her? I think Derek should be his own free person and freak with whomever he wants, but plot-wise, WHY would he be dancing with Nikki right now? The whole point of the movie is that he’s a good guy who loves Sara and he is teaching her to dance and he CAME THERE TO THE DANCE CLUB TO DANCE WITH HER. Sara gets her feelings hurt because Derek is ignoring her and basically eating Nikki’s ass, so she storms off and is cornered by Malakai.
Malakai: “You’ll never look as good as she does with him. That’s oil. You’re milk. There’s no point in trying to mix.”
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MIX OIL AND MILK?
Sara forgives Derek and takes her back to her dad’s apartment where I guess they fuck in the living room.
The next day, Malakai, aggressively in his 30s, confronts Derek for being too busy frontin’ and “snowflakin’” to hang out with his boys. Derek tells Malakai that he doesn’t want to help beat up drug dealers anymore.
Sara and Nikki get into a serious fight in gym class. Meanwhile, at the court where Malakai and Derek and Snookie are playing pickup, the drug dealers come and do a drive-by! Meanwhile, in detention, Nikki and Sara attempt an extremely high-level conversation about race and identity and colonialism in 27 words written by an old sneaker:
Nikki: “It ain’t over, bitch.”
Sara: “I don’t even know why it started, bitch.”
Nikki: “The whole world ain’t enough, you gotta conquer ours too.”
Sara: “Whatever, Nikki. Derek and I like each other and if you’ve got a problem with that, screw you.”
Here’s the thing with this movie. The politics are not as bad as you expect them to be. The movie is, like, weirdly endearing in how hard it’s trying to talk about complicated stuff (in 2001!). Nikki is given the space to make a salient point here. But contextually, she’s also a bully who is vindictively trying to destroy our star-crossed lovers’ relationship out of some kind of jealous anti-white racism, in a movie about Black people in Chicago centered entirely on a white woman! Just look at the composition of this shot!!
It’s pretending to engage with an issue while fundamentally undermining it. I’m gonna call it: not bani wei.
Sara goes with Chenille to her doctor’s appointment and tells her about what Nikki said. To her shock, Chenille does not hold her to her bosom while she cries.
Chenille: “So you put it all on her. None of it’s on you.”
Sara: “Well, we like each other, what is the big damn deal?”
Chenille: “You take one of the few decent men we have left after jail, drugs, and drive-bys. That’s what Nikki meant about our world.”
Sara: “There’s only one world, Chenille.”
Chenille: “You want to be a friend? Don’t just be here to be here. Open up your pretty brown eyes and look around.”
Again, I’m surprised that they give so much oxygen to this extremely valid and complex conversation, but IF YOU THINK CHENILLE DOESN’T WALK THIS BACK LATER WITH A BIG APOLOGY THEN I HAVE A REALLY GOOD LETTUCE AND TOMATO SANDWICH RECIPE TO SELL YOU.
Now, due to white guilt, Sara has to start a fight with Derek. He asks her if she’s picked out a dress for “main squeeze night” at Steppes, and she says that instead of doing that they should actually break up. He doesn’t take it well. He just punched his best friend in the face for her!
Derek: “I mean it’s like, damn, you don’t wanna be with me!”
Sara: “I’m just trying to tell you how I feel and you’re taking it personal!”
Derek takes his boombox and leaves.
I’m taking my boombox and going someplace where boomboxes are appreciated!
Now he can go back to his old girlfriend, CRIME.
Derek tells Malakai that “Blood’s thicker than blondes,” so Malakai asks Derek to go with him on his revenge drive-by. Call me a goody-two-shoes, but I don’t think it’s fair to ask someone to go do a murder thing with you! That should be opt-in only. No hard sell. Also, I don’t understand why Malakai wants to lure Derek back into the street life. What was the point of taking the fall for Derek if you don’t want him to go to Georgetown doctor school??????
Sara is getting ready for her Julliard audition, all alone. Dad comes to say good luck and gives her a big surprise! He finished her room! He doesn’t say, “I know you’re having sex now and I really want you to stop fucking on my couch,” but that’s the SUBTEXT. This dialogue is real, though:
Dad: “I know you’re too old for a twin bed.”
Sara: “It’s a nice bed, Roy.”
WTF IS WRONG W U, SARA.
Dad says he wants a second chance to be a good father, and that he’s sorry she hates him so much.
Sara says, “I don’t hate you. I miss her.” AND ALSO I HATE JAZZ. AND YOU.
She says that she wishes she could just have somebody who loves her at her Julliard audition. Dad’s like, “I love you…” but unfortunately I’m banned from the Julliard campus for TOTALLY BULLSHIT REASONS.
JK. Sometimes I lie. Can you tell when I’m lying for a joke or is this all just very confusing?
Chenille confesses to Derek that she did reverse-racism on Sara and made her break up with him: “Derek, there’s something I oughtta tell you. I said something to Sara… about how maybe Nikki had a point about Black men and white women.”
Derek is like YOU DID WWWWWWWWWHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTT!?!!!?!??!?!??!!?!?!?I But she was dee tee eff dot com! And she just got a new twin bed!!!!!!
Chenille: “You can’t help who you love, Derek. You’re not supposed to. When you love somebody you love them. Look at me. At least you found somebody who loves you back.”
And, like, to some extent, sure, but also, hnnnnnnggggghhhh!!!!!!!!! I just do not feel like this movie is equipped to deal with this!
Anyway, Derek goes to let Malakai know that he will not be going on the drive-by.
Derek: “Malakai, you are so much smarter than this shit. I know what you can be. I know what you’re capable of. Let’s just walk away.”
Malakai: “I can’t go to Georgetown with a 10.0 GPA! Operating on people, doing brain surgery and shit!”
Derek: “Yes, you can!!!”
YOU CAN DO BRAIN SURBGERY, MALAKAI! U CAN DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!
LOL, dude, these people are NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL. These people, like, listen to Earth, Wind and Fire. These are for sure your ADULT UNCLES.
Derek runs to Sara’s apartment but she’s already left for her Julliard audition! Will he make it in time? Why is her Julliard audition in the middle of the night????
Unfortunately, the gangsters that Malakai wants to shoot are ALSO auditioning for Julliard! Oh no!!!!
Malakai does the drive-by while Sara is on stage doing her audition. It doesn’t go great. Man, why does someone die every time she’s dancing? (Witch!) Malakai gets arrested and, again, how are we supposed to feel about that? It serves him right for choosing crime???? (Malakai is now WIPED FROM THE STORY. If you think you are going to see Derek processing Malakai’s arrest at any point, think again!)
Now it’s time for Sara’s Julliard audition kryptonite: her original contemporary piece. This is the piece that killed her mom last time. But at this audition, she has a secret weapon. The mean Julliard judge doesn’t know that Derek taught her chair-dancing!
Sara and her chair get up on stage but when the music starts she freezes. Mean Julliard judge is losing patience! Shit! She’s gonna beef this one too! Her mom is going to be the laughingstock of heaven!
Just then, Derek RUNS UP ON THE STAGE (inappropriate): “Sara, you were born to do it!” You were born to dance urban-ballet hybrid! I was thinking we could call it “hop-balls”! I don’t know, we can workshop it later!
Then she does her dance. I cannot say that this dance is good. This dance is bad. What can I say about this dance? It’s certainly memorable. I have always remembered it, for 20 years. So have you. But if movement is a language, what is she trying to say? Pop off in comments! Please! Literally tell me!
THE JUDGES LOVE IT. Derek runs up on stage AGAIN: “If y’all don’t let this girl in, you’re crazy.” This is a 17-year-old yelling at these judges! Sir, you can’t possibly be helping! But instead of calling security, mean judge just says, “I can’t say this on the record yet, but welcome to Julliard.” Probably definitely how it works!
Derek and Sara go to couples night at Steppes to celebrate.
Chenille: “Hey! I heard you got into Julliard. That’s like the hottest school on the planet, right? If you need some new moves, you know, some real flava, you know who to call. Aiiiight??”