Today I just saw a movie with a typical "Top Gun" style storyline, but the backdrop was a fascinating look into marching bands of mostly black colleges. The stock characters include the rebellious snare drum genius who wins a band scholarship to fictitious Atlanta A&T College. His incredible "ear" helped him conceal the truth that he cannot read music, an absolute requirement to march in AAT's band...but, of course, a jealous drum major who is threatened by his talent will discover the truth and expose him. That drum major is another key stock character. (Think Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in "Top Gun.") Another stock character is Dr. Lee, (Orlando Jones, who is a serious character in this plot) the disciplinarian and traditionalist band leader who must struggle between his desire to create excellence in his band by demanding classical methods and the urging of the college president to modernize the band so the college can win the prestigious annual battle of the marching bands. Modernizing means playing hip hop marches, R&B, funk and pop tunes and coreography with more "edge." Of course all these characters clash throughout the movie in a struggle of tradition vs modernism and raw talent vs strict classical training with rigid standards of performance. All the while, what an impressive look inside the world of black marching bands...the pressures, the rivalry, the arduous physical training, creative highly complex and precision coreography and equally complex music arrangements! These bands are not your gandma's high school bands. I know because I am old enough to be many of your grandmas and I know marching bands weren't like this when I was in high school. Too bad a sappy love story got tacked on to this movie, but it is a small price to pay to witness the incredible drum "wars" and the stirring finale of marching bands. I highly recommend "Drumline" to any of you that have ever been in a marching band, or enjoy marching bands or are interested in being in one. If any of you have seen it, please let me know what you thought of it. If you have been in a marching band, how realistic is the picture the movie paints?