Stomp the Yard

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Stomp the Yard Movie Poster Image
Well-intentioned film steps up the melodrama.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 109 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Protagonist is initially aggressive, then both chastened and frustrated by his brother's murder; aggressive competition between fraternity steppers; very positive and welcome affirmation of African-American historical legacies; doing the "right thing" by his girl wins honor for the hero in the end.

Violence

Early scene shows the murder of the protagonist's brother by gunshot (bloody, upsetting); stepping routines are aggressive (one team uses a live snake to show "potency," another wears wolf masks and costumes).

Sex

Several scenes feature college-age students dancing provocatively (in clubs and in competitions) with girls wearing midriff/cleavage-baring outfits; sexual connection between characters; romantic slow dance leads to a kiss on the dance floor; DJ makes fun of his own flirting with April by making kissy noises in the library; start of their sexual relationship is signaled by her entering his dorm room and him shutting the door on the camera; handsome, well-toned step team goes jogging in slow motion, sweaty and shirtless; couple does homework in underwear and T-shirts.

Language

A couple of uses of the "N" word (by African-American characters); other language includes "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "hell," and "damn."

Consumerism

Coca Cola logos (film is set in Atlanta); MTV News (Sway "covers" and narrates the final competition).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (beer, shots, other liquor) in clubs; background characters smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film's second scene is violent, then sad: A fight between groups of boys (featuring hectic editing and aggressive camerawork) ends when the main character's brother is shot and killed (bloody wound is visible). Characters discuss sex (one young man shows his selection of condoms) and use sex-infused slang. Aggressive language includes "bitch," "s--t," "hell," "asshole," and derogatory terms; a couple of African-American characters use the "N" word to show hostility. R&B singer Ne-Yo is one of the film's stars.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

LOVED IT!

If you love dance/stepping movies, this one's for you. I didn't care for the beginning at all--much better once you got away from those camera effect... Continue reading
Adult Written byniceman April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 15, 2011
i hate it its a bunch of low life losers that talk about condoms and junk its about a bunch of black kids in a dance competition.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

What's the story?

STOMP THE YARD focuses on competing fraternity steppers at fictional Truth University. L.A.-based DJ (Columbus Short) channels his anger at "the system" though crunk dancing, and his innovative moves make him a crowd favorite. But when a fight with a rival team leads to his brother Duron's (Chris Brown) murder, DJ feels guilt and despair, which turns -- no surprise -- into more anger. Shipped off to Atlanta to live with his uncle and aunt, DJ finds new athletic, dance, and competition possibilities in stepping. At Truth, DJ is recruited by two fraternities who think his skills will help them win the national championship. He selects Theta Nu Theta because its leader -- the very earnest Sylvester (Brian White) -- extols the virtues of brotherhood more than winning the title (though of course, everyone focuses on winning).

Is it any good?

Heavy-handed and well-intentioned, Stomp the Yard proposes that step groups (and similar organizations) provide structure and inspiration for students in need of guidance and a sense of belonging. It's a decidedly masculine melodrama. Not only does DJ contend with paternal disapprovals (his uncle thinks stepping is a waste of time, and April's dad warns him that "My daughter is not some shorty for you to mess with!"), but he must also come to terms with his own competitive hostility and Duran's death. At the same time, he has to come up with a killer step routine for the group. Luckily, DJ is inspired by Truth's amazing array of sorority and fraternity alumni, who are enshrined in Heritage Hall -- the list includes Esther Rolle, Hines Ward, Michael Jordan, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King, among others. Yes, it's a strained conceit, but Sylvain White's movie does well to remind all of us of these powerful embodiments of resistance, motivation, and "truth."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about black fraternities' role in preserving and teaching about African-American history. How does DJ's exposure to Heritage Hall show him the "value" of fraternities? What audience is the film trying to reach and what is it trying to tell them?

Movie details

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