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Parents' Guide to

Thunder Soul

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Uplifting docu spotlights legendary high school jazz band.

Movie PG 2011 83 minutes
Thunder Soul Poster Image

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This documentary, executive produced by Texas-born Jamie Foxx, is bittersweet and will make audiences wonder why they've never heard this amazing story. Why isn't there a Mr. Holland's Opus-like adaptation of what Prof did for these teens? Prof himself is an unsung musical genius who was only brought out of obscurity because a young funk-music historian convinced him to release a two-disc set of the KSB's best recordings. Director Mark Landsman captures Prof's charisma, even at age 92, and intersperses footage of the KSB band in the '70s with interviews with the now middle-aged players, the enthusiastic funk musicologist, and even a DJ who asked to sample one of the KSB's most famous pieces.

At a time when so many arts programs are on the verge of extinction, THUNDER SOUL expresses the importance of music in school. Prof's former students are so faithful to him that they fly back to Houston from all around the world to participate in a reunion concert just for him, even though he's almost too frail to attend. Tears will be shed as this group of late-40-something friends pick up their instruments again as a testimony to what an inspirational teacher can provide -- the belief that every student is worthy and capable of greatness.

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