“… best suited sitting in a teacher’s closet, and pulled out to show to the class on a rainy day.”
Picture, if you will, the movie Whiplash but made exclusively for the Disney channel. If you did, what you have pictured is Boychoir. Boychoir is a movie that is very much a movie for children. Boychoir follows Stet, a boy from a troubled home who gets sent to a boarding school that specializes in choir singing. Imagine Hogwarts but instead of cool magic shit everyone is constantly singing. At this school Stet is constantly looked down upon by everyone, but he sure shows them by becoming a great singer. I only wrote three sentences about the movie and already I am bored. Let’s just say that Boychoir is about an hour too long.
Boychoir starts off by showing Stet, a boy who you instantly know is a bad apple because the movie has the subtlety of being hit in the head with a baseball bat. Stet is shown beating up a classmate and inciting a riot in his classroom, but then the movie essentially yells at you “HEY! STET IS ACTING OUT BECAUSE OF TROUBLES AT HOME”. When we see Stet’s home, we also see his alcoholic (I think) mother who he essentially has to take care of. Stet then goes back to school the next day and is brought to an assembly where a choir composed of young boys sings for the school. Stet’s principal then takes Stet to audition for the choir, but Stet runs away. On his way home the movie shows us that Stet’s mom has been in a car accident, and has died. Stet then goes to her funeral where he sees his father who he has never met. His father wants to put him in foster care, but his principal suggests that he be sent to the choir school. You may be upset because you think I just spoiled half of the movie, but all of this happens in the first 13 minutes. That is a smart move, because then the next 90 minutes can be filled with terrible acting and contrived issues.
When I said that Boychoir was a film for children, I said that because it has many of the characteristics of a children’s movie. See, Boychoir lacks any subtlety whatsoever instead opting for the path that is obvious from the start. You have the boy who acts out because of his past, the teacher who is a dick but deep down he cares for the boy, the rival boy who is jealous, etc. Boychoir is about as basic as you could get in terms of a movie. One thing that worked against Boychoir (or for it, depending on your perspective) is the fact that the movie was about children. This meant that we got to see children carry an almost two hour performance, and holy shit was it rough. Maybe that was why the script was so obvious, because the writer knew that it is damn near impossible to find a good child actor. Watching the ‘rivalry” between Stet and the “mean kid” (Devon) was terribly painful because it felt like I was watching two kids acting. I never really believed anything I saw in Boychoir, which is a big problem for me. Luckily the movie balances out the children with some real heavy hitters. Dustin Hoffman does a pretty good job as the teacher who is a dick, Kathy Bates wasn’t bad, and Eddie Izzard was pretty great as the teacher who was actually a dick and not just pretending. Apart from that Boychoir was terribly boring, and sometimes painful to watch. Just as a side note, the singing in this movie (specifically from Stet) looked really fake. I’m not sure if it was, but if it wasn’t then that kid should be a ventriloquist.
One thing thing that was weird to me about Boychoir was the end of the movie. To me, barely any of the characters were actually good people. I mean on one hand you have Stet’s dad who got a girl pregnant and then left her with a child to go be with his other family, and the other hand you have the teacher (Dustin Hoffman) who was essentially using Stet to make his choir better. But at the end of the movie, like all other disney channel movies, everyone lived happily ever after. It just felt weird to me, it’s like the movie showcased Stet as a pawn; he was used by Carvelle (his teacher) and then used by his dad so that he could feel better about himself. Couple that with the fact that Boychoir had one of the more anti-climatic endings I have seen and it was just a disappointing experience over all.
Ultimately Boychoir is a movie that is best suited sitting in a teacher’s closet, and pulled out to show to the class on a rainy day. I wouldn’t recommend Boychoir unless you enjoy watching movies with predictable plots and mediocre acting.
I give Boychoir a C