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      Dance Party USA

      2006 1 hr. 5 min. Drama List
      88% 8 Reviews Tomatometer 50% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score Jessica and Gus are two aimless teenagers who meet each other and form a brief connection, allowing Gus to disclose some details about his dark past. Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

      View All (45) audience reviews
      Audience Member It's halfway there to being something great. Katz gives us two interesting characters with Jessica and Gus, but their motivations for doing what they do in the film seems to be lost. Also, I wasn't sure of their age until the last ten minutes of the film, so when Gus talks about having sex with a 14 year old girl I wasn't sure if I should be really creeped out and mad or if it's just a little weird. It would have been nice to know they were all in high school straight from the beginning of the film. I also felt like the film should have opened with Gus. We are with him much more than Jessica and it seemed like Katz opened with her just because he wanted the audience to keep her in mind for the other lead in the film. If we open with her then we won't think the majority of the film's about Gus and Bill's friendship, but instead it all leads to his relationship with Jessica. I guess my main problem was that since it was mostly improv the film seemed sloppy. There are plenty of mumblecore films out there that feel more tightly wound than this one. This is easily Gus's story with their own attempts to throw a little more of Jessica in there. But what was Jessica all about? It opens with her waking up the next morning after a party then going home. That afternoon she talks to Christie who describes a guy that was telling her she was pretty once and that this guy kept trying to touch her and the more he complimented her the more she let him touch. It's a great piece of dialogue that represents girls my age; they are just as sexual as the guys but also want to feel beautiful and wanted. But Jessica is just there to listen. Then she goes to the party and talks to Andy and won't do anything with him because she says she's Christie's ride, then goes outside and eventually leaves with Gus. After that night she seems him and smiles at the amusement park and kisses him. But she was so mysterious! All the mystery of why she's been tough has disappeared because we never get an answer and she just turns to being open. We could infer that she was tired of the party scene and wanted a genuine person, but the film doesn't really go into that enough to make this a concrete idea. Gus also has some great moments that come out of nowhere. When he sees Jessica at the party he goes to talk to her and at first she's cold and distant but then he starts to tell her a story that she has to promise never to repeat. I didn't think it would be much of a story because why should it be? They don't really know each other and he just got done having sex with a girl at the party. He seems okay with his life. But the story ends up being about him having sex with a passed out 14 year old girl and then she woke up when he stopped and she was crying then said she was sorry. Why did he tell Jessica this story? I never got the sense he was bored with the parties or the sex. Perhaps it's because he really liked Jessica and wanted her approval. Again, that's a moment that came about without a buildup to deserve it. Where was his true motivation? It would take a lot for me to tell that to someone. I also really liked the scene when he hugs Bill and Bill has no clue why he wants a hug. We can see his desire for people to start accepting him. Gus might stop telling people these sex stories that he makes up. He's tired of it. The scene going to the 14 year old's house was pretty unbelievable though. She has no clue who he is, but she lets him in and then he watches tv with her and sporadically asks her questions then leaves after he finds out she doesn't remember that night. I just didn't feel like he would have done that, or that she would have let him into her home. Dance Party, USA would have benefited from being longer than just an hour. With this it could have established characters better and given them true motivation which would have paid off the interesting concept and characters. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Audience Member I love this kind if raw filmmaking. I like the relationship-driven plots, the silent moody landscapes, the closeups from odd angles... My biggest problem with the film was Gus was an asshole, and the small amount of soul searching he did wasn't enough to convince me that he wasn't still one. But I suppose no case was really being made to that effect... But my less cynical side tells me that everyone deserves a chance to change... Good movie on the whole, though. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member Mumblecore at its mumble-ist, I found 'Dancy Part USA' to be tedious and uneventful, focusing on a group of largely unlikeable characters. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member 2.5: The drunk guys story about the long road and State Park in Nebraska is ridiculously funny simply because it is so stupid. One sort of hopes there will be a point and the storyteller will redeem themselves, but they never do. Just as is the case with many other Mumblecore pictures, the most apt way to describe the film would be as a slice-of-life. Everything in the film seems plausible and occasionally documentary-like. The script, the manner in which the lines are delivered, and the style of filmmaking could definitely make one think they were watching something other than fiction, at least at times. At other times it is obviously staged and theatrical, as most films are. Combining this realistic sensibility with an artistic flavor is what makes Mumblecore so effective. It is refreshing and startling in a way that can sneak up on you. It doesn't cut out the mundane, ordinary, and less than beautiful from reality, but rather embraces it. This is a quality example, but nothing revelatory. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Audience Member disgusting and tender. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Audience Member A humble, and poignant look at the mindset of a teenager. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (8) Critics Reviews
      Jeannette Catsoulis New York Times A pair of disaffected 17-year-olds are nudged toward adulthood in a movie that favors natural drift over artificial drama. Rated: 3.5/5 Nov 15, 2006 Full Review Jordan Harper Village Voice Given the obvious financial restraints (the total budget was $3,000), maybe Dance Party should have been a dynamite short. Nov 14, 2006 Full Review Ed Gonzalez Slant Magazine A film of easy set ups and resolutions, Dance Party, USA is best when observing how crisis is metabolized. Rated: 2.5/4 Nov 9, 2006 Full Review Dorothy Woodend The Tyee (British Columbia) . . . first impressions can be misleading, and underneath the blatant misogyny and nasty talk lurks some genuine feeling. Aug 22, 2017 Full Review Anton Bitel Film4 captures with apparent effortlessness the tongue-tied self-consciousness and dreamy disorientation that growing up entails. Jul 22, 2008 Full Review Shawn Levy Oregonian Dance Party, USA is part of a new direction for independent film: homemade movies that feel more personal than communitarian and, as a result, seem less moralizing and dogmatic than the familiar, tired Sundance model. Rated: A- Mar 16, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Jessica and Gus are two aimless teenagers who meet each other and form a brief connection, allowing Gus to disclose some details about his dark past.
      Aaron Katz
      Aaron Katz
      Original Language
      Release Date (DVD)
      Jun 30, 2008