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Critics often throw around the term “feel-good movie” to describe a film that warms your heart to the very core, but “Stomp the Yard” was forgotten in that lot.

The story follows DJ (Columbus Short), a troubled youth who witnesses the death of his brother, to the campus of Truth University, a historically black university. He gets into college with no questions asked and within the first 15 minutes of his arrival he finds the girl of his dreams. He then spends the next hour and 45 minutes chasing said girl through registration lines, across campus, and finally into the fray of a stepping competition on the “yard”–another word for any open area on campus where fraternities and sororities roam. This is where DJ meets his competition, a fraternity brother played by a much-too-old Darrin Henson of “Darrin’s Dance Grooves” fame. It is here that the plot heats up, as DJ begins to show us what he’s working with, courtesy of his own dance grooves.

What DJ lacks in personality, he more than makes up for in good looks and popping and locking–see Darren’s Dance Groove–and after seeing his moves, two of the major frats on campus begin to vie for his attention. The rest of the movie is spent giving us snippets of DJ’s life as a fraternity “bruh.” We watch him straining to sit because of a night of probable paddling–a rite of passage among black Greeks, we watch as he “crosses the burning sands,” and of course, we watch him whip his old-school, stick-in-the-mud frat into shape for the National Step Show, which is more colossal than any step show known to man. That is where the movie really falls into place. The cinematography becomes breathtaking, the soundtrack is bone-rattling, the dance sequences make you want to jump into the screen and join in, and to top it off, there is more Grade A Beef than you could cook on the 4th of July.

If you are looking for a profound movie about black Greek life along the lines of Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” you will not find it here. This movie wasn’t meant to be groundbreaking nor was it meant to incite as much controversy as it has among the black Greek community. It was just meant to tell a story of a young man, who against all odds, came out on top–and it has more heart than the sum of its parts.

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