Drumline (film)

2002 film by Charles Stone III

Drumline is a 2002 film about a Harlem street drummer who is recruited by a band director to play at a Southern university.

Directed by Charles Stone III. Written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps.
Half time is game time

Sean Taylor

  • We are the heart, and the soul. Without the percussion section, the band doesn’t move, doesn’t come alive. We are the pulse. And without a pulse, you’re dead. That’s why we’re the most important section of this band.
  • You're the best, Devon! But when we're on the field, nobody hears you! They hear the band.

Dr. Lee

  • We're gonna try something a little different this year. A little of my old school... with a little of your new. Honoring the past, and present at the same time. That's what our new direction is all about... bridging the gap. Our new piece for the B.E.T. Big Southern Classic... was arranged by two of your very own... [looks at Devon and Sean] Mr. Devon Miles, and Mr. Sean Taylor. [band cheers] This piece is very complicated, and is not half as complicated as the formations are gonna be. We don't have any time to waste here people, so as you would say... let's get crunk.
  • People say that the band is just a reflection of its director.
  • The radio is off now. It’s time for some real music.


Buck Wild: Let’s go!
Sean: If you can’t hang, put your drum in storage and go home. Now move your ass, lift your feet, and you’ll make it to the top.
Buck Wild: Y’all can’t wear my colors running like that. Let’s go Uncle Ben! I bet your country ass would run faster if I had one of your grandmama’s hot butter biscuits!
Sean: I guess it ain’t white boy day, is it?
Buck Wild: Come on let’s roll, come on tubas, let’s go.
Sean: Come on, boy. That’s why your raggedy ass gets a raggedy drum. Boy you gonna graduate in that white t-shirt, damn!

Dr. Lee: Mr. Miles, I guess you didn't like the required piece as written.
Devon: Naw, I just thought I'd add a little somethin' somethin' on the end. [leaves]
Sean: He can play. We all know that, but his attitude is messed up. Now I put three years into building this line. In chemistry's grading, I don't wanna jeopardize that.
Dr. Lee: [a car horn makes one long blast to indicate that Devon is a P1] Your line seems to think otherwise.

Dr. Lee: Good morning.
The Band: Good morning.
Dr. Lee: Good morning to music. Good morning and welcome to Atlanta A&T University marching band training. The next two weeks will be your introduction and possibly induction into a great marching band legacy. If you are here, it's because you believe in musicianship. If you are here it's because you believe in Coltrane, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, and the elements known as Earth, Wind, and Fire. If you are here, it's because you have a fervent, unequivocal belief in teamwork.
[Several students just arrive at the A&T field]
Dr. Lee: And if you wish to remain here, you better start believing in being on time. [points at Ernest] You...who's your roommate?
Ernest: Uh, Devon... Miles, sir.
Dr. Lee: [looks at Devon, walks off the platform, and approaches him] Eyes front!
Devon: Hey, what's up, Dr. Lee?
Dr. Lee: It's all good, Mr. Miles, glad to have you here.
Devon: Thank you, sir.
Dr. Lee: Why was he late?
Devon: I, um... guess he overslept.
Dr. Lee: Well, why didn't you wake him?
Devon: I'm not his mother, sir.
Dr. Lee: I asked Mr. Miles why his roommate was late, he says he guesses he overslept. I asked, "Why didn't you wake him?" and he says he is not his mother. Section leaders, what is our concept?
Section Leaders: One band, one sound!
Dr. Lee: One band, one sound. When one of us is late, we are all late. When one of us looks or sounds bad, we all look and sound bad. So what's the concept?
The Band: One band, one sound.
Dr. Lee: Now I want ten laps from those who are not their roommates' mama.

Sean: Mini-Me, I need a volunteer to polish the drums for tomorrow.
Devon: Aw, that's a P4's job.
Sean: Now, I'm making it your job. You don't like it? Quit.
[puts a towel on Devon's drum]

Sean: I've had it with your no talent, wannabe gangster ass! You wanna prove once and for all that I'm better than you? Strap up!
Devon: Bring it on, big brother tin man!
Sean: Get you sound check.
Devon: Whatever.
Sean: Fake thug little wannabe drummer boy.
Devon: Whatever you big bald headed bourgie my first drum having.
Sean: No method man.
Devon: Yeah, fluff daddy. Say I’m better than you.
Sean: I ain’t trying to hear you.
Devon: You ain’t heard me since I stepped on campus!
Sean: ‘Cause I know what you’re about!
Devon: You don’t know shit about me!

Dr. Lee: What was that? What did we rehearse? Why... do we rehearse? You're out there showboating for five minutes. If I wasn't able to signal a drum major to wrap you up, you'd still be out there beating your damn drum!
Sean: Dr. Lee, sir, maybe there's an explanation. Devon...
Dr. Lee: Do I look like I need you to explain anything to me right now?
Sean: No, sir.
Dr. Lee: I don't know what the beef is, but you better grill it up and eat it. Because it is my ass that is on the line.
President Wagner: [arrives] Now that is a new beginning. That's exactly what I'm talking about. [shakes Devon's hand] Great job, son. You are something. You are something special.
Devon: Thank you, sir.
President Wagner: Great job, all of you. Now let's see Morris Brown top that! [band cheers] Some alumni wanna speak with you. There they are. Don't keep them waiting. New beginning! NEW BEGINNING!
Dr. Lee: Sean, I want you to polish the drums tonight. And I'd better be able to see myself in the silver.
Sean: Yes sir.
Devon: I left the polisher on the bottom shelf, B.

Dr. Lee: You lied in your application, you lied at the audition where you play the required piece, and you lied to me.
Devon: I didn't think it was that big a deal.
Dr. Lee: [hands some sheet music to Devon] Play that. That's the music for next week's game and you can't read it. And as far as I'm concerned, that's a very big deal. I'm enrolling you in an applied percussion course.
Devon: But that gives me five classes!
Dr. Lee: Damn right it gives you five classes, it oughta be ten. Especially if you plan on getting back on the line anytime soon.
Devon: What do you mean, "get back on the line"?
Dr. Lee: I mean now, you're a P4. If you cannot read music, you cannot be on my field.
Devon: But you can't take me off the line, I'm the best drummer you've got! And can't no class teach me how to do me?
Dr. Lee: Excuse me?
Devon: Doing me is what got me down here in the first place.
Dr. Lee: No, lying... is what got you down here. And if you don't have the honor and discipline to learn your craft, then quite frankly Devon, you don't deserve to be here.

President Wagner: Dr. Lee, do you want to explain why Devon is not on the field?
Dr. Lee: No, really.
President Wagner: Well, let me rephrase. I want my boy on the field now.
Dr. Lee: There are some issues preventing that.
President Wagner: No, the only issue, is for you to give me the same show like you did the last game or there won't be a program next year.

Sean: Dr. Lee... Dr. Lee, just wanted to catch you before rehearsals. I was thinking, that instead of promoting a P2 to replace Devon, we could just keep the snare line at nine.
Dr. Lee: And how long have you been thinking that?
Sean: Just this morning.
Dr. Lee: Are you sure?
[Sean nods his head yes]
Dr. Lee: I thought maybe it was the day you showed us all he couldn't read, or was it the night that he took your solo, I don't know. But since you heard him play, you decided that the line or perhaps maybe, just you, would be better off without him. Remember when I first made you section leader?
[Sean nods his head yes]
Dr. Lee: You were sweating bullets wondering how you could lead this loud, passionate group of your peers. And I said you would be fine. You know why?
Sean: You said I loved the sound of the line more than the sound of my own drum.
Dr. Lee: Yes. And you lost sight of that. And that's okay 'cause we all lose sight of things. But if you don't get it together, Mr. Taylor, you're gonna have a difficult time leading the Senate whether Devon is on it or not.

Sean: Dr. Lee, got a sec?
Dr. Lee: Sure.
Devon: Hey, what's up, Dr. Lee?
Dr. Lee: Mr. Miles.
Devon: Well, I was wondering - actually we were wondering - if you needed any entrance cadences for the Classic. Not that I'm trying to get back on the line or anything, I just want you to check 'em out.
Dr. Lee: Oh... let me see.
Sean: Alright... the concept was all Devon's.
Devon: Yeah, but my man Sean here had the structure on lock.
Sean: But the snare part, all the sticking... that's the kid.
Dr. Lee: What, you two a couple now?
Devon: You got an old-school feel to it, but sometimes you're gonna have to take it back.
Dr. Lee: It's not a bad idea... not a bad idea at all.


  • Half time is game time.


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