Film Threat archive logo


By Zach Meston | August 19, 2002

“Dance Dance Revolution” is a videogame with a slavish cult following, in which the player stands on a metal platform, watches intricate patterns of arrows scroll up a TV screen, and stomps the corresponding arrows below his feet. It’s essentially a 150 BPM version of Simon, played with your feet instead of your fingers. While you don’t “dance” in DDR so much as you hop around like a sugar-buzzing five-year-old, the game is a hoot and a holler, and a darn good aerobic workout, as well. (One formerly fat-a*s friend of mine lost 30 pounds on a DDR exercise regimen, proving that videogames can be good for you.)
“Dance Machine,” which won the “Clam d’or” (blech) at the 2002 “Clamdance” (blarg) film festival in Newport, Rhode Island, doesn’t mention DDR by name, but co-directors and co-writers John Benson and Ward Evans are obviously hip to the DDR subculture, and the game’s own manufacturer loves the short. This Spinal Tap-styled, shot-on-DV mockumentary follows the travails of Tom, an earnest-but-clueless white boy who’s determined to win the local Dance Machine contest; our obsessed protagonist goes so far as to hire a Eurotrash choreographer (“He is so many things…He is a zeppelin commander. He is a woodchuck. He is a cobbler,” claims a dazzled Tom) and purchase a new outfit (“I went out and found myself a costume for the competition which I think is just slammin’”). Tom also provides the best description of DDR I’ve ever heard: “The lights, the music…it’s like being transported to this…dancing spaceship place.”
DDR fans will undoubtedly get the most laughs out of “Dance Machine,” but even people who haven’t played a videogame since “Pong” (which apparently includes the majority of Hollywood sound technicians, who continue to use bleepy-bloopy effects in willful ignorance of the fact that modern videogame machines output Dolby Digital 5.1 audio) will get a kick out of a dorky thirty-something white guy who thinks he has rhythm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon