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"They don't tell you about all this when they recruit you."

A 2002 film starring Nick Cannon as Devon Miles, a cocky freshman drummer for the marching band at the fictional college Atlanta A&T. Devon is recruited by band director Dr. Lee who sees his talent while scouting. His carefree personality makes it difficult at first for him to conform to the rigors of marching band life, and puts him at odds with upperclassman and section leader Sean Taylor.

Drumline also features subplots revolving around Devon's romance with upperclassman dancer Laila, as well as the antics of Devon's friends Ernest, Jayson and Deidre.

List of tropes in Drumline:

  • Author Appeal: In-canon; Lee refuses to let the band play music other than the old-school stuff he likes, even risking the band over it. He eventually learns to compromise.
  • Author Avatar: The story, and Devon's character, are both based off of music director Dallas Austin.
  • Beta Couple: Deidre and Ernest.
  • Broken Pedestal: Mr. Wade is Dr. Lee's former teacher despite their philosophical differences and contemporary rivalry. This leads to Calling the Old Man Out.
  • Challenging the Chief: Devon attempts to do this when he wins a contest with Sean over who can play the longest while making eye contact. Dr. Lee instead calls him out for being a Jerkass.
  • The Chick: Deidre.
  • Disappeared Dad
  • Down to the Last Play: The final showdown involves the drumlines from the two first-place tied schools coming onto the field and apparently each playing two different pieces, with the judges deciding who was better.
  • Fan Service: The scantily-clad dancers in the BET classic are shown gratuitously during the trailer.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Devon shows up Sean many times during the first act of the film due to his natural talent despite Sean being older and more experienced. The downside to this is that Devon is initially a showboating jerk who thinks about his own glory more than the good of the band. Dr. Lee eventually snaps him out of it by making him go home and learn how to really play the drums via sheet music.
  • Hard Work Montage: Several.
  • Heel Face Turn: Sean.
  • Jerkass: Devon, initially.
  • Just Like Making Love:

 Shaun: Playing the drums... it's like making love. You can't keep looking down and seeing what's going on down there.

  • Klingon Promotion: Jayson drops a rank by losing to a P3 who challenges him, specifically because Jayson is white. He later gains his rank back with Devon's help.
  • Monochrome Casting: All main characters of the film are black except for Jayson. There are also only two or three non-African American background characters in the entire band.
  • The Rival: Sean.
  • Second Act Breakup
  • Serious Business: Bands, though it's not much of an exaggeration. Also, "musicianship."
    • An amusing shot early in the film pans across each section of the band, with each section leader emphatically explaining why their section is the most important.
  • The Stoic: Dr. Lee.
  • Token White: Jayson.
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