This film was sort of overlooked when it first came out, but looking at it now it still is, as it was then, a real charmer of film as well as being a very perceptive and sharp satire at the cut throat TV business
I’m talking about the HBO movie Dancing In September which was written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood and starring Isaiah Washington and Nicole Ari Parker. The film premired at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2001 and was boradcast on the cable network the following month.
If you’ve never seen it Parker plays a struggling TV writer and producer who comes up with concept for a serio-comedy series Just Us and successfully pitches it to Washington, an up and coming TV network executive. Of course instantly sparks go off between them and they wind up getting involved in an intense relationship while developing the show
However, things start to go askew when the network begins to tinker with Parker’s show making it more crude and stereotpyed while Washington is faced with the dilemma – either to stand up for Parker and the integrity of the show and risk losing his job or backing the network’s tampering and dumbing down of the show.
It’s an intruging and really terrific film that aside from being a pretty good romantic film deals successfully as well about the corrupting power and influence of television. It was first released on DVD in 2004, but eventually pulled from circulation. However the DVD-on-demand specialty label Warner Archive has now released the film and has made it available again on DVD.
Unfortunately, there are no extras or commentaries on the DVD. One would have loved to hear what the actors and Bythewood have to say about the film and how things in the TV business have changed or more accurately how they haven’t and gotten even worse. But it’s a real gem that’s worth seeing.