The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
"Center Stage" follows a group of young ballet students through their first year of advanced training at the fictional American Ballet Center in New York. They had to be very good to get in. Only three will be chosen at the end of the year to join the company. They work hard, but when they are not actually dancing, they are a lot like freshmen at any college; they survive romances, they party, they gossip, they despair and dream, and they smoke too much.
Dancers do tend to smoke a lot. It's bad for their wind, but they think it helps them to lose weight. The movie knows that and a lot of other things about the world of ballet; it feels like an inside job. It isn't so perceptive about its characters, who tend to fall into recognizable types (the ingenue, the rebel, the girl who's too fat, the girl who is pushed by her mother). Here it's similar to "Fame" (1980), but not as electrifying. But if you look at "Center Stage" as another example of the school movie of the week, with auditions taking the place of the senior prom, you realize it's a lot smarter and more perceptive--and it's about something.
It is about the union of hard work and artistic success. To be a world-class ballet dancer is to be an athlete of the highest order, and if you look at ballet as a sport, it has many Michael Jordans and the NBA had only one. The movie casts real dancers in many of the roles, and that provides an obvious standard of excellence that gives the movie an underlying authenticity.
Ethan Stiefel, considered by many to be the best male dancer in the world, plays Cooper, the lead--the star of the company, who has just lost his girlfriend to Jonathan (Peter Gallagher), the company's head. He becomes attracted to Jody (Amanda Schull), one of the new students, and in a predictable progression invites her into his bed and into the new ballet he is creating.