Expired February 22, 2022 9:45 AM
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2 films • 2h1m • Ages 8-18 

Pops is Tops - a musical journey through the home of Louis Armstrong; Quaranteened: A Virtual Musical – written and performed by teens trying to stay connected in a world where they must self-isolate.

Pops is Tops offers a musical journey through the home of Louis Armstrong.

Juror comments: Pops is Tops gives insight into the life of Louis Armstrong, with many details that I didn't know. It is appealing because of the music embedded and how it uses music to tell Louis' story.

This documentary covers the journey of the great musician Louis Armstrong, including his childhood and teen years. The film talks about how Louis learned to play the cornet when he was in a boy’s home and that formed his love of music. We see how Louis motivated the musicians that made this film along with learning about his beginnings and what motivated him to achieve what he did.

I like how music is used to tell Louis' story. I also like hearing the story of a person with some issues earlier in life, overcoming it, and becoming successful. It’s a beat-the-odds story. The close-ups of the musicians and singers definitely caught my attention. I loved seeing their facial gestures and body movements and how the music really takes them over. The sets and locations are places Louis Armstrong had been, including the house he lived in. It was a little crowded, but it was his family home, not a place used for a full band to play. The music drives the film because it is used to tell Louis' story. He was a great musician, so it makes sense to use music to discuss his life and how he inspires musicians still to this day. The characters play themselves. They are mostly jazz musicians. They stand out because they are bringing the music and story we are learning about to life. Alita Moses and Alphonso Horne stand out the most. Alphonso plays the trumpet, like Louis, and Alita is a vocalist. They are key influencers. Not only does this film tell us about Louis Armstrong, it also teaches us about African American history by showing us a successful African American musician. The film made me want to know more about other jazz musicians and what inspired them and what artists have emulated him in their music. My favorite part was seeing the whole band playing and singing in Armstrong's old house, which is now a museum.

The message of this film is to show us how a legend like Louis Armstrong still inspires musicians today. Jazz music is infused in many other forms of music and music can change someone's life.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This would make a wonderful documentary to screen at KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals, especially for middle school students who are beginning to play music and really learn what they like and don't like musically. It would be a good time to let them know more about jazz and Louis who brought jazz to the public. Reviewed by Ayden P., KIDS FIRST!

  • Year
  • Runtime
    57 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Jack Goldbas
  • Screenwriter
    Jake Blasini, Jake Goldbas, Alphonso Horne
  • Producer
    Jake Goldbas, Jake Blasini
  • Executive Producer
    Jake Goldbas
  • Cast
    Alphonso Horne, Hyland Harris, Alita Moses, Mariel Bildsten, Russell Hall, Jake Goldbas, Mathis Picard, Dennis Lichtman
  • Sound Design
    Jon Seale, Jeremy McDonald, Alex Gilwit