• Culture and Entertainment

    Review of Disney’s Prom

    I just finished watching Disney’s Prom. I thought it was adorable. I think I may stay away from posting photos of movie stills though because they don’t belong to me, and this whole Internet censuring issue has me hypersensitive. I am sorry for no movie stills. I will post photos of what I might wear to prom if I dropped three or four years from my age and went to a physical school…ha!
    I know real prom is frequently R-rated, and this movie candy coats relationships in the movie to be more innocent than those of the average middle schoolers; nevertheless, those of us that were raised to value innocence and adore sickly sweet romance can enjoy it. I can somewhat understand the excitement of prom, but it is really rather insignificant; after all graduation of high school is the most basic of graduations since  you  really should graduate. Adult events that are for something important or are during college are the “real deal” to me, but there is not the hype over them as there is over prom as far as I know, and it would have been fun to attend a home school or Christian school prom.
    There are several separate story lines throughout the movie. All of them are linked in some way by friendships/relationships (for example Nova is friends with Mei and Jordan), and I liked this aspect, but I felt that the movie needed more of a central storyline which I felt that one of the story lines (the Jesse/Nova one which was my favorite and don’t you just love those names?!) was perhaps intended to be, but it did not turn out quite central enough.
    There was the Jordan-Tyler-Simone triangle which was creepy because Simone was played by a teenager (one of the few characters in this movie played by actual high school age kids, I think), but Tyler was played by an adult…and looked it. I hated Simone; this actress must have a thing for playing brats that are portrayed as special girls. I watched her in Star Struck which I hated because of her part. She acted poorly in both movies. Tyler was publicly humiliated by both Jordan and Simone which I did not like; private matters do not need to be made public, and public humiliation like that smacks of pettiness and spiteful revenge.

    Tyler is a jerk that seemed to want two girls at the same time and treated both of them poorly, but only one of the girls was actually a nice girl: Jordan. Jordan believed his lies which showed that she was trusting and not suspicious, but when she was faced with the truth she broke up with Tyler for good and let it all go except for the public humiliation part; I think she might have danced with him to show she really was over him and was not bitter. She attended prom alone and enjoyed herself; the romantic side of me was not satisfied with this, however, I wanted a boy, perhaps Brandon, to have approached her for a dance.

    Simone stupidly believed Tyler the first time when he said that he and Jordan were over-they were the “it” couple, so she should have waited and watched a little before she agreed to have any sort of relationship with hi,. The movie does indicate who exactly ended their first little fling, but it became clear that neither one were emotionally over it. I really don’t like the Senior/Sophomore “romance” concept which combined with the age of the actors made it more disturbing. Simone flirted with poor smitten Lucas, but told him he was the substitute…and then broke a promise to him TWICE because of Tyler. Tyler told Simone that he would break up with Jordan for her after prom, so Simone was obviously okay with being a cheater herself. When Jordan broke up with Tyler, he told Simone that he broke up with Jordan. Simone then turned her back publicly at prom on Tyler when she found out that Jordan was the one that broke up with Tyler. Apparently she wanted to be treated perfectly even when she broke promises and basically cheated with Tyler. Lucas welcomed her with open arms after she dumped Tyler at the prom. Simone is just as much a jerk as Tyler; she did anything to get what she wanted and expected to be treated like a princess. She never really repented. I hated her.

    Lucas is a cute little kid that in his turn was unkind to his best friend Corey, but he apologized. His apology comes after Simone had left him in the dirt for the second time which makes me question his sincerity, but at least he apologizes. There is a creepy smelling-the-breath moment between Corey and Lucas that was played for laughs, but I found it disgusting especially in light of Corey’s rather androgynous hair cut.

    Mei and Justin had been together since middle school, but Mei had a secret that she was keeping from Justin which made her emotional, and she took out her feelings on him. He thought she did not want to go to prom with him which really hurt him, so he told her that they were not attending prom. She eventually explained everything, and he was really sweet about it. She should have apologized for treating him so poorly even though he forgave her instantly. He was the perfect boyfriend.                                            
    Lloyd was a friend of Justin’s, but for most of the movie he seemed random. I find it impossible to believe that he could not find any girl in time for prom. I think almost any boy would find some girl that would say yes to him unless he was seriously repulsive. I suppose his part was for comic relief, but I really thought it was silly and annoying; the movie would probably be better without it.
    I think the movies steers away from strong stereotypes or at least gives us believable ones. Jesse appeared at first to be the bad boy. He did have a harder life than Nova, but I still think that he had some small issues that were not right. He is revealed to not actually fit the “bad boy” stereotype. I thought Nova’s father was quite cruel to him, and at least in the version I saw Jesse was not given the apology he deserved even after it appeared Nova’s father was somewhat aware of his crime after Nova told him that he ruined her day.

    Nova did not dress very modestly (although there was a humorous part where Jesse gave her a risqué prom dress to try on…and she did not even come out in it; she obviously had some limits), but she was a very sweet girl. I liked that she was the good student and not the popular diva girl. Her devotion to prom was ludicrous even though it may be somewhat realistic (my sister has said that girls at her school would tan starting in January to prepare for prom). I thought the movie was harsh on her first crush, Brandon; he was not a jerk-he was clueless, and he did not have to like her! When Nova was upset about Jesse, she took some of her turmoil out on Brandon-none of it was his fault!

    I loved the Nova and Jesse story. The movie ended happily for almost everyone. I really enjoyed it, and I believe I would watch it again.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Read It and Weep

    I just recently watched this Disney flick after seeing it float on my Netflix suggestion list and dismissing it for months. I ended up enjoying it; I should have realized by now that I frequently like things that I am uninterested in watching at first.

    There were a lot more stereotypes both in people and plot in this movie than in Lemonade Mouth. At least I thought so. If you have not figured out by now that my reviews/gushes are spoilers, I will go ahead and issue a warning: I am going to reveal much of the plot of this movie. I will attempt to make this review more of a real one.

    Okay, lets start with the characters.

    This is Jamie. She and her friends Harmony, Lindsay, and Connor are everyday, normal teens. They have their small interests and crushes and problems. They blend in with the crowd; they are, do, and say nothing that makes them stand out. Jamie keeps melodramatic and rather caustic journal story of her days. She wants to be a writer, but not at the cost of her privacy.

    Is is the imaginary Jamie. Is Saves the Word is the title of Jamie’s journal. This alter ego is supposed to be the good, successful girl who shows up the mean girls at school. The cool, smart, popular Is does and is everything Jamie wishes she could do and be. She is  perfectly poised at all times and has a response or retort for every unnerving occurrence in Jamie’s life. Is does everything right. “The populars” don’t have anything on Is; the mean girls can never triumph over her.

    Speaking of mean girls.

    Sawyer is the stereotypical snobby, nasty popular girl with the hot boyfriend (on whom Jamie has a crush). She regularly treats Jamie like a piece of trash, and everything seems to go her way. She is the head of the trio that Jamie dubs “the populars.”

    Connor is the secret author of works that sing Jamie’s praise (one being a poem that causes Jamie to have a crush on Marco). He has a huge crush on Jamie that none of his friends suspect until he gets upset about Jamie ditching the quartet’s prom plans to go with Marco. He is the only one who offers her any support when her unpopularity soars.

    Lenny is Jamie’s older brother who acts like Jamie is an embarrassing nuisance, but who really actually cares what she thinks of him. He dreams of being a musician but does not have enough self-confidence to play in public. Jamie’s friends acknowledge his talent before she gives him the time of day.

    Jamie accidentally causes her journal to be turned in to class, and it wins a prize. Her journal becomes a bestseller, and she is very embarrassed. Eventually, she starts slipping into popular girl mode. She starts spending time with Sawyer, ignores her friends, breaks promises, and is cruel to her brother about his music. She agrees to go to prom with Marco. Everything culminates when she lets it slip that her story is her journal and the characters in the journal are real people in her school. She pretty much has no friends and no popularity at this point; Marco thinks she’s Is and calls her that all the time. Connor tries to help her, but he finally cannot take it anymore.

    She realizes that Is is not a nice person and that she is letting the Is part of her take over. She tells her brother (through the door that he closed on her) that his music is good. She goes to prom with Marco fighting with herself the entire time. A teacher gives her the credit for decorating the event even although it was all the work of Lindsay and Harmony (she signed them up to decorate with her against their protests). After much internal struggling, she gives them their rightful credit and apologizes to everyone. She chases Connor down (Marco had revealed to her earlier that Connor wrote the poem) and kisses him. Her brother gets up in front of everyone and plays a song for her. Everything is happily ever after.

    It was a sweet movie like most Disney flicks are. I had a lot of issues with it though. There was a lot of things that were not addressed correctly or at all. Jamie’s selfishness is dealt with, but no one else has their fault shown to them and no one else apologizes. Hardly any conflicts occur where only one person is wrong, and the same applies to this story. I would consider Jamie’s friends Lindsay and Harmony fair weather friends; they did not point out the wrong direction she was going, and they gave her the cold shoulder when she made mistakes, and I am sorry, that is as wrong as what she did to them. And I have to saw Sawyer did far more wrong to Jamie than Jamie ever did to her.

    Jamie says in her apology that she should never have wrote all those nasty descriptions of her classmates; she said everyone is not as black and white as she described them as being. There certainly is plenty of grey areas in life, but that does not mean we should dismiss all the black and white areas. One black area in particular is Sawyer’s nastiness and selfishness. That issue is not dealt with at all, nor is the fact that Jamie’s friends stopped being real friends to her when she stopped being real friends to them. So its okay to do your friend the same wrong she did to you simply because she did it first? Yeah, I do not think so. I have yet to see a movie where more than one person apologizes; there is usually wrong on many sides, but only one person is emphasized as being in the wrong.

    This movie followed the typical underdog gets the girl pattern, but I liked it particularly since Connor was the only one who made any effort to stick by Jamie. I also liked the twist that the reason (or one of the reasons) why Jamie liked Marco was because of Connor’s poetry.

    Oh, and like many Disney flicks the characters have to be really blind for the plot to work. It is hard to believe absolutely no one figured out on their own that they were characters in the book; all the main characters would have even if she had not stated that it was her journal (which everyone might not have known anyway until she apologized). And Connor’s crush, at least Lindsay, Harmony, and Marco should have known about it. I would believe it if Jamie herself did not see it; she did not want to see it, and we can make ourselves blind to things we don’t want to see. To use that theory on the entire school would be a stretch though, especially since people already like imagining real people in the characters of fiction without any basis for doing so.

    The issues that I mentioned were some of the reasons that prompted me to write a serious review. Another reason is that I feel like I should actually put some thought and effort into some of my reviews. I don’t have a problem with gushy reviews, but I want to spend some time on really writing about things as well as gushing over them; there is plenty of time for both.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Lemonade Mouth

    I love sweet Disney movies. This one was about a band formed in detention by five struggling kids. Their school’s principle does not appreciate music and is fanatic about the school’s sports program, athletes, and sponsor for their gym and field. He banns their band after their first performance when they attempt to tell other teens to “speak out” and “be heard.” The kids eventually get to play regularly at a popular restaurant. After more strife and trouble they gain another band member, work out their personal troubles, and become a nation wide popular band. Oh, and they get a sponsor (the guy who made the lemonade machine in the basement that gave them their name) for an music hall for the school (and by getting the attention of their principle, it is implied the music program obtains more attention).

    Stella is the artsy, trouble maker. She is the new girl and school and resents her parents for that. She also is the cause all the kids get locked up for a few hours until their parents or guardians pick them up. She eventually forgives her parents.

    Mo is the gifted beauty queen from a traditional Indian family. She has a boyfriend secretly, and Charlie has a crush on her. Her father pushes her to do everything perfect, while she just wants to do the things normal teens do. Her father eventually accepts who she is which she says is part Indian and American teen.

    Charlie is the quiet drum loving boy who lives in his older brother’s shadow. His mother expects hims to be great at soccer like his older brother, but he doesn’t even like the sport. His older brother (who doesn’t do so great during his first semester in college) helps Charlie to tell their parents the truth. Charlie eventually has to relinquish his crush on Mo. He accepts that and moves on.

    Wen is the piano player in the band. He has a crush on his friend Olivia which he is too blind to see she reciprocates. He is struggling with the issue of his dad’s new and much younger girlfriend. He comes to terms with his new family. And he makes up with Olivia after they fight.

    Olivia is the quiet, nervous girl who has private tragedies in her life. Her mom is dead, and her dad is in prison (for unstated reasons), and she has not contacted him in a while. Eventually she forgives him, and she writes him a letter about the story of their band (she is narrating it throughout the movie).

    Scott is Mo’s popular boyfriend. He is in THE band of the school. He does not appreciate her band, and he flirts with one of the cheerleaders. After he hears Mo’s band, he likes it. He tries to get her back, but she says he has to accept her and her music. When the band is struggling, he steps into help, and he becomes an official member. He and Mo get back together.

    I enjoyed this movie;some things I did dislike, however. I would have liked to see more romance from Wen and Olivia. Stella’s attitude is never addressed.There is deception from several of the kids, and the kids get locked up, although not arrested, at one point for Stella’s silliness.

    I liked the music and the lighthearted feel of the whole movie. I also really appreciated the part Scott plays. He is not a total jerk; actually, I don’t consider him a jerk at all. He makes a mistake, sees it, and apologizes. He gets his girl back. I like that twist. In many movies he would have been made a jerk, he would have lost his girl, and the “underdog” (in this case Charlie) would have gotten the girl. I appreciate that this movie broke from the typical Disney tradition. It showed that the popular kids are not intrinsically jerks.