Do you remember your high school days? The never ending class, the teacher you loved, the teacher you hated, the cliques, and the memories. As I prepare for my 20th reunion I look back and remember the one day all of us really looked forward to outside of graduation, prom night. Ahhh…senior year on a lovely night in San Francisco, dressed in a black tux with a silver/blue bowtie and cummerbund to match my date. Jen Rodriguez wore a form fitting silver dress that flared just above the knee; her hair pulled back and wrapped up in a bun and with a wisp of hair hanging from the side. She looked amazing and it was just as we both expected, an amazing evening of dinner and dancing, all that a Prom should be, memorable.
Now not everyone has a memory like mine. That’s another story. This is Walt Disney Pictures presentation of high school and what is a culmination of social angst and to night to be memorable for seniors, “Prom”. Sit back and relax as Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love) directs a wonderful cast of characters who make up your stereotypical high school.
Nova is the class president, top student, all around likeable girl who wants to make prom the best night of the year for her fellow seniors. With the help of Brandon, whom she adores, yet doesn’t see how much she likes him, Mei, who has been dating Justin forever and everyone knows is going to stay that way, Ali, who needs to know everything and Rolo, the Rolo candy eating space cadet student have just finished the decorations for the big night. Unfortunately they are destroyed by accident and everything needs to be redone. But no one has the time now. Only Nova is left to pick up the pieces and carry on the torch. After pleading to the principle she is paired with the school “hoodlum”, Jesse, but don’t let looks fool you. Let’s not forget this is high school so you have the all star, Tyler who is together with girlfriend Jordan whose relationship is not as solid as everyone thinks. In school you have to have the quiet and shy guy, Lloyd, who is just trying to enjoy his last couple days as a senior. And to round out the mix we have the underclassmen of Lucas, a somewhat shy guy, who is trying to impress Simone, the attractive fellow sophomore that has a secret with an older classmate. All plays out in the final few days before that magical night. Dreams will come true, hearts will be broken, friendships will be ignited and love will blossom in a matter of days.
First time big screen writer Katie Wech (Stephen King’s Dead Zone) has stepped up to the plate with a great telling of what many of us have gone through. ‘Prom’ delivers on a story anyone can relate too. With Nussbaum’s direction you can just sit back, relax, laugh, cry, and become anxious all over again. In a way channeling the feel of films I grew up with back in the 80’s and 90’s but for today’s audience. (Yes. I just called myself out again.)
What really stood out for me is the actors represented what high school is like, not only in character but in the look. The actors are a mix of looks that is not all ‘beauty’ as many films portray. Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights, Call of the Wild) plays Nova very natural and sincere. Thomas McDonell (Twelve, The Forbidden Kingdom) is the ‘bad boy’ Jesse and is strong in his delivery and yet still shows a soft side. Add along with their fine performances DeVaughn Nixon (MacKenzie Falls) as Tyler, Danielle Cambell (Starstuck, The Poker House) as Simone, Yin Chang (Gossip Girl) as Mei and relative new comer Nolan Sotillo to name a few, you have the beginning to a very well put together ensemble film that has many of them shining brightly throughout.
Now those who have been around for some time and seen those films of the 80’s and 90’s will see some touches and nods to their simplicity and yet still have a good story presented. The music is mixed with remixes of some of those classics from the 80’s and weaved in are newer standards to bridge the gap for all audiences. If you want a fun movie you can sit back and enjoy see ‘Prom’ and reminisce.
That is what we do when we see this kind of film, look back and think “Wow I did that.” I was an all around student, participating in music, drama, sports and anything else that crossed my path. I talked to everyone. I never really stayed in a clique. I experienced everything in my high school life that I could. I would never want to change that. Something that I hear many people say they would, change a bit of what the experienced. I’ve heard that now it’s even tougher in school as you have bullying and society groups all taking sides like one is better than the other. It goes to show that with everything going around us we need to stop and look at the big picture and understand everyone is different and we should never try to make them conform to one way or another. Respect everyone for who they are and that they can have an opinion different from ours. Have the courage to speak out when we see something being done that can harm others. Be diverse as a culture not a society. Be one with all and care for each other no matter what difficulty it may bring as in the end all will be good. This is just a little wisdom from someone who cares.
Follow my entertainment adventures throughout Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.