Saturday, April 30, 2011


MPAA (PG) CNS/USCCB (A-1) Michael Phillips (2 1/2 Stars) Fr. Dennis (2 stars)

IMDB listing -
CNS/USCCB review -

Michael Phillips' review -,0,3805785.column

I was somewhat guilted/talked into going to see Prom (directed by Joe Nussbaum and written by Katie Wech) by one of my parish’s teenagers.  To be honest, I figured that the Prom Night horror movies and Carrie had about as much to say about Prom that I’d be willing to give the subject.  However, movies like the High School Musical franchise and the television series Glee have revisited high school in recent years and spun it in probably the most positive light since Happy Days of my teenage viewing days.  So I figured I’d give it a shot.

And I have to say that it did have its moments.  In particularly I could not but feel for student council president Nova Prescott (played by Aimee Teegarden) trying her heart out to make her hitgh school’s prom the “best prom ever.”   I’ve known people like this and for the sake of a good soul trying to make something work, most of us probably could be convinced to take a grenade or something.  The rest of the cast is the typical collection of characters assembled for high school movies.  There was at least one more or less obvious homage to The Breakfast Club.  But all this was more or less obviously stitched together by Disney in the service of repackaging and remarketing Prom.

And therein to me lies the problem: No matter how Disney, Inc spins it, Prom remains largely a crass commercial enterprise with questionable and even objectionable social value.  Prom has always been something of a social report card.  In generations past it was even a final exam of sorts. But on what criteria?  One’s looks, one’s date’s looks, one’s money, one’s date’s money, at times even the two’s sexual performance.   No wonder therefore that Prom became the subject of teenage horror movies...

At least in generations past, a fair percentage of prom couples did eventually get married and _not just_ because a fair number of the women got knocked-up as a result of the whole thing, but because the couple had been dating throughout a good part of high school, and after high school the guy got a decent job at the shop, factory or farm and the couple could set-up house.  Today, _that’s generally impossible_ and most prom couples end up splitting up, heading in different directions to different schools after high school graduation. 

All this has thankfully contributed to Prom becoming Prom-Lite over the last 20 years.  Parents have stepped it to make it less of a free for all.  It’s now socially acceptable (again?) to go to Prom in groups rather than rigorously paired up, saving both parents and kids money and frankly diminishing the previous annual “off to college”run on abortions at Planned Parenthood in August-September that the “May Prom Season” used to spawn. 

But then, if Prom is thankfully becoming Prom-lite is that “good for business?”  Well, that may best answer Disney’s interest in producing this film, Prom – to repackage and resell Prom's “mystique” to the High School Musical generation.   Folks, an end of high school dance is certainly nice.  But folks, please, please don’t let Disney or anyone else make this single high point in your life be your last.

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