Peaches Prattlings

{December 31, 2020}   The Prom

Another triumph from Ryan Murphy on Netflix. The man has the golden touch if I have ever seen it.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched everything he’s done, but from what I’ve seen, he has a knack, an eye for what works and how to make a movie or tv series. The reason I haven’t see everything is that half the topics are too skooky for me, yes I said skooky! Shows like American Horror Story, Ratched, and Nip/Tuck, not my scene, a little too graphic and gory, although I did start watching Scream Queens, not sure if I’ll finish… I loved Glee and I’m loving Pose, which I’m still watching, turned on after watching Paris is Burning, it’s been quite a ride, and still the list that I am looking forward to watching is Feud. I started watching Hollywood, but I was turned off after two episodes. You can call me a prude, but to me, it was like watching a bad porno, everyone was doing everyone and I didn’t feel like there was a definite story line. I know there was, I read the plot and I was excited about the potential, but I was just depressed.

What did like about Hollywood, like most of his movies, tv shows, and the mini-series he creates or produces, are the colors, the vibrancy, the dialog, the possibilities. Along those lines, I have to tell you…I just watched The Prom, and I la la la loved it! The IMDB description says it perfectly to a T! “A troupe of hilariously self-obsessed theater stars swarm into a small conservative Indiana town in support of a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom.”

The cast is fabulous. There are two stories that converge into one. The movie opens with a PTA meeting, the president being played by Kerry Washington, at a school in Indiana, where the root of the story begins. A girl, Emma, who is an out lesbian, wants to take her girlfriend, not out, to the prom and the PTA doesn’t think that’s right, so…cancels the prom. Plot one.

Switch to Meryl Streep and James Cordon, two Broadway actors being interviewed right outside the theater of the show they are about to open, Elenore, which is a musical about Elenore Roosevelt. It’s a musical number, apologies, it’s a musical, a movie adaptation of the Broadway Musical The Prom, based on a true story.

Let me back up. Meryl Streep and James Cordon open on Broadway and during the cast party at Sardis the reviews come in and, let’s just say, the critics said nay. Devastated, drowning their sorrows with the bartender, in glides Nicole Kidman, who just quit the show, Chicago, where she’s been in the chorus for about 20 years and had enough. Streep and Cordon realize they need to do something to up their images, so they aren’t seen as the shallow, narcists that they are. Kidman reads something on her twitter feed about Emma and her plight and they realize they need to do something. Basically, not to help someone else for some altruistic reason, but for the good press they can get. You know it will turn around, right? Que music number.

Now we’re at high school, musical number about ‘just breath’ while trying to combat and ignore the bigots around her who blame her for the prom being canceled, while in her corner is the principle, played by Keegan-Michael Key, who happens to have a crush on Meryl Streep’s character, pretty much the only person, besides her grandmother. The plan was to introduce her girlfriend to the world at the prom, dance together and kiss in front of everyone, sounds simple enough. Sure.

When the Broadway stars get to the school, they make a giant entrance and quite an impression, not great for everyone, but they are enthusiastic. They soon find out that the prom is back on, the publicity put a few people on edge. Yeah, the prom is back on. Now what? That was only in the first 30 minutes, you think we’re done? Not a chance!

It’s prom proposal day, shopping with Emma’s new fairy godfather and now, we’re at the gym, she looks fabulous. But what is not fabulous, there is no one in the gym except the principal. It was a cruel joke on Emma and her new friends. Two girls she used to be friends with, until she came out, of course, found out who her girlfriend was and along with the parents, put on a ‘secret’ prom, basically the entire school, except Emma.

Standing in the gym, a song. Come on people, it’s a musical. Emma calls her girlfriend, who isn’t quite ready to stand up to her mother, who happens to be the president of the PTA. And the truth comes out why they came to this town, for publicity, not for Emma. The truth hurts.

Then there are some touching scenes where different characters have to admit things to themselves they don’t want to admit, what they’ve been covering up for years, through acting, what makes them most vulnerable. This includes Alyssa Greene, played by Ariana DeBose, Emma’s girlfriend, who just isn’t ready to come out and Emma takes a stand and says she can’t hide anymore and it’s over. During the sad moments, there is ice cream, friends, and then throw in a great ‘Fosse’ number with Nicole Kidman and Emma, played by Jo Ellen Pellman. Then there is apologizing and groveling for some characters, and some eye opening truths for others, reforming of some bigoted ideas.

Next, Emma decides she is going to do things her way and sings on a live stream on the inter-web and touches so many lives and hearts of people who are just like her. Her new friends band together to give her the prom if her dreams, in the high school gym and the people that show up to help? Her former friends, apologizing, her former girlfriend, apologizing, and the president of the PTA, protesting.

Now it’s time for prom, the lights, the sounds, the flowers, the decoration, it’s pure perfection. The participants? Kids from all across the state who saw Emma’s live stream, people just like her, just different, her girlfriend, and then…her girlfriend’s mom who realizes and tell her daughter that she is more important to her than anything and nothing she does or says will ever change the love she has for her child. Just what we wanted to hear.

What started off as a protest and an anthem, turned into a heartwarming story of courage, friendship, tolerance, acceptance, a belief in yourself, and above all else, love. Isn’t that what it always comes down to, love? The most powerful emotion of all and with it, we can get through almost anything. Oh, and a good dance number thrown in.

Ok, so you might be getting that I enjoyed the movie. I really did. I liked the music, the lyrics, the songs, the dance numbers and when you know it’s going to be a musical, you can handle the cheesy bits, which there were, but they fit in right where they were supposed to.

I laughed, I cried, I give it two thumbs up. And as the old theater joke goes, it was better than Cats.


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