Sunday, October 26, 2008

High School Memories 3. The Musical.

Let's hear it for heart throbs, teenage angst, and the agony of decision making.

Yes, it's time once again for a High School Musical. This time it's on the big screen with big production values and a familiar cast that has made this pre-teen dream-fest a Hollywood franchise. And it's good. If you like pretty teens, adolescent anguish, song-and-dance, and nothing even remotely "R" rated.

The kids from High School Musical are now seniors on the slow slide toward graduation and all facing questions about what comes next. Whether to go "artsy" and disappoint the parents or go "jock" and disappoint yourself. Whether to go to Stanford and say goodbye to the boyfriend, or to stay close to home and trade career hopes for a lifelong love. Whether or not to throw your brother under the bus in an attempt to get a great scholarship. How to cope when you're not yet ready to answer such questions and would really like to have it all simple and fun again, like when you were ten years old.

Yes, some of it was hokey. Some was brilliant. Some was a stretch. Some was just too sweet to be believable. Duets in the boyhood treehouse? A noteworthy lack of open mouths during kissing? Everybody sings and dances at the drop of a hat?

Somewhere in the midst of it all was a kernal of truth that pulled me in.

Do you remember that last year of high school? Do you remember all the questioning, the hopes, the expectations, the fears? Will I get accepted to a college or into a group of friends? Will I ever find somebody to love? How will it feel to be a little fish in a big college pond? Will I see any of my classmates after graduation day? What if I can't make it "out there"? Will my parents be disappointed? All of those things resonated with me on some level. It was a little nostalgia wrapped up with a lot of energy in a very pretty package.

The one topic that was notably (glaringly) missing from the angst is FINANCES. Every kid in the cast is so stellar, that of couse they'll get a scholarship. Failing that, the parents are afluent enough to somehow manage to pay. These days, kids worry a lot about financing their educations. I think they always have. But the kids of HSM3 don't mention it. Just another bit of Hollywood wish-fulfillment. Or ignorance.

So, if you like musicals, kids, and a glossy glimpse of idealized adolescence, I recommend it. The cast is likeable and talented and will probably show up in other movies to come-- especially that hunky Zac Efron. I'll refrain from being more specific, since he plays a high school kid-- but he is 21, you know. And shows real "IT" potential.

Just one caveat: After seeing this movie, you may have the urge to go home and hug a son or daughter or a niece or nephew or a grandkid or two, and give thanks for just how real and normal they are. And you may want to talk to them about their very real fears and joys and hopes and dreams. You-- WE-- just may learn a few things.

Anybody else seen HSM3? Care to comment?


Lori said...

Haven't seen it yet, but the youngest is dying to go. I imagine that is next weekend's activity.

Liza said...

I saw it Friday night. I helped out a friend of mine with her 8 year old's birthday party. I thought the movie was pretty good. I still think the first movie was the best, but I did like both HSM2 and HSM3. All the kids thought it was the best movie ever!