As indicated a few hours ago, I started out hating The Prom but then I gradually warmed up to it, bit by bit. I ended up feeling simultaneously touched and exhausted. A couple of friends read and commented as I tapped out my reactions as the film went along, all 131 minutes worth. This is a spotty representation of the actual thread. Just remember that my eyes were watering at the end.
HE: Great excerpts from imagined N.Y. Times pan of Eleanor!, a B’way show about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, which stars Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep) and Barry Glickman (James Corden) as a fat FDR. Excerpt #1: “Watching Allen’s Eleanor Roosevelt croaking out a heavy-handed message of social activism is like paying an aging draw Queen to shove a syrup-soaked American flag down my throat.” Excerpt #2: “If you’re considering buying a ticket to this show, do yourself a favor. Buy a few feet of good, heavy rope instead and then go hang yourself.”
HE: I hate these sleek, arrogant, narcissistic Broadway buffoons (Streep, Corden, Andrew Rannells, Nicole Kidman). I want them flown to the Sonoran desert, stripped naked, tied to wooden stakes and slowly eaten to death by lizards and red ants.”
Friendo #1: Guy Lodge didn’t like it? That’s a shocker. He’s usually contrarian driven. It felt like propaganda to me. Shockingly so. But I was moved by the younger lesbians’ storyline and a little bit with regard to coming out to your parents. I just wish it wasn’t propaganda for the left. It’s so embarrassing. It’s like the 50s all over again with strident rules.
And it’s about ten years outdated. This isn’t the world we live in anymore. A better story would be if a pair of young Trump supporters wanted to attend a prom but were being told by their lefty friends they’re not wanted. That would be a reason a school would cancel a prom. But not this. Based on a true story but ten years too late.
Publicist to Allen, Glickman/strong>: “It’s not the show. It’s you two. You’re just not likable. Nobody likes a narcissist.”
HE: Oh, God…here comes Nicole Kidman in a hot sequined dress!
Glickman: “Were gonna help that little lesbian whether she likes it or not.” JESUS!!!!
Friendo #2: I dunno. It’s an old-fashioned musical. Of course we’re supposed to like the characters (even though — yes — they’re narcissists). Of course they get happy endings. I think a musical like Moulin Rouge! is the be-all and end-all (it’s one of my favorite films), but not every musical has to be Moulin Rouge! I’m also a fan of the High School Musical films, and I often liked Glee. That’s what this movie is. I think, for what it is, it’s 100 times better than the Mamma Mia! films.
HE: I’m choking on the effervescent fizz. This is a shrieking woke horror film. “We’re gonna teach them to be more p.c.!” Yeah, you’ve been doing that, assholes, for the last three or four years, and as a result there was no blue wave in the 11.3 election. Because people hate p.c. scolds.
Friendo #2: Kerry Washington is a stylized villain, like Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s not a documentary. It’s a Ryan Murphy musical.I don’t mean to come off like a wokester, but there’s more than enough homophobia to go around in the African-American community. A lot of Middle American black people are very traditional, very church-bound. Please! If you don’t like The Prom, no problem, but you’re holding it to the standards of a documentary. I’d like to see your reality-test review of Singin’ in the Rain.
HE: Singin’ in the Rain is a legendary MGM musical, but it gives me a headache. It never touches bottom. When it comes to musicals, give me Some Like It Hot, Cabaret, A Hard Day’s Night, I’ll Do Anything, Dancer in the Dark. I’d love to see a song like “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” sung by Indiana bigots. Tomorrow belongs to us…!
Friendo #2: Singin’ in the Rain, to me, is the greatest Hollywood musical ever made. I don’t get the argument that says that a movie like that one is too corny, wholesome, “never touches bottom” — all the things that it is. That’s what those movies were. (And, I would argue, what High School Musical and The Prom are.) It’s not a movie I’m going to compare to Mean Streets. Those films take place in a stylized universe where absolute goodness triumphs.
HE: Jean Hagen’s screechy voice sinks that 1952 film. And I despise young Donald O’Connor. All my life I’ve been INSTRUCTED to regard Singin’ In The Rain as the greatest movie musical of all time. Only now have I managed to summon the intestinal fortitude to push back against this received wisdom.