Making the Grades
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION HAS JUST FINISHED, and still-virgin Lucy (Britney Spears), image conscious Kit (Zoe Saldana), and pregnant Mimi (Taryn Manning), along with ruddy and mysterious guitar playing Ben (Anson Mount) set off for LA in Ben's 30-year-old convertible. Ben and Mimi want to be music stars, Kit's got a guy in SoCal, and Lucy is planning to hop off in Arizona to meet her estranged mother--but it's not until the first day's drive is over that the foursome take a moment to realize that dreams, an old car, and a few bucks in their pockets won't get them very far.
A quick stop in a karaoke bar gives the girls a chance to sing for their supper. Amazingly, they do well enough to earn gas and food money, along with a couple of week's worth of nice accommodations. Yet even if they can afford hotel rooms with no surprises, the road ahead of them offers plenty of unexpected turns.
Unexpected that is, for anyone who hasn't been down this cinematic trail before. Yup... this is the classic-road-trip, coming-of-age, off-to-Hollywood formula all rolled into one package, but unfortunately the writing isn't as tight as the wardrobe.
In an effort to make an "honest" teen movie, the writer has burdened her characters with heavy histories including a runaway parent, a drunken rape, and a mother who obsessed over her daughter's obesity. Yet this attempted honesty fades faster than a top 40 hit when the script also dishes out the typical teen media mantra that being a virgin at the close of high school is akin to having a handicap. Trying to remedy this disability affords the film two of three reasons to show Spears in her underwear. Another questionable element of teenage truth includes underage drinking (although the expectant Mimi declines booze).
Crossroads shines in moments when the girls work out the festering differences between themselves, rediscover their friendships, and gain enlightenment from past mistakes. But the movie's onscreen examples and overly optimistic ending clash with the harsh realities this story wants us to believe.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Crossroads.
This movie poses many questions about reality vs. the Hollywood fantasy of coming-of-age adventure. You may want to ask some “critical thinking” questions like:
- How much money could a girl with little vocal experience expect to make for singing one karaoke song?
- How much would it cost to drive across the US and stay in reasonably nice hotel rooms, including one located on a California beach?
- Considering the rumors about Ben’s past, what should the girls have done first to determine if he was safe to share a ride with?
- If the character of Lucy was really as sexually innocent as she claimed to be, is it reasonable to assume she would have been able to provide such a “moving performance” in the karaoke bar?
- Lucy says she doesn’t want to enter into a sexual relationship until she knows she loves someone. Examining the time frame of this movie, how long did she know Ben? Is that a reasonable length of time to ensure a solid commitment?
- Do you believe losing your virginity is a prerequisite to college admission?