Making the Grades
P-R-O-M may be the only four letters to cause as much high school anxiety as E-X-A-M. For some this magical evening culminates their school experience. For others it is just plain painful. Will he ask me out or not? Will she say yes or won’t she?
As senior class president and head of the prom committee, Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) feels an added pressure to make the event extraordinary. And everything seems to be on track for an enchanted evening until the shed housing the prom decorations burns to the ground. With her fellow committee members now tied up with other obligations, Nova is left to pull things together on her own. Fortunately, or not, Principal Dunnan (Jere Burns) comes to her rescue when he coerces Jesse Ritcher (Thomas McDonell) into helping her.
Jesse is just biding his time until graduation and the last thing on his mind is prom. Living in the shadow of his absentee father, the troubled teen is saddled with a lot of baggage that isnt of his own making. But while he grudgingly puts in his hours with Nova, he begins to appreciate her dedication, even after she gets dumped by her own prom date.
Meanwhile, the other students of Brookside High experience various degrees of euphoria and misery leading up to the dance. Nice but socially insecure, Lloyd Taylor (Nicholas Braun) unsuccessfully works his way through a string of prom proposals while the school’s most popular pair, Tyler Barso and Jordan Lundley (DeVaughn Nixon, Kylie Bunbury) are on the verge of a break-up. Dating since middle school, a longtime couple, Justin Wexler and Mei Kwan (Jared Kusnitz, Yin Chang), faces a crisis as well. And when love blossoms between sophomores Simone Daniels and Lucas Arnaz (Danielle Campbell, Nolan Sotillo), their relationships puts a strain on Lucas’s friendship with his buddy Corey (Cameron Monaghan).
Just as High School Musical - Senior Year gave that graduating class at East High a chance to perform one last melodic extravaganza, Prom brings the students of Brookside High together for a final celebration (minus all the song and dance routines).
Yes, the script is full of stereotypical students including jocks, academic achievers, and a geek (Joe Adler) who claims to have a gorgeous Greek girlfriend in Canada. Yes, there is a forbidden romance between a "good girl" and a "bad boy". (One character also gets into a brief fistfight and finds himself in trouble with the police after he breaks into a school.) Yes, we’re confident things will work out. After all, a happily ever after ending is what we’ve come to expect from Disney. Yet, for one evening at least, many of the social barriers that have kept students confined to their carefully defined cliques are removed. They begin to see each other in a new light and that’s a refreshing revelation for both the students and the audience.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Prom.
How does Jesse’s father’s reputation affect the way others in the community view this young man? What does Jesse do to maintain their appraisal of him as a bad boy? Do people often live up (or down) to the expectations of others? What responsibility do teachers, parents and other adults have in helping young people rise above their present circumstances?
How do you feel about social rituals such as prom? Are they an important part of the high school experience or are they events that cause unnecessary drama or angst for students?
While this movie portrays stereotypical high school students, what twists does the plot include?