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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Five Best: Movie Proms

courtesy of

This Friday, Disney releases the dreadful-looking Prom, essentially filling every stereotype necessary to be a forgettable high school movie. But, it got me thinking about the great movie scenes that take place at school dances. Not all these are proms (I don't think), but they are still all at organized dances. Remember - this is a list of the scenes at the dances, not necessarily the entire film as a whole. So, here they are, in chronological order.

Sissy Spacek in "Carrie" courtesy of

Carrie (1976)

Brian De Palma borrowed from Hitchcock and everyone else to create one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel to be put on screen. Sissy Spacek goes to her prom and wins prom queen (as a joke). Unfortunately, her classmates decide to soak her in pig's blood, unleashing the demon inside her. Great performances all around - campy, but scary altogether.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in "Grease" courtesy of

Grease (1978)

The TV show National Bandstand decides to come to Rydell High to have a dance competition, Vince Fontaine and all. In one of the better payoffs of the film (of which there are a lot), John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (and, eventually, Annette Charles) show their moves on the floor, leading Newton-John to make some "changes." Good times all around in a fun, crazy musical. I still think she was better looking before her metamorphosis.

Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in "Footloose" courtesy of

Footloose (1984)

The soundtrack may be the bigger star, but here's a fun story about teenage rebellion and it's payoff at a dance in a "dance free" town. Kevin Bacon stars as a Chicago teenager moving out west to a town where a Bible-thumping minister (John Lithgow) rules with an iron fist. Sure enough, the minister's daughter falls for him and they conspire to lift the ban on dancing. Let's be honest - it's a ridiculous premise. But it seems real, thanks to the performances.

Jon Cryer and Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink" courtesy of

Pretty in Pink (1986)

One in the string of John Hughes high comedies, Molly Ringwald stars as Andie, a poor outcast in school. It's a classic little love triangle with Ducky (Jon Cryer) - the best friend in love with Andie - and Blane (Andrew McCarthy) - the popular jock with a heart of gold. Thankfully, it has a lot of heart to it. Sure enough, Ducky goes to prom with Andie, only to pass the baton to the heartsick Blane. It's one of the best in Hughes' collection...thanks to prom, of course.

Jilia Stiles and Heath Ledger in "10 Things I Hate About You" courtesy of

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Maybe it's one of my guilty pleasures, but it's a lot of fun and well cast. Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger lead the way in an update of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew that caps off at a prom. We get the cocky villain (Andrew Keegan) getting immasculated, a big fallout between Stiles and Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting the girl (Laria Oleynik). What more could you want?? It's PROM!!

So, all you kids out there - enjoy prom. Be safe, be good, and enjoy your high school life.  It's over way too fast.

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