It’s that time of year when the weather starts to get warmer and the calendar looms ever closer to summer. Springtime signifies something else as well: prom season.
Let’s face it. While prom can be exciting, it can also be stressful. What better way to get through prom than to read about someone else’s success or lack thereof. Check out the list below for some truly fun reads about prom.
This book has many great qualities. First, it was written by the very talented Elizabeth Eulberg. Second, it is a fantastical, unique retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Even if you don’t give a fig about prom this book is a great read!
A prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’ friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk – so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
This book has a very John Hughes-esque feel to it. I loved Justina as a narrator. The story begins at the end and she retells the story using her hideous prom dress as a road map. Told with wit and a healthy dose of sarcasm, this story is a fast, enjoyable read.
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together – stain by stain on her thrift-store dress – exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag’s moving car…
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.
Filled with humor, charm, and romance, Ditched: A Love Story by debut novelist Robin Mellom will have readers dreaming of love on their own prom nights.
For those of you looking for a little more fantasy with your prom, this is a great collection of short stories from some authors you may have heard of, and when they say “prom nights from hell,” they really do mean hell!
In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Kim Harrison (A Fistful of Charms), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (ttyl) take bad prom nights to a whole new level – a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don’t hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper – and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look.
From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.
What do you do when your date stands you up for prom? Cry or scream while those things might make you feel better, but revenge is way sweeter. Three girls who become unlikely friends set out to make their prom experience better.
Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.
They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy – some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night.
Cindy is tired of her school obsessing over the prom; there are better things to worry about in the world. Cindy decides to write a letter to the school paper telling everyone just that which doesn’t endear her to her peers. Cindy Ella is the anti-fairytale version of Cinderella with a smart heroine who doesn’t want to go to the ball, erm, prom.
Prom fever has infected L.A. — especially Cindy’s two annoying stepsisters, and her overly Botoxed stepmother. Cindy seems to be the only one immune to it all. But her anti-prom letter in the school newspaper does more to turn Cindy into Queen of the Freaks than close the gap between the popular kids and the rest of the students. Everyone thinks she’s committed social suicide, except for her two best friends, the yoga goddess India and John Hughes–worshipping Malcolm, and shockingly, the most popular senior at Castle Heights High and Cindy’s crush, Adam Silver. Suddenly Cindy starts to think that maybe her social life could have a happily ever after. But there’s still the rest of the school to deal with. With a little bit of help from an unexpected source and a fabulous pair of heels, Cindy realizes that she still has a chance at a happily ever after.
Forget Captain America: Civil War. The 1990s straight-to-video version is where it’s at.
A week ago, I had the pleasure of watching Captain America: Civil War, the third movie in Marvel’s esteemed Captain America trilogy.
There is no denying that the Russo brothers have created a masterpiece. While I personally didn’t think it lived up to the expectations set by the phenomenal The Winter Soldier, the third installment of Cap’s story has everything you could ask for in a comic book movie: Beautiful people and special effects, great acting, incredible fight sequences, humor, conflict, and heart.
But enough about Civil War. We’re here to talk about another Captain America movie — a movie I wasn’t aware existed until earlier this week, when the Screen Junkies brought it to the attention of the world.
Captain America was not a property that I, a little Danish girl whose closest thing to fandom growing up was Duck Tales, was ever exposed to. I certainly don’t remember seeing this American-Yugoslavian straight-to-VHS production at my local Blockbusters, if it even came out in Europe at all.
Honestly, this whole ‘Captain America’ thing would probably never have appealed to me if not for Avengers, in which I thought he was kind of funny (but not as funny as Thor), and later Captain America: The First Avenger, which genuinely moved me, and for a long time was the only comic book movie I had more than a passing interest in (Peggy Carter may have had something to do with that, too).
So color me surprised when, on a dare, I decided to give the 1990s version of Cap’s saga with a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes a whirl, and actually… maybe… possibly… liked it?
But wait, isn’t this the worst movie of all time?
Let’s get this straight: Cap ’90 sucks. It’s awful. It’s exactly what you’d expect a superhero movie made in the 90s with b-list actors would look like.
When The First Avenger came out, ’90s-Cap Matt Salinger (yup, that Salinger) did an interview with GQ in which he admitted that the new Marvel movie, “looks like what we had hoped ours would look like.” Heartbreakingly, Salinger went on to confess that he had asked Marvel for a cameo in the movie, which they didn’t grant him. (I feel like he’s my Steve now, so this hit me really hard. Love you Matt.)
But to be honest with you, I don’t really care that it’s objectively terrible. I sat down to watch this movie in an effort to educate myself on Captain America’s history (and to gain new appreciation for the MCU), and, maybe because I was expecting everything about it to be awful, I was honestly surprised by how much this movie got right.
All the moral ambiguity you want in a ‘Cap’ movie
After Age of Ultron, there was a lot of talk about Chris Evans’ Steve being too clean, too nice, too noble. ‘Real’ Steve Rogers fans recognized that the comics character has a dark side, that he can be selfish, that he’s human.
And, for all his buffoonery, Salinger’s Captain America actually, albeit possibly by accident, embodies a lot of the traits we look for in a flawed Steve. Twice he fakes carsickness (!), does a silly run (!), and steals an innocent person’s car (!), leaving them stranded on a deserted road because of some stubborn conviction that he doesn’t need their help (seriously, it’s so dumb and also hilarious).
He’s allegedly a patriotic soldier whose father died in the war, and who leaves his family to become America’s first supersoldier. In the movie’s first 20 minutes, he heads straight into battle with Red Skull and falls into a pile of snow before anyone even realizes he exists, then wakes up 50 years later and heads straight back into the same battle.
During their final confrontation, Red Skull tells him, “No one cares about you,” and Steve’s reply is, “I care.” The world isn’t aware of Captain America in this version of the story, and the values he’s supposedly upholding are irrelevant to everyone around him.
The movie may tell us otherwise, but in actuality, Captain America is just a guy with a grudge, a would-be hero who’d never make it round the block if everyone around him didn’t jump in to help him out. (This probably wasn’t the character flaws fans had hoped for, but it is a nice change to see a supposed superhero actually having to rely so heavily on his non-superhero allies.)
Meanwhile, the movie’s villain, Red Skull, is the one with the tragic past. This was back before Hollywood knew how to make interesting good guys, and so they poured all their characterization into the villain: The movie opens with him as an innocent child in the 1930s watching his entire family get murdered, and then he’s tortured and transformed into a monster.
Red Skull sees Steve as his ‘brother,’ and when we catch up with him in the 1990s, he’s gotten a plastic surgery overhaul, and is working with his daughter Valentina, who for all intents and purposes is his second-in-command. During WW2, Red Skull was working with the Nazis to bomb the White House (don’t worry, Steve rode that rocket all the way from Italy to Washington, and onward to Alaska!), but when that failed, he apparently decided to settle down in Rome and become a low-key Mafioso.
In 1993 (don’t ask why this movie takes place three years after it was made, that’s just part of its magic) he has this big plan to kidnap the President and implant him with some kind of control chip, and when that also fails, he decides to just blow up everyone.
He stands by a piano — which is significant because he was playing the piano right before the Nazis made him watch as they killed his family — and tells Cap, “We are both tragedies. And now I send our two tired souls to rest.”
And Steve? He strikes a pose and declares, “Not if I have anything to say about it!” before using his shield to knock Red Skull off a cliff and possibly-very-likely slice the head off Valentina in the process. Subtle, this Steve is not.
But, intentionally or not, this actually leaves us with genuine Sympathy for the Devil, a depth which The First Avenger arguably didn’t allow for (Red Skull was pure, sadistic evil in that version).
It’s kind of feminist (no, really)
I mean look, it’s the 90s and lead girl Sharon not-Carter totally gets locked in a cell, Ultron-style. But pretty astoundingly, none of the ladies in the movie — of which there are quite a few — are ever actually damsels.
The Erskine character played in the Marvel movies by Stanley Tucci is actually a woman in the movie, named Doctor Maria Vaselli. She starts out as a Nazi scientist working on the Red Skull serum, but when she sees what they do to the kid she rebels and, when they try to shoot her, escapes.
She begins working with the American government to improve the serum, and by the time Steve is all ready for his dose, she’s still around. She’s killed, of course, like Erskine is, but having a woman in such a position of authority in the 1930s, so matter-of-factly, just reminds me that the ’90s were a lot more chill about what we’d consider ‘progressive’ in 2016.
Then there’s PeggyBucky Bernie, Steve’s one true love who promises to wait for him “forever, and ever, and ever and ever.” You think she’s just a doe-eyed love interest until we catch back up with her 50 years later. Turns out PeggyBucky Bernie did wait for Steve, but not forever.
When Steve finds her, she tells him she waited till she was 38, then basically said ‘f*** it’ and got married and had some kids, because she wasn’t actually gonna let her life pass her by. When she confesses that she feels old and ugly compared to him, he tells her she’s beautiful, which is also kind of neat, in this age of women being told they’re ‘too old’ to exist at age 26.
Later she dies, killed by Red Skull’s daughter, and we learn that even when her life was on the line, she never gave up any information about Steve — a hero, in her own, quiet way.
And then there’s Bernie’s daughter Sharon. If you thought Civil War made it weird with Sharon being Peggy’s niece, oh boy — not only could this Sharon have been Steve’s daughter in another life, but the two women are also played by the same actress!
But Sharon, for all that she’s not the awesome, badass Agent 13-version of Sharon we meet in the MCU, is actually a pretty refreshing lead female character. For one, she’d never explicitly made Cap’s love interest, and she’s also got a very specific non-romance-related reason for tagging along with him.
“We get our orders from the Red Skull’s daughter”
When Bernie dies, Steve mourns for about 0.1 seconds, but Sharon is obviously devastated. She follows Steve to Rome in order to confront Red Skull, and learns that Valentina is the one who killed her mother. Sharon finds herself up against Red Skull’s daughter several times (and the two even have a few conversations that earns Cap ’90 a pass on the Bechdel Test), before she ultimately punches her in the face. Cap might be the one to kill Valentina, but Sharon definitely got her moment.
At one point, Sharon also pulls Steve’s own silly car stealing trick on him, basically sacrificing herself by letting Red Skull’s henchmen catch her so Steve can get away (if you’ve seen Civil War, this might ring a bell).
Okay but it’s still awful, right?
Oh don’t worry, it’s terrible.
For one, the movie does absolutely nothing to explain what the serum actually did to Steve, other than cure his limp. He’s stronger and can throw a frisbee with deadly accuracy, and that’s about it… but in fairness, I guess that’s kind of true for Evans’ Cap, too. The lack of a physical change — he’s a dopey dude and post-serum he’s still a dopey dude — really diminishes the effect of him, however, especially considering the dorky costume they make him wear.
Also, Cap freezes in the ice within the first 30 minutes, and beyond being mildly wary of tape recorders seems completely unperturbed by the world of 1993. There’s no Black Widow, or Bucky, or Howard Stark, or any of the other people the MCU have taught me to assume would of course be present in a Captain America movie.
“Pictures don’t lie and neither do best friends”
There is however a President Kimball, a super sympathetic Al Gore-type environmentalist, who ends up helping out with the whole saving-the-day thing (this is a movie about Captain ‘Murica after all).
Tom Kimball actually saw the rocket-surfing Steve back in the ’40s, and the transition from the ’40s to the ’90s is done through newspaper clippings showing how Tom went from a boy who dreamed of being the president, to the actual president (that part was actually really cool, even if they made a really obvious spelling error — see below).
He also keeps up with his childhood best friend Sam, and their friendship through the film actually feels genuine, amidst all the terrible stunt coordination and one-liners.
Sam, who helpfully drops a Human Torch reference (Chris Evans, it was meant to be), continues to believe in Tom’s Captain America, even after Cap leaves him stranded on a highway. And when Sam is killed, still in an effort to protect Cap — who gives no f***s — he leaves Tom some kind of decoder locket thing he’s had since they were kids. #ImagineYourOTP
Captain America suffers from spectacularly bad production value, and some misguided (and half-assed, to its benefit) attempt to make Captain America a stoic, square-jawed Superman rip-off. The punch sound effects are taken straight out of a cartoon, some of the backdrops are laughable, and Steve’s actual character arc is non-existent: He’s a good soldier who wants to be a good soldier and continues to be a good soldier — his only real personality trait is that he likes to pretend he’s gonna barf and then steal people’s cars.
But around the epic fail of the hero himself, there’s actually a semblance of an interesting story. There’s a tragic villain ripped from his family and forced to become a monster, raising his daughter to be a leader in her own right. There’s a strong-willed girl who loses a parent and follows the one man who may bring her justice, and there’s a president whose faith in this mythical Captain America may be an expression of his faith in a better world — a faith which, if the desperation and ill-contained frustration of our contemporary Captain America is anything to go by, we’re collectively beginning to lose.
Am I giving this movie too much credit? Absolutely. It’s cheesy, badly made, and not very much fun. But it’s also dark — a child is tortured, a family is gunned down, and Red Skull’s daughter has to listen to a recording of her grandparents being killed — and, of course, there are cool chicks doing motorcycle stunts. At the end of the day, there’s a lot to enjoy about the 1990s version of Captain America.
As someone whose knowledge of Cap pretty much begins and ends with Chris Evans’ MCU version, I was actually pleasantly surprised by this supposedly-and-actually-awful, but still surprisingly solid, Captain America movie.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has heard your concerns about the movie’s whitewashing.
Sometimes “complaining on the Internet” actually works — because sometimes you have intelligent arguments, that can’t be ignored.
This seems to be the case for fans voicing concerns about Doctor Strange, Marvel’s upcoming supernatural superhero film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular doctor, and Tilda Swinton as the gender- and race-bent Ancient One.
When the trailer came out, it was followed by an immediate outcry of concerns over the movie’s seeming appropriation and erasure of Asian culture.
While everyone agrees that Tilda Swinton will do a fantastic job as the Ancient One, deciding to make the character of Celtic origin — while still placing her in Asia (decidedly not Tibet) — doesn’t sit well with fans and professionals in Hollywood who are tired of the lack of Asian representation on screen.
“By removing The Ancient One’s Tibetan origins, yet keeping the setting decidedly Asian, they have been erased from the narrative entirely, and the movie has shifted into more explicit Orientalist overtones. It makes it incredibly difficult to celebrate a female Ancient One at the expense of other, much needed representation — and there are certainly enough Asian and Asian American actors that both could have happened. It also sets a dangerous precedent that there are only two options for Asians in Hollywood: stereotype or invisible.”
The situation was only made worse when Marvel released a statement about the issue, claiming to have a “very strong record of diversity in its casting,” and that making the Ancient One’s origin Celtic is an example of how Marvel “regularly departs from stereotypes.”
Asian industry professionals Hollywood have been particularly outspoken about the issues with this, and now, Scott Derrickson has revealed via Twitter that he’s paying attention:
Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cInema.
While the movie is done and dusted, it’s always wonderful to see directors acknowledge the backlash to their perpetuation of tropes or erasure (similarly, we’ve recently seen the Russo brothers call out the need for LGBT representation in Marvel movies), as opposed to insisting there isn’t a problem to begin with — and we can only hope that the studios are listening and learning, too!
‘Doctor Strange’ hits theaters on November 4, 2016
The first trailer for Center Stage: On Pointe is the latest addition to the long list of nostalgia-inducing films arriving this summer.
Forget that 2008 sequel, this is the Center Stage fans deserve. It seems that once every eight years the team from Center Stage needs to scratch an itch and dance out their feelings on screen. While we’d rather forget the failed straight-to-DVD attempt of the mid-aughts, Lifetime’s made for TV movie is just the right amount of nostalgia fans deserve.
Once again we are set in the throws of the audition process for The American Ballet Company. Wait. Does that mean? Yes! Both Peter Gallahger and Ethan Stiefel, Jonathan Reeves and Cooper Nielson respectively, are back for the film! Also joining the group is dancer-turned-choreographer, and the heartthrob of all twenty-something former dance camp attendees, Charlie (Sascha Radetsky).
The synopsis of the film, from E!, reads: “Jonathan Reeves (Gallagher) is tasked with infusing more contemporary styles and modernism into the American Ballet Academy and enlists his top choreographers Charlie (Radestsky), Cooper (Stiefel) and Tommy (Kenny Wormald) to recruit dancers to compete at an intensive camp where the winners will be selected to join the Academy. Bella Parker (Nicole Munoz), who has always lived in the shadow of her hugely successful sister Kate, finally gets her chance to step into the limelight as one of the dancers selected for the camp. Chloe Lukasiak (Dance Moms) stars as Gwen, a talented dancer prodigy who competes at the camp.”
Because we know you want it…
Will you be tuning in to ‘Center Stage: On Pointe’ this summer?