October 23, 2008

High School Musical: 'Nostalgia' Porn for Grownups

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You know when you’re watching that scene in Not Another Teen Movie when they’re spoofing the prom scene in She’s All That and some guy on the sidelines goes, “Who would’ve guessed that everyone in school was a professional dancer?” Imagine that, but instead of one scene, it’s approximately 112 minutes of that thought racing through your head. And it’s totally just another teen movie. Oh yeah … it’s making me nauseous.
High School Musical. For the (count it) THIRD TIME. Amazing that it has come so far, no? For the lucky few of you who haven’t seen the (slightly erotic) commercials on television lately, High School Musical 3 is coming out on Friday and is a musical love story that takes place between two high schoolers.

I’m sorry, but could you be more obvious? You don’t even need to see the movie to know the exact plot line.
Moving on. Critics have been claiming that High School Musical is the modern day Romeo and Juliet. And once again, another detour. Just about every romance movie that comes out these days is deemed to be “the modern day Romeo and Juliet,” making it one of the most ubiquitous plots I can think of. I read the book Romeo and Juliet. I saw the movie Romeo and Juliet. I read books and saw movies based off the books and the movies Romeo and Juliet. Apparently that’s not enough for all y’all out there, though. So here comes the Disney Empire, reworking it with the basketball jock and the math nerd, meeting on middle ground in the drama club. But, of course, it has to be G-rated, so they took out the grand finale (mass suicide), added something to make everyone else want to kill themselves (show tunes) and called it a Disney Channel Original Movie.
Somebody please explain to me what this craze is? And this time, do it without going, “Oh my god High School Musical is ahhhhhhhhmazing, right? I’m, like, so excited to see the new one.” The High School Musical series is not that cool, unique, exciting nor spectacular in any sense. And I even have a perfectly good explanation for all of this: it’s a Disney trilogy made to appeal to kids in elementary school. You know, kids who are supposed to watch the Disney Channel. Whenever I say this, I feel like on a terror scale from one to Michael Jackson, I’m hovering around an Edward Scissorhands.
Now let me repeat it: The target demographic is elementary school! It is meant to entertain kids who haven’t hit puberty and, unlike the rest of us, haven’t been to high school. Why are you watching four years of your supposed life in musical form for nostalgia when you were the lead basketball player who ended up falling in love and singing in a musical with the super nerdy math geek? Uh-huh. High school was nothing like this movie. There are many better things to do with your life now that you are about 10 years past the target age group and don’t need to be watching Disney tween musicals reminiscing about what high school could have, would have or should have been. You can see rated-R movies, go to parties and not come home on a Tuesday. You could even take LSD and hallucinate this movie.
So now on Friday our country is going to be plagued with the third, but thankfully the last, of the High School Musicals. Millions of girls are going to be swarming theaters going loco for Zac Efron, beefcake that he is (if you’re into the eyelined-eye, girly boy sort of thing), to watch him sob about college application fears to his ever-faithful girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. (Minus that whole nude-pictures surfacing from back in the day. That sort of thing happens sometimes.) The big question is — are we now going to have to suffer through College Musical? I don’t think Disney could man up to that task.

Sydney Arkin is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at sbb79@cornell.edu (or found at the HSM3 opening). The Rant appears sporadically.