We’re almost to the end of prom season — the dresses have been bought, the hair has been styled, the corsages have been placed on waiting wrists. And while you may have already attended your school’s dance or are gearing up for the coming weekend, part of the ritual hasn’t happened: Watching how prom is portrayed in TV and movies.
This year, we’ve got a handful of TV episodes and at least one movie focused on this pivotal high school celebration. So in the tradition of Crushable’s Chick Flick Check List, here’s a Prom Flick Check List — tallying up romantic dramas, the search for the perfect dress, the delight of the unexpected, and choreographed dance scenes. All scores are out of 100.
Prom‘s Prom List Rating: 63
The Art of Asking: 6/10
The main couples all had fairly straightforward, but very sweet, scenes where the guys asked the girls to prom. What’s interesting is how the long-term couples almost treated this like a marriage proposal: The girl knew it was coming, but was depending on her guy to make it super-special. Justin recalls fond memories of his relationship with Mei, which started in high school. Tyler gives Jordan a sneak peek before anyone else. Other kids employ cheerleaders and members of sports teams to stage big public spectacles, which of course get the desired response. The cutest has to be between two characters, when one leaves an unconventional “check yes or no” kind of note at her door.
Then there’s poor Lloyd, who spends the entire movie trying to nail down a date for the dance since he’s a senior who doesn’t have a lot of romantic leads. He makes a lot of mistakes — using “serial killer” magazine letters on one note; setting up a banner on a bridge, only to have a truck rip it off — his biggest being that he approaches girls he hardly knows.
Can You Feel the Love Tonight: 4/10
Because it’s Disney, there can’t be the perennial “losing your virginity on prom night” question, so points docked for that. The breakups and declarations of love are pretty standard, nothing too heart-wrenching. There are even two throwaway characters linked together simply to close up that plotline, not because they’re actually suited for one another.
Montages and Choreographed Dance Sequences: 5/10
To blow off steam while rushing to recreate all the ruined prom decorations, Nova decides to take Jesse dress shopping with her. What ensues is a cute scene at the local department store, with Nova modeling several trendy but unsuitable styles. What this scene succeeds in is allowing us to watch Jesse open up and realize his attraction to Nova, but there’s no surprise when she finds the dress that suits her.
Alas, this is no High School Musical: The kids seem to all be dancing to their own beat.
Dress Drama: 6/10
In her frustration about prom not being perfect, Mei apparently trashes her dress, but aside from having to recycle a homecoming frock, there’s no big fallout. The girls nicely represent all ends of the spectrum: peach and tulle; strapless purple; bright yellow; a two-toned blue-aqua gown; and for one of the guys, a nice set of hand-me-downs.
Resemblance to Our Proms: 8/10
This school gets excited for the dance, but it doesn’t take over their lives. They’re still working side jobs, fretting over college acceptances, and enjoying team barbecues. The decorations are spectacular because of the time put into them, not some rich kid wielding Daddy’s credit card. Everyone wears affordable dresses and looks to be fully enjoying the night.