Sing your feelings
If you’ve never seen “High School Musical,” I am indescribably sad for you. I’m also super jealous, but mostly sad. It’s an experience.
If you’ve never seen “High School Musical 2,” I’m both that much sadder for and jealous of you. As much fun/torture as the first movie is, the second is just. wow.
Before I go on, let me note for the sake of my pride that I did not voluntarily sit through either movie. The first was seen during an unfortunate babysitting incident and the second, oddly enough, is how I spent the night of my 20th birthday. In neither instance was I thrilled with the choice of entertainment, but at the end of the second movie, I could finally see some of the appeal in this latest instance of pop-culture run amuck.
I went into the movie disdainful, sat through it rebelliously and walked away enraptured. I know, complex emotions for a Disney channel movie, but really, how can something that bad be so good?
The plot was predictable and linear, an awkward medley of “Dirty Dancing,” “She’s All That” and that season of “Saved by the Bell” where they moved to the beach. In essence, boy gets job with friends at resort, has ego stroked by basketball coach and acts like a douchebag, is pseudo-stalked by spoiled rich girl and redeems himself by getting staff into end of summer talent show. Oh, the joy. Not particularly gripping, I must say.
What was gripping were the intensely shallow song lyrics and awesomely brilliant/tragic choreography, particularly of the lead male (who, incidentally, is hot enough to make the movie almost worth it purely because you get to stare at him for so long). I would probably have to shoot myself were I forced to listen to the soundtrack on its own, but in the context of the movie and given license to mock freely, there’s a certain kitsch value to the whole thing. The mocking in and of itself is satisfying. Also, what was born of the mockery was, for me, the true substance of the “High School Musical 2″ experience.
I was watching with my younger brothers-apparently this movie is the height of cool for those in middle school-and I have to say that nobody can mock things like a middle school boy. There’s some magical mixture of awkwardness, bravado, sarcasm and accidental humor that just makes everything so much funnier.
So, during one particularly ridiculous number in which the lead male realizes his douchebaggery and decides to reform, I commented on the fact that all of the characters seemed to sing their feelings. My baby brother (who is 12) picked up the joke and ran with it. Leaping across the living room and landing on a chair and then sliding dramatically off and to his knees on the carpet, he belted out, “I’m so MMMAAAAAAAAAAAADDDD!” He then popped up and pranced around some more, striking exaggeratingly thoughtful poses and pouting seductively/sarcastically at me, all the while chanting “angry, mad, angry, bad” in the same tone of voice freshman orientation actors use in “Choices.” He pulled my other brother (who is 14) into the routine, the two of them mimicking the romantic scenes with impossible irony, until ultimately collapsing in hysterics. I, of course, was already in fits on the floor.
I’m probably not doing justice to the story, but how do you really capture an event like that in words? You can’t. Which is why I advise everyone who has not already done so to go out and see “High School Musical 2″ as soon as possible. As I said before, it’s really just. wow. Inspiring. Just remember not to take it seriously, to open yourself to all the possibilities for mockery and, last but by no means least, to sing your feelings.
Sara is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
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