Ads 468x60px

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Center Stage 2: Turn It Up

Turn it off would be a better title. I'll admit it, the first Center Stage film is one of my guilty pleasures. Anytime I see that it's on I have to watch it, I was hoping the sequel would have some of that so bad it's good magic.

The movie centers around Kate Parker a plucky dancer who wants to join the American Academy of Ballet. She doesn't make it in but luckily finds a job at a trendy nightclub to make ends meet. She falls for former hockey player turned ballet dancer, Tommy. Will Kate ever become the prima ballerina she wants to be? Will Tommy choose fame and fortune over true love? Anybody who's ever suffered through a bad dance movie knows the answers to these questions.

Worse yet, you don't hear about what happened to Jody, Eva, Maureen etc etc from the first film. Cooper returns as does Jonathan but they seem to be playing different characters. Jonathan is no longer the stern perfectionist that we loved to hate. In fact, the movie ends with his lips firmly latched on to Kate's firmly toned rear.

Cooper is no longer the suave superstud he was. He is more like that guy who graduated ten years ago but still attends all the high school parties. They mention that his company lost it's funding and don't even touch on what happened to Jody. I mean this is the character that turned her back on the Academy in order to join Cooper's company. She deserved at least a mention if nothing else.

Kate is simply irritating. She is supposed to be a determined self-taught dancer but falls apart every time something goes wrong. She allegedly taught herself to dance because her father refused to pay for ballet classes. But she tools around in a very snazzy car and carries an expensive cell phone around. At one point, she is supposedly sleeping on the streets but manages to look perfectly coiffed at all times.

The only redeeming feature of this film was using The DNC's Swing Baby Swing. I fell in love with that song at first listen and have been listening to it non-stop since.

Next up on the chopping block: Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder. A tawdry little tale about sex and murder starring Full House's Viper and Charmed's Piper.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Go Ask Alice

Interestingly enough Alice isn't even important enough to warrant her cover. Instead we get a romance novel cover featuring William Shatner and Andy Griffith.

Go Ask Alice was an alleged true memoir of an anonymous girl's descent into drug use. It was later revealed to be a fraud penned by Beatrice Sparks who is no stranger to fake memoirs. IF you wanna know more about the book there is a great review at Dibbly Fresh.

We meet "Alice" who has just purchased a new diary. She fills us in a little bit about her life. Her dad (William Shatner who is nearly unrecognizable in mutton chops and thick glasses) has accepted a new teaching position and the family has to move to another town. Alice babbles about the usual teenage stuff, wanting to be more secure, have friends, lose weight etc etc etc.

The opening of this film assaults us with a warbly off-key version of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. We also random shots of "bad kids" smoking the reefer. Sadly Alice is too boring and socially awkward to fit in, luckily for her she meets Beth who is as awkward and boring as she is.

Beth eventually goes off to camp for the summer and Alice meets Chris, a popular druggie. She invites Alice to a party where she accidentally takes LSD. Because a bunch of grinning teenagers passing around a tray of sodas saying "Button, Button, who's got the button," isn't a huge hint of what's to come. Alice is a moron.

Alice enjoys her trip but later writes in her diary that it will never happen again. Two minutes later she goes off to do more drugs. Summer is over, Alice is pretty, popular, and high all day. Alice has a new boyfriend, a John Travolta lookalike named Richie who is also a dealer. She also blows off Beth in favor of Chris.

Alice's family has no clue what's going on. In a funny scene, Alice and her friends do coke in the living room. Her parents waltz in with a birthday cake and doesn't notice that anything is wrong. Her father who is supposed to be a college professor can't tell when a group of teenagers are doing drugs. Come on, her preteen brother figured it out before they did. A TA who works for the professor figures it out ten minutes after meeting her, leading me to wonder what drugs are parents on.

After one of Richie's dealer friends get busted, Alice reluctantly peddles drugs to junior high schoolers. Alice's parents find her pill stash but Alice lies her way out of trouble, and then hightails it to Richie's. She catches Richie in bed with Chris's boyfriend and steals some money from him. 200 whole dollars, I doubt even in the '70s that would have lasted long.

Chris and Alice board a bus and promise one another that they will stop using. She then wakes up on a park bench with Chris nowhere to be seen. She has apparently been hanging with a junkie named Doris (McKenzie Phillips, throwing herself into the role.) Alice is stunned to learn that Doris is 14 and a hooker. Before she can run off, Doris hands her her diary and Alice doesn't remember what she has written.

Alice then babbles to her diary about it having only been a months since they ran away. Apparently they have traveled to random cities such as Dallas and Pheonix, not finding jobs but plenty of dope. She tries to read her diary but it upsets her so much that she tears the pages out and cries.

She winds up a teen shelter run by a priest (Andy Griffith). She tries to get him to read her journal but he won't. Instead he convinces her to face up to her problems and go home. Andy Griffith is the most interesting and smartest character in the whole damn film. We are also treated to a crazy flashback where Alice allows Chris to be raped so that she can get more dope.

Alice returns home and goes back to school, but sobriety is no friend of Alice's. Chris is gone and Beth is now popular with a lot of friends. She can't be seen with Alice due to her junkie past. The junkies try to force Alice to use again. In the real world junkies don't care what you do as long as you don't narc. And seriously I think your so-called best friend would be doing everything she can to keep you sober.

Recognize this handsome young actor playing a junkie cashier who taunts Alice? Yes, that is Robert Carradine from Revenge of the Nerds.

Alice is babysitting after another junkie named Jan fails to show up. Jan shows up later high as a kite, Alice is forced to call the cops after Jan gets aggressive. Back at school Jan threatens to plant dope on Alice's father and get Alice's brother hooked on drugs. Alice begins to confide in her father's TA, Joel who asks her out on a date.

Alice is babysitting again and takes a soda out of the fridge which is laced with LSD. (In the book I believe it was chocolate peanuts that were laced.) Apparently someone managed to sneak the soda into the house without anyone noticing. Some baby sitter Alice is.

Alice wakes up in a hospital and everything turns rosy posy. Her parents believe her story, Beth decides to be her friend again and Joel is more in love with her than ever. Such a perfect happy ending.

Until Alice dies of an overdose. She conveniently stopped keeping a diary so nobody knew whether she took them willingly or not. Her mother who narrates this seems unconcerned that her daughter has died. She's too busy lecturing the viewer about the evilness of drugs. The whole movie whittles down to the biggest lesson you will ever learn.

"Drugs are bad.....mmmkay."

This film will only be watchable by people who used to love the movies that you were forced to watch in health class. If you thought the book was over dramatic, you ain't seen nothing' yet.