Monday, July 24, 2017

Disney Channel Movie Raises Complicated Questions

We'll get to the blog post topic a little later, but I'm sure you have questions about the title here. Believe me, I do too.

First, though, Happy Pioneer Day to those of you in Utah or with ties to Utah!

I celebrated this morning by running Provo's Temple-to-Temple 5K. It's free and all downhill, so it's a good way for me to get a Personal Record in the 5K distance.

And I did. 21 minutes, 31 seconds. I'm feeling very good about myself right now.

I have also learned that 1) you should not skip water stations in a July race, even when you didn't mean to, 2) 8 am is WAY to late to start a summer race, and 3) Powerade or Gatorade really is helpful in preventing post-race headaches (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

In other news, I am visiting the Orem Library on August 1st. It will be a good show (I hope) and you should all come!

And, now, for the reason you clicked on this post.

Okay, so as much as I love good movies and stories, sometimes I want a simple, stupid one. Sometimes, I want mindless fun, and sometimes, bad movies are entertaining in ways they never meant to be. But mostly, mindless fun.

One of these movies, for me, is the Disney Channel movie Teen Beach Movie. If you haven't seen it, the basic premise is that two teenagers get sucked into a 1960s surfer musical and wreck it, and then have to fix the movie to go home.

As far as mindless fun goes, it's pretty good. Catchy music, and enough references to 1960s musicals to be entertaining outside itself. They play with the tropes in a fun way, so it has some delightful meta moments. The message is good and the story is interesting. The characters are also likeable. Nothing amazing, but nothing I'd feel ashamed of myself for watching. It has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.

And then, this week, I watched the sequel.

I know. I know. Sequels. Should have known better. The premise of this one is that the two teens, back home in the real world, are visited by the main characters of the movie and they have to get them to go back to the film.

Going to warn you, there are spoilers ahead. You are hereby warned.

This movie left me with a lot of questions, some fairly easy to answer, like:

- Why are the characters so out of character (Mack is fine with breaking into song and dance)?
- Why isn't the music as fun?

This is because it was a sequel, and when it's a musical set in modern day, as this one is, the characters have to be willing to sing and dance (even when nothing's forcing them to) and the music doesn't sound like the '60s. It sounds like modern stuff, and isn't as unique.

But the plot left me with lots of questions that aren't as easily answered. I finished a bit confused, so here we go. Share my confusion.

- I thought Mack hated that movie. What changed?

- If the protags are so different, how did they become a couple in the first place?

- Do the movie characters just relive the same segment of time over and over? Do they remember doing this?

 - Did the movie change in the real world when the main characters left it?

- If the characters turn all modern clothes into '60s clothes when they put them on, why didn't, in the first movie, the modern kids turn the old clothes modern? Is it a movie magic thing? But if the movie was set in the '60s. why have this trope anyway (the clothes wouldn't change)?

- Why is everyone at school cool with singing and dancing, since they're NOT musical characters? Especially since it's been made clear, in the world of the movie, it's weird to spontaneously break into song and dance?

- How did the "Gotta Be Me" musical number do anything to fix a relationship? Nothing was furthered there. They just danced at each other!

- If Lela's actions in the movie changed it so much that Mack is the one who loved it, not Brady, and they never met because of it, didn't that mean that the old movie never existed and Mack and Brady never went into it and never met Lela, and thus never inspired her to change her life?

- Seriously, doesn't that cause a paradox?

- Their personalities didn't change. Why is Brady not a fan of the '60s musical when he used to love it, and why is Mack, the one who thinks singing and dancing is stupid, the one who does?

And, last:

- I get that the message is supposed to be "girls can do anything" and "make it your own story," but Wet Side Story becoming Lela, Queen of the Beach seems a little tyrannical to me. So, the whole movie became about how one character is better than everyone else? Is that the message? How do the other characters feel about their world being Lela's and they're just living in it?

I'm reading WAY too much into a Disney Channel movie. But I have to get my kicks somehow, even if it just winds up confusing me. #GottaBeMe

Here are your debuts for this week:

Middle Grade:
Corabel Shofner - Almost Paradise (7/25)

Young Adult:
Candace Ganger - The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash (7/25)
Alison Gervais - In 27 Days (7/25)
Amanda Foody - Daughter of the Burning City (7/25)
Lauren Karcz - The Gallery of Unfinished Girls (7/25)
Kristen Ciccarelli - Askari (7/27)
V.V. Mont - The Elementalist (July)

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