Throwback Thursday: Save the Last Dance 2 (2006)

College is a time of growth and change. With that growth and change comes a few challenges.

Save the Last Dance 2 (2006) is a direct-to-video sequel to Save the Last Dance (2001). Sara (Izabella Miko, taking over from Julia Stiles) has just arrived at Julliard in New York City, taking her one step closer to becoming a Prima ballerina. But the competition is stiff. For everyone that makes it in this world, there are many whose dreams never become reality.

When she meets Miles (Columbus Short), a composer who loves hip-hop, her world starts to open. But it soon becomes clear that Sara will have to choose between Miles and her vision of the future.

I have to give this film an A for effort. It tries to live up to its predecessor. But the magic that made Save the Last Dance special is missing from its sequel.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.


Flashback Friday-The Prince and Me (2004)

There is something about stories of princes and happily ever after that somehow seems to stick around.

In 2004, The Prince and Me was released.

At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Paige (Julia Stiles) is a smart and determined pre-med student. The last thing she wants or needs in her life is Eddie (Luke Mably), a student from Denmark whom she takes an instant dislike to. What Paige does not know is that Eddie is really Crown Prince Edvard of Denmark. Edvard is looking for a real world education before he takes on the mantle of king. As Paige begins to get to know Eddie, his true identity is revealed.

While this movie is not the best movie, it’s a nice fantasy. It’s one of those movies that are perfect for cable, with it’s endless sequels and quickly fading plot lines.

Do I recommend it? Yea, it’s decent.

Throwback Thursday- Julia Stiles Biracial romance double feature- Save the Last Dance and O

In the early 2000’s, Julia Stiles’s career was heating up. Two of the movies she made reflected the reality of the modern world we are living in, where some have chosen romantic partners whose skin color does not match their own.

Save the Last Dance (2001)

Sara (Julia Stiles) is a suburban high school student whose dream it is to go Julliard.  After her mother is killed in a car accident, she is forced to move in with her estranged father, Roy (Terry Kinney). Roy is a musician who lives in the South Side of Chicago. The culture shock of an inner city school and the loss of her mother nearly kills Sara’s dream, until she connects with Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), who has a semi-criminal past and wants more than his present circumstances offer.

This movie started the semi-musical dance genre that is still around 13 years later. Unlike the movies that followed this one, Save The Last Dance is one of the best movies of it’s era. Yes, one could argue that this movie does contain stereotypes, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a story of overcoming what seems like impossible odds to achieve our goals in life.

O (2001)

A high school reboot of William Shakespeare’s Othello, Odin James (Mekhi Phifer) has it all. He is the star of the basketball team, is dating Desi Brable (Julia Stiles) and is treated like a son by his coach, Duke Golding (Martin Sheen).  Hugo, Duke’s son (Josh Harnett) is jealous of Odin. He embarks on a plan to destroy Odin, which in turn has it’s own consequences.

For a modern high school reboot of Othello, it’s not a bad movie. Shakespeare is always an easy go to for Hollywood when looking for a good story. He writes about human emotions and human experiences, which has not changed since the 16th century and will never change. And this movie has a nice cast whose careers have only grown since 2001.

Two Teen Movies That Transcend Their Genre (And I Happen To Love)

The best teen movies are the ones that transcend their genre and generations. Regardless of our age and how old we were when these movies were released, we can still relate to them.

Two of my favorites are based in classic literature, Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.  They were also rebooted into Broadway musicals, Taming Of The Shrew remade into Kiss Me, Kate and Pygmalion remade into My Fair Lady.

But I happen to love their modern teenage remakes, 10 Things I hate About You and She’s All That.

10 Things I Hate About You is the story of the Stratford Sisters. Biana (Larissa Oleynik) is extremely eager to be popular and date Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan). But her hilarious and cringe inducing overprotective father (Larry Miller) will not allow Bianca to date until her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) is dating. Kat has no interest in dating anyone. Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is new to the school and falls in love with Bianca instantly.  He uses Joey, who pays Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to date Kat, so he can go on a date with Bianca. The end result is very interesting and very entertaining.

I love this movie. The screenwriters kept the Beatrice and Benedict relationship between Kat and Patrick (as well as some of the Shakespearean language from the play)  while  dulling the sexist and misogynistic language of the original text. The late Health Ledger (pre Batman and pre Oscar for Brokeback Mountain) has a massive potential as an actor, that potential shines through in his later roles. Julia Stiles is another up and comer who proves that she has the talent to go very far.

She’s All That starts at the tail of senior year. Popular Zach (Freddie Prinze Jr) has just been dumped by his girlfriend (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe).  Zach’s friend Dean (the late Paul Walker), makes a bet that Zach can turn any of his female classmates into prom queen.  Zach’s choice is Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook), the artsy outsider.

I love this movie. It’s one of those movies that I can find on cable and brought back to that time in my life. The coup that makes this movie stand out from other teen movies of this era is that Zach and Laney are each dealing with their own internal pressures. As their relationship grows, they find a way to deal with those pressures. This is another movie full of then up and coming performers (Usher, Gabrielle Union (who also had a part in 10 Things I Hate About You), Anna Paquin, Dule Hill) who have had steady careers since then.

Both of these movies have quotable lines and soundtracks that fit in so perfectly with era that they premiered.

I recommend them both.









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