On April 18, 2018

Starry, starry night

By Dom Cioffi

My wife and I were out to dinner this past weekend when a flash of bright red from the corner of the restaurant caught my eye. In an instant, I knew what it meant: prom night.

A slew of eight beautifully dressed couples sauntered into the dining room, each looking more glamorous than the next. All eyes were upon them as they sheepishly took their seats, well-aware that they were the current center of attention.

My wife and I (and most of the other patrons) watched as they nervously giggled, with the girls trying to look like mature ladies and the boys trying to not look like clumsy oafs.

It seems that every year my wife and I find ourselves out to dinner when one school or another has its annual prom celebration. The splashes of color with sparkly accoutrements of the young ladies and the well-coifed hair and tuxes of the young men bring back a host of memories for me, even after 35 years.

The proms of today, while generally held in the same vein, are much more extravagant affairs than what I experienced. Yes, we rented out a ballroom, and yes, everyone got dressed up, but other than that, today’s events seem more like royal weddings than a school dance.

For one thing, back in my day, you simply got up the courage to ask someone to the prom and then asked them. Nowadays, there is something called a “promposal” that the kids engage in.

A promposal is basically any number of ways to ask someone to the prom – the more creative the better. My niece was asked to her prom when her perspective date showed up at her lacrosse practice with four of his buddies, each with an individually painted letter on their chest that together spelled out “PROM?”

I was stupefied when she relayed some of the other promposals that her friends received, with a few involving a fairly substantial amount of money (at least for a high school kid). I don’t remember exactly, but I think my promposal consisted of me asking my girlfriend, “What time should I pick you up?”

My prom may not have been a spectacular affair, but it was still fun. We didn’t have a stretch limousine, we didn’t partake in a fancy dinner at a five-star restaurant, and we didn’t have an after-party at a mountain resort.

My prom consisted of my father cooking an Italian dinner for me, my two best friends, and our dates. We then drove to the prom in my father’s old Catalina convertible. Once there, we danced to a DJ who was spinning actual vinyl records, until one of my friends had to rush home after getting violently ill (we’re still not sure if it was my father’s cooking).

His sudden illness put a damper on the festivities for our group, so my girlfriend and I opted to disappear over to my family’s lake house. We spent most of the night there, sipping cheap wine by the fireplace and being as romantic as two high school kids can be.

I concocted some story for my parents and so did my girlfriend. Years later, I ‘fessed up to my mother, only to learn that my two brothers did the exact same thing. It seems that my mother’s lakeside hideaway was our family’s go-to location for sinful activities.

This week’s film, “Blockers,” also involves a story revolving around the prom and sin, except in this instance, the parents are onto their kids and their lustful ideas and plan to stop them in whatever way they can.

Starring John Cena and Leslie Mann, “Blockers” is a modern-day story of parental control run amok, with plenty of comedic bits – some worthy of great laughs, others bordering on poor taste.

This one is getting fairly solid reviews so I gave it a chance. My fear with these kinds of films are that the trailers are packed with the best parts, so by the time you see the movie, it’s basically spoiled.

Unfortunately, that was the case with “Blockers.” Every funny scene was previously highlighted in the trailer, which has been running continuously for a couple months. The entire film was built around these few scenes, with the rest being story filler and concluding emotional drivel.

If you’ve seen the trailer, take a pass – unless you’re looking for some time to kill. “Blockers” will give you a few laughs, but it offers little more than that.

A prom-iscuous “C” for “Blockers.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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