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*NAILED*! - and Box Office "wins" are their own thing, separate from artistic achievement.

Since the O.P. is about Box Office, let's grant that most of the reasons in the thread about the Box Office failure are correct - covid fears, alternative streaming venues, aimed at older base.

*** That said, the original stage version wasn't a hit, had hundreds walking out because it wasn't the gooey goodie thing that musicals were supposed to be. Guess what won the Tony that year: The Music Man, a hokey toe-tapper.

*** But back to the NAILED post: "Why remake a classic?" SPIELBERG said he did it from his absolute reverence for it (the music) that he played the soundtrack of endlessly since he was ten years old and that he has wanted to film a musical throughout his career. Fine, just personal reasons or even just personal caprice. Despite the small changes he made - correcting some historical details (Robert MOSES demolishing housing for Lincoln Center) and YES WOKE casting of minorities instead of face paint - his absolute accomplishment and tribute here is KEEPING THE BERNSTEIN MUSIC INTACT, that is all.

*** So note to SPIELBERG: It's. Been. Done. Although in a way, everything is a remake, including SHAKESPEARE. Aside from the ABSOLUTE MAIN BRILLIANCE BEING BERNSTEIN's MUSIC, its original concept was of Irish vs Jewish gangs, which might have satisfied some of those critics of the first film.

The real Brandon dude got to know his name-chanters & feels their pain - his OpEd

I saw the interview that gave rise to the wingnut chant that uses his name to cover "F-Biden" and, since it came about from the reporter's error or her deflecting the crowd's profanity, I thought from the beginning that the dude himself ought to clear the air one way or the other about how his name was being used - whether he saw it as a use or abuse of his name.

I'll say that in the interview he was totally focused on his own winning race and came across as a sincere person, oblivious to the outside noise. He says he stayed silent because his advisers told him to since sponsors might be scared off if he responded.

But he says he has used this time of silence to listen to the chanters (who are hater/wingnuts) and he commiserates with them about the economic hard times and about how the government doesn't hear them that they claim to be expressing in their "F-Biden" use of his name. And while he says he's not interested in politics or telling anybody who to vote for, he further says that in his spare time he will speak out in favor of what he's learned from his chanters.

Methinks he's a short step away from SANDMANN and RITTENHOUSE.


My Name Is Brandon | Opinion

.... I am fully aware that the millions of Americans chanting my name know little about me or about my winning the Talladega race that day. But I have spent the last few weeks getting to know more about them, and I'd like to share a little more about myself. ....

Those who thought this would all go away appear not to understand why millions of people are chanting my name. ....

I understand that millions of people are struggling right now and are frustrated. Struggling to get by and struggling to build a solid life for themselves and their families, and wondering why their government only seems to make it worse. People have a right to frustration—even anger. ....

To my fans, to NASCAR fans and to everyone who has chanted my name: I dedicate myself this upcoming season to compete hard on the racetrack and to spotlight issues that are important to me and to millions of Americans across the country. ....


*Remake DU Post* - follow-up after seeing West Side Story. SPOILERphobes do not click here!

Beware: Am gonna see and judge the West Side Story remake tomorrow. It's already tomorrow.
#1 - no screwing around with Lenny's music. The rest largely moot, visual impact. See #1. *END O.P.*

****If WSS can be remade, a DU post can, too!1 Here follow my review/impressions after seeing it.

MOVIE REVIEW: Only the 4th time since 2000 to see a movie in a theater. The others were Gladiator, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Gaga's Star/Born. So theaters are not normal to me, strange experience. This time more so, the big techno experience - computerized check-in, select seat on a 'puter screen - I've never understood the seating charts in venues, had to ask which way was the SCREEN to get back away from it, and picked what I thought was fairly far back. A couple of other elderly (rented?) Closed Caption contraptions looking like architect lamps. Strange, the TIME for my feature in the lobby was an hour and a half different from my feature on the internet. I asked the usher kid why I was at the wrong time and he had zero idea. Looking around, I saw MY feature at the far end of the lobby at another entrance. Fine. So my time was for 11:45 A.M. and on a Tuesday and in a week before the schoolkids are on the loose. My fellow audience members were a half dozen elderly ladies, all of us with the same scheduling principles. Trekking into the seating area, gosh, STEEP steps straight up, in the DARK, me grasping onto the handrail and all hunched over with the other hand flung toward anything on the other side, like a gorilla. Finally got to an almost top level and to my seat in the center - yet the gigantic screen was still in my face. Wow, armchair seats, but curved lumbar seatback and a cushion or pillow would have been appreciated by my lumbar, feet barely reaching the floor. And the *VOLUME* was expectedly deafening, at least during the previews, with the heavy armchair actually VIBRATING. During the movie, the sound was fine. Made it all the way to a convenient place in the movie to have to go pee, perfect because when I got back Officer KRUPKE was just starting.

And that's my REVIEW ------------------HAHA!1 No, here it comes:

*I* - Remakes, trepidations, misgivings

The few movies in my lifetime (let's say "50" tops), like my music, have to be HITS, epic, spectacular. No, those four I mentioned seeing in a theater are not representative of those criteria, except almost Gladiator. I've seen almost my total on DVD. Things like WSS hit a chord, so to speak, have a special place, are a complex of what's on the screen and the immense personal impact in a mass of what was going on in my life at the time. Besides WSS the movie, BERNSTEIN's *music* was the the absolute wonder. I saw the movie a couple of times, perhaps pieces of it several times, but heard the soundtrack a zillion times. The movie was fine, but the music is fantastic. Speaking of spoilers, seeing a movie after the first time is like a spoiler, no? SPIELBERG has said it was the SOUNDTRACK he's heard since he was age ten that has been THE thing for him. So why remake the movie? To make it "better", more real/authentic, like buying a new water heater just for the sake of UPDATING even before it breaks down? STREISAND and Gaga's Star Is Born weren't better than GARLAND's. And nobody better remake Lawrence of Arabia.
And speaking of "spoilers," what is the original version of something if not a spoiler for the new one? So here's a spoiler, anybody who saw the first movie will know what this one is like. And by the way, it was disclosed from the very start of the first version that it was a retooling of Romeo/Juliet. And SHAKESPEARE was not nothing if not a retooler of previous texts and plots. As a poster below provided the reasons for remaking classics - making it better, for respect - yeah, so the first movie/play was actually a remake of SHAKESPEARE who had done his own remaking of other source material.
And every generation has its own lens for seeing its present and the past. This one (the one after mine) wants Race-gender representations, applying mostly to the visual arts no? since textual things from the past can't really be re-written. So is every movie or stage play going to be re-cast with Race-gender actors? Or are all dramas and comedies going to be remade as musicals? I say that things are their own thing of their own time.

*II* - My actual "Review"

The one and almost only thing that matters to me for this product is BERNSTEIN's music. And as another poster below reported, in this version, *LENNY's MUSIC IS INTACT!* The music itself made me tear up in places, which is not frequent or common for me about anything. The actors grew on me and actually got me to tear up towards the end. Given my approach to movies, I had to see it but will not see it more than I did the first one.

*III* - Nitpicking

Most of the pre-publicity gave me misgivings about the cast. Just the faces from the first one are branded in my brain and these replacements seemed to lack the gravitas. Well, the leads grew on me towards the end, although the Tony dude barely overcame the too-nice-guy aura, making it hard to believe that he had almost killed before and was in prison for a year and finally *did* kill Bernardo.
The beginning scenes had a hair or two in the soup - sort of hokey 1950s dialog and the "Cool" patina of trying too hard. Despite being about the 1950s when Robert MOSES was tearing down neighborhoods to make way for Lincoln Center or his other nefarious reasons - a specific PERIOD piece - it seemed dated. PERIOD pieces evoke the PERIOD without seeming DATED.
Which brings up the "remake" issue again: SPIELBERG and his partners have made it clear they based this on the original stage version, not the movie. This explains some things that seemed like kinks/distractions to me: First, the dialog. Then the lots of "snappy" body movements, heads snapping, pivoting, stage dance moves, faces turning to and fro each other - am talking here outside of the choreographed dance routines. And to answer a poster from a few days ago, yes they DO do the finger-snapping.
Plus, this action didn't seem to FLOW as much as what I remember about the first movie, faster plot and more jerky. possibly because of the stage version. The ending funeral procession was stage jerky, not flowing, less feeling.

And the current cultural issue we have now about actors portraying racial/ethnic/gender roles. I come down on the side that acting means portraying a character separate from who the actor is. Yes, Laurence OLIVIER did Blackface in doing Othello. Should a great actor be barred from a great role based on appearance? Do the words in the play saying Othello was Black convey *enough* without the visual?
How far back to go in an actor's ethnic background to qualify them as authentic enough? And who says it makes their acting good enough? I thought I would have to be careful about using the "woke" word, but have not needed to: If the main principle for this version was to cast it wokely, the results in the finished product were barely noticeable, negligible, therefore unimportant.
I thought I would be comparing Natalie WOOD in this movie, but didn't, but always will see her face first. I thoroughly disliked how they staged "I Feel Pretty" despite that the music and singing were fine. And I didn't like this new Anita, who seemed stiff and jerky maybe because of the staginess, liked Rita's Anita much better, and DISLIKED Rita in this movie. So there.

*IV* - My bottom line:

The music is *ALL* for me and, repeating, it is INTACT. I will probably not see this movie version any more than I have seen the first one, but will probably hear the soundtrack just as much as anytime before, perhaps not specifically in this version, just on whatever symphonic video that pops down my road.

The story line is a known quantity. It. has. been. DONE. including by SHAKESPEARE, who had everything (gangs, lovers, plot twists/misunderstandings). I don't think it should get any Oscars except perhaps for visual effects or whatever it's called, cinematography - the cast of thousands on the streets, the rebuilding of blocks and blocks of 1950s NYC ? Now I'm bracing for the new Cabaret stage version with Jessie BUCKLEY and Eddie REDMAYNE, whoever they are, if I live to see a movie version. They're getting rave reviews.

I fired my cardiologist. Sticking with my family guy. However, for a math puzzle:

can you fill in the next line?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2 4 6 8 1 3 5 7 9

(and on and on until you get to the last line: )

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

**** It's called a number sequence. My high school Freshman teacher (a local genius) was totally impressed. My competition student for top scholar asked, "What's the PURPOSE of this?!"

(Here we go, not that it matters) - Note to SPIELBERG, about West Side Story

Disclosure: What's setting me off here is a media item effusing over SONDHEIM's demise, calling WWS "SONDHEIM's (item/property/work/whatever)" like it was HIS (alone). He did the LYRICS, O.K.?

There is NO way that SONDHEIM's lyrics are more important on their own than BERNSTEIN's music.

*** Not that anybody should know or care what a random, anonymous, internet nobody like me thinks, but here at DU Lounge I've posted how MELODY has primacy, NOT lyrics. Music is ALL. Yes, I was in high school band, and have been dismissed here as band being the reason I dismiss LYRICS. Well, before that, my mother was a convent girl who was minimally schooled into classical music and a bit of beginning piano, plus "music appreciation" was in our family genes. And Mother, sister, and I were musically fascinated. My father and my older sister were tone deaf.

Yea, the Loungeteers who love LYRICS have dismissed my disdain for LYRICS on the ground that I was in the BAND: "That EXPLAINS it," they have said. (As opposed to being in the *choir*. )

Uh, NO: I've got two EARS. That's why I like or dislike a song. That's why I love TCHAIKOVSKY. Republican EISENHOWER liked TCHAKOVSKY "because he's TUNEFUL." BERNSTEIN said there was no more MELODICALLY gifted composer than him/TCHAIKOVSKY.

And one of the DUers posted that a song I liked, "Chandelier" by Sia, is great because it described her drug/suicidal/whatever-CRAP she went through. Uh, NO. I liked it for the MELODY. I have ZERO desire to spin a psychiatric session on the turntable. Another DUer lectured that a perfect song "Imagine" was great because of the LYRIC words/deep-thoughts. Uh, no.

BERNSTEIN demonstrated in a Young Peoples' Concert that you can take a beautiful song with matching beautiful melody/lyrics and totally substitute the LYRICS with different lyrics, hateful lyrics, or random/nonsensical SOUNDS/grunts - all with the same beautiful MELODY - and the song remains beautiful. You can take SHUBERT's "Ave Maria" and insert blasphemous, hateful, detestable Marquis de SADE *words* and the song remains beautiful.

And, NO, I was not brainwashed by Lenny. I just love the MELODY/sound of stuff.

I *will* say that once the music/melody has HOOKED me, perhaps after a gazillion times of hearing it, I might check out the lyrics. But the obvious thing is: When a magnificent MELODY is out there, the composer/lyricist wants to match the nobility with suitable words and sentiments. So it's a no brainer that a wonderful song has both wonderful music AND lyrics.

And the TEXT of the travails of a particular set of humans is it's own thing, but can be expressed in whatever formats, and the MUSIC will go on singing into the universe on its own.

*** So about West Side Story, I'll say that the main (and only) thing for me is BERNSTEIN's music. I'll say the blasphemy that it might not be the best music *ever* written.

And as for the currently rave-reviewed version of WSS, the best things are that SPIELBERG is convincing about how he loved the thing since he was ten years old, and that he framed it from the original stage play not the movie version, and that he made the cast more ethnically correct. Fine.

And I will go to the movie house for the first time in years despite our current unpleasantness. Disclosure, have never been a movie or movie house aficionado.

The biggest and SOLE selling point for me is that the makers DIDN'T SCREW AROUND WITH BERNSTEIN. And really, I don't need movies, especially this one. I can hear it out on whatever the sound medium is - CD, streaming, M3 === whatever those things are. And the music is so KNOWN to me, I don't care about anything else, and don't want to hear things forever, just when I'm in the mood.

*** Do you hate me again?

Yea, thanks. But the internet/we/DU shall always have these with us!

Bullying, self-righteous, herding, pretentious, pedantic, condescending, nannying, self-aggrandizing, gate-keeping, inciting mob swarms of flamefests.

Worse, they claim to be more Democratic than anybody, telling others what to think and post - oblivious to their complete violation of Democratic values of:

* free thought
* able to hear/monitor wingnut, or just opposing, voices without being contaminated
* (adding: ) THEIR demand that THEIR "freedom of speech" trumps everything

*********Worse again, they prefer to waste energy attacking fellow DUers instead of wingnuts out there

Stopping here before I turn into them.

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