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Category: Movies

Newsies vs. Newsies

One of my favorite movie musicals is the 1992 Newsies with Christian Bale, Max Casella (Vinnie from Doogie Howser, MD), David Moscow, Bill Pullman, Ann-Margaret (!!!), and Robert Duvall.  I must have seen that thing at least 3 times in the movie theatre. I won a copy of the soundtrack on tape by entering a trivia contest. I knew all the words to all the songs and even some of the dance moves.  Is it a perfect movie?  No, it’s silly and melodramatic and although Christian is dreamy his singing and dancing are less than stellar, but he tried.  So when I heard they were making a Broadway version a few years back that didn’t surprise me at all.  It’s flashy with cute dancers, catchy songs, and girls my age LOVED it so it had a built-in audience.

Now, even though I live right here in NY I never made it to the actual show on Broadway, so when I saw that it was now available to watch on Netflix I was pretty excited…until I watched it.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t the 1992 movie.  I felt like they had changed too much – some made sense and some had me yelling at my TV, wondering what Harvey Fierstein (who wrote the book for the Broadway show) was thinking.

Let me preface all of this by saying two things.  If you’ve never seen Newsies (the original movie) – you’re missing out.  Cute boys, singing and dancing in period costumes, little guys going after big guys, union talk, love and family – it’s got everything!  2nd thing – if you loved Newsies and Broadway, watch the show on Netflix.  It’s not terrible – the original songs are great, the leads are all really talented and can sing and dance (circles around most of the big name actors in the movie) and overall it’s fun and was filmed live during an actual performance so you get the awesomeness of Broadway and live theatre while sitting in your PJs on the couch.  Also…there are major spoilers in this post so if you do plan on watching the Broadway production and don’t want to know anything beforehand – stop reading, turn on Netflix, enjoy a good show, then come back.  

Okay, with all of that out of the way…here’s my Newsies vs. Newsies account.  Right off the bat, with the Broadway production – they start off with Jack Kelly, our hero, singing about Santa Fe, which I thought made absolutely NO SENSE unless you’ve seen the original movie because the show takes place in NYC – entirely in NYC.  Why do we open a show about NY newsboys singing about a whole other city that’s not in the show?  Yes, the song Santa Fe is in the original movie, but the placement here – of moving a song that’s what 2nd or 3rd on the soundtrack, to the number 1 slot made no sense.  That made me shake my head for at least the first 20 minutes of the production.  

The one change that they made, that I at least understand, was they made the love interest and the news reporter the same person in this show.  In the original movie, Jack falls in love with his new best friend’s sister while having dinner at his house one night – there’s also an older reporter, played by Bill Pullman, that writes their story and gets the news about the newsboy strike out to other people.  If you count the parents, that’s four characters that would need to be cast and paid for – so, sure, turn the reporter into the woman – give her more to do (bonus!) and have her fall for Jack while they’re on the “job” basically – again, bonus, I love it!  It did make the song King of New York a bit awkward (as she’s a woman) but I could look past that honestly.

Now…here comes my big complaint and my biggest spoiler.  In the original movie, Jack and his friends sneak in and use an old printing press of Joseph Pulitzer’s to create their Newsboy union paper and get the word out about child labor.  It’s my absolute favorite song of the movie and I swear, I want to get up and dance and sing full out every time I hear it. So…maybe this is me just being protective – but in the Broadway production, instead of Jack knowing where the press is, the reporter woman knows the press is there because…hold the phone…she’s Pulitzer’s daughter.  What?!?!  Come on, is that even historically accurate?  And then…out of nowhere, all these other newspaper kids come in – William Randolph Hearst’s son is there and knows exactly what to do and he’ll fix everything.  I wasn’t a fan of this.  At all.  Like…I even went and looked up reviews to see if I was the only one annoyed by this and apparently I was because this little tidbit wasn’t mentioned in any review.   So…I digress there.  But seriously, the YouTube clip below is the original number – watch it, love it, be it! 🙂

It left an odd taste in my mouth for the rest of the movie, but…overall, I enjoyed the production.  I would watch it again – and probably will because the songs are catchy, the dance moves are fun, and the Broadway actors are top notch performers.  They made me root for them, laugh with them, cry with them (poor Crutchy!), and want to dance around my apartment singing for days.  They did their job!  I just wish they would have left out the weird…oh, by the way, I’m your enemy’s daughter and now it’s Romeo and Juliet thing.  No!

The other thing…and I just realized this yesterday after re-watching the 1992 movie, but Ann-Margaret’s songs are completely gone and replaced by a whole new one.  It’s a good song, and the Broadway performer is really great – but I’m wondering now if Ann-Margaret owned those original songs from the movie or if Harvey just decided they were too familiar with Ann-Margaret because of the movie and the Meadowlark on Broadway is very different.  Not sure…but both work, the character isn’t seen as much in the Broadway production and I had wished they would have left the big rally number in, but again, this is a change that made sense for time and energy – they would have needed a whole new set piece, a new song, more dancing and a fight sequence which would have cost time and money.

So it seems like I’m totally ripping on the Broadway production, and I swear I’m not – the original movie is so much a part of my teenage years and I hold a special place in my heart that it’s hard to see something new and different with the same general pieces.  I love the original movie, but I also liked the Broadway production.  Would I have enjoyed it more seeing it live, maybe – maybe not, I might have been more pissed off that I spent good money and was disappointed at the changes.  Or maybe I would have looked past the changes made because live theatre is so immersive and fun in and of itself.  We will never know.  I’m just thankful that people are filming live theatre and making it accessible to everyone.  That’s always a good thing in my book.

What’s your favorite movie musical?  Or favorite Broadway musical? What show are you hoping they film and make accessible to everyone?  My hope is Hamilton (of course) and Wicked – although I heard a movie is coming..anyone else hear that?  Do you love Newsies?  Did you see the Broadway production, either live or on Netflix, what did you think?  Let me know in the comments and remember to keep Carrying the Banner!

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Captain Tight Pants

So, I’ve somewhat left childish things behind me (except, you know Disney) but not crushes. Cute boys grow up to be handsome men – ruggedly handsome, that is. Growing up, I crushed on Joey Lawrence – had pictures of him on my binders and watched his shows, listened to his music – all the things you do when crushing on a celebrity.
Things haven’t changed that much. My current celebrity crush is Nathan Fillion.

Yes, I’m happily married….trust me, my hubby is aware of said crush…and encourages it…well, maybe not encourages it but he likes the man too and we watch Firefly and Castle together…so you know, he’s a keeper. 🙂

I watch the shows and movies (not all of them – I haven’t seen Slither) and listen to the music. What? He sings….check out Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog by the one and only Joss Whedon. I’ve watched him in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. I’ve watched him in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (that one’s hard though – he plays such an evil bastard). I’ve watched Firefly and Serenity. I’ve watched Waitress. I’ve watched Monster’s University (he does a voice) and I’ve watched Guardians of the Galaxy and tried to find him (he plays a big blue galoot in the jail who gets taken down by Groot). 
Oh….and I have him my Filofax.

Yup. I found that picture online and thought it was perfect. Printed it out and plopped it into my binder. I told you, things haven’t changed much. I also have a picture of David Tennant as Doctor Who telling me to write too.  He’s on the top 5 list too. You know, from Friends…the top 5 celebrities you’re allowed to have sex with.  Nathan Fillion, David Tennant, Matthew Perry, Joey Lawrence, and Paul Rudd. Unlike Ross, I don’t have my list printed and laminated though.

My childhood celebrity crush post was a bit embarrassing, so….here goes my huge secret….I follow Nathan on Instagram/Facebook and check his status every few days to see if he’s posted anything cool. I like things, but never comment…because if we ever actually meet in real life, I don’t want to be one of those people. HA  That’s pretty sad right?

Okay…fess up, who are you currently crushing on? Do you obsessively watch their shows and movies? Check fan sites? Write fan fiction? Give it to me….can’t be any more embarrassing than what I’ve shared.  
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Other Side of the Coin

Okay, so last week I told you about five pop culture phenomenons that I didn’t get until it was too late (although, is it ever really too late to join a fandom?)….this week, it’s the opposite. Five things I just don’t understand – and, trust me, you’re going to be upset.

1. Mad Men. I’ve seen the first season and I just don’t understand why people keep watching this show. I never found a character to root for or even like and maybe that’s the appeal to some – to hate each character, but for me, I need at least one person who has some redeeming quality, even if they screw up from time to time. I did like watching it for the hairstyles and the clothes and the mod sets, but that’s not enough to keep me watching. And it wasn’t the anti-woman stuff, because, that I get – it’s historically accurate. Annoying, but accurate.

2. Harry Potter. Okay, this one is going to get me in trouble….and it’s not the writing, JK Rowling is a great author and I can understand it from that point, but (and this is strictly personal) he talks to snakes. Snakes?! I hate snakes, with a passion – I’m terrified of them. I can’t watch them on TV or in movies (see the fact that I have never sat through an Indiana Jones movie as proof of this) and reading about them icks me out too so although I read the first book and sat through the movie (although my husband had to tell me when the snake scene was over so I could come back into the room) I just can’t with the rest. So, for now, the rest of the series is out. I’m sure they’re great…and I’ll probably have everyone and their brother yelling at me, but I just can’t get over the snake thing. Sorry. (Hangs head in shame and walks away)

3. American Idol. Or any reality tv really. When I worked in an office, the other admins around me would always ask me what shows I watched. When I would rattle off things like How I Met Your Mother, South Park, Friends, Castle, Psych, White Collar, etc. they would look at me and then ask – No, what reality tv shows do you watch. When I told them none they were always shocked. Always. I like scripted television, with writers and actors. Yes, I know reality tv is far from real and they usually have writers, but it’s not the same. And as a singer, people always assumed I watched American Idol especially – why? I’ve been through auditions and call backs and rehearsals. I don’t need to watch it every week, especially with Simon (is that his name?) – the arrogance of that guy to assume he knows what’s what annoys me and I’ve only ever seen about 10 minutes of the show.

4. The Sopranos. Not much to say about this one really. I’m not big into the mobster shows or movies (I’ve never seen the Godfather movies or Good Fellows and actually, I get these two confused when my husband talks about them). And since I’ve never actually had HBO or Showtime, this wasn’t right at my finger tips, but even still – this is just one show I never had any desire to watch. Sorry gambinos.

5. Okay, honestly, I couldn’t come up with a fifth one so I asked my husband and he said Sports. I thought that was a bit broad and not really a pop culture phenomenon, but he begs to differ. He watches baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Luckily, not all the time, but now that he has a smartphone he can check scores while in the bathroom (and I know he does) so he doesn’t feel the need to watch every game anymore. Thank you Apple. So…I don’t see sports as a culture phenomenon, but I guess in a way it is. I guess I could group the Olympics here too as I hate watching those…seriously, you take away my good comedies for this? Horse dancing, ice skating, and luge? What the heck is luge anyways? And don’t even get me started on curling. Ugh! Canada, come on! Pushing a metal tea kettle with a broom is NOT a sport.

There you go….do you hate me now? Can we no longer be friends? I’m sorry. I’m just being as honest as I can be about who I am and what I like and don’t like. I know people out there might be wondering about other things so let me know….what pop culture phenomenons would you like to know about? Doctor Who perhaps? Hunger Games? Cheesy 80’s Movies? (The answer to that last one is YES, I’ve seen them all)