Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Here Come the Newsies, Pt. 2


An Initial Reaction:

Well, I have to admit, it was good.

It was also pretty cheesy,
especially at the beginning.

And yet it was (kinda) inspiring,
if only because the Good Guys won.


(And yes, like a fairy tale,
the story was pretty black & white, Good vs. Evil
 -- Joseph Pulitzer played by Robert Duval is just a caricature,
a man all about $$$
wholly corrupt
[like Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
or Senator Joseph Paine in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)].

So naturally, if you're looking for a clever film
with ambiguity and complexity and semi-upsetting drama
of the most intelligent degree ......
then this movie is not for you.

But if you want to be amused, watching people sing and dance
and speak in fake accents, then
Newsies is perfect.)

I can see why Christian Bale, looking back, would find his role in the film troubling:
He's since preferred roles more perverse, and challenging
 : the machinist / insomniac with a guilty conscience,
 : the vigilante / superhero who adopts the persona of the thing he fears most
 : and psychopathic yuppie serial killer.
Here in Newsies, he plays a newsboy with a big ego but no parents and who dreams of moving to Santa Fe. He goes by "Cowboy" or "Jack Kelly" or (his birth name) "Francis Sullivan." and he's no stranger to juvenile prison.


I found the happy ending particularly unconvincing.


But no matter: I liked it.


There was something so childishly pure about the whole thing.
And the songs, despite my best efforts to "keep taste" and "uphold standards,"
made me stir with a strange yet strong sort of excitement
: like, "Maybe it is that easy! Maybe it's all just as simple as training some amateur actors to dance, get a threadbare historical premise, throw in ten million dollars (and the Disney trademark), and then put it out there and wait for it to Change the World.


See? You're already smiling.


Below is my favorite song form the soundtrack.
Give it a listen the next time it rains, and I'd bet ten million dollars (in Monopoly money) it'll still be sunshine in your heart.

Or something like that.

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