Sunday, March 02, 2008

Carrying the Banner!


I don’t know what made me think of it. Perhaps it’s an unrecognized longing to return to childhood. Maybe it’s all this Christian Bale I see in the movies these days. But something has got me thinking about that fateful Tennessee summer day when my cousin and I decided to take a break from Bubble Bobble on her Nintendo and watch a movie.

A musical.

Newsies.

When I was little, musicals were as commonplace as mismatched socks around the Gates household. My mom had all the good ones (The King and I, My Fair Lady, Music Man, Sound of Music), and none of the bad ones (Carousel, Funny Face, Beaches). Repeated screenings at a formative age taught me a lot about Nazi-occupied Austria, the cockney accent, con artists, and the geo-political situation of Siam at the turn of the century. Very educational.

It also taught me to accept the fact that sometimes the main characters in a movie can just better express themselves with a song and perhaps a little dance. I call this “suspension of disbelief.” I do not accept my brother’s label of “delusional.”

So a movie about street toughs who sing and dance through hard times? Westside Story Lite? What's not for a girl to like?

Last year I attempted to introduce my high school small groups girls to the wonders of Newsies – a virtually untapped resource in their generation. I had them over for a movie night and watched the opening song with a fifth-grade grin on my face. The girls looked at one another and at me with their sweet, patient, patronizing, eyelinered eyes and an expression that said, “We are waaay too old for this.”

It’s a shame. You gotta get ‘em young, I think.

Yes, musicals are cheesy. Yes they’re historically inaccurate. They’re pretty long, too. But for me, nostalgia conquers all.


For those of you who are with me:

4 comments:

jannell said...

why aren't more demonstrations like this, these days?

CB said...

I LOVE NEWSIES! Well, I am the cousin that introduced you to it after all. And I must admit that I watched it last week for the first time in years! I have to say that I still have a bit of a crush on "jack" and would love to carry the banner for a day. And FYI your brothers use the word delusional because to my knowledge none of them can either sing or dance!

Katrina said...

I *heart* Newsies, too! Thanks for that--there's something satisfying about synchronized spontaneous singing and dancing. Life should have more of that.

Amy said...

Ah, Newsies! Mush, Spot Collins, Crutchy...what could be better? I'd like to keep a "cool" distance, but the truth is that there was a time in my life that my sisters and I would watch this movie in its entirety every single day. Were we pathetic? I'd like to think not. I think it's just a testament to us that we could be a part of something timeless. :)