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.
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: