You never forget that first Broadway show that leaves a mark on you.
For me, that show is the stage adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.
Stepping (both literally and physically) into titular roles of Beauty and the Beast were Susan Egan and Terrence Mann. Last week, the show celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The production value was faultless. It was amazing how one stage could be transformed from an ordinary village to a mysterious castle in a matter of moments. The costumes were stunning and the cast were absolutely marvelous. Both Egan and Mann brought their characters to life in a way that felt like an ordinary couple falling in love, not a cursed prince and a bookish woman who are brought together by fate in a world that can only be defined as surreal.
I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I’ve seen quite a few Broadway shows over the years, but a piece of my heart will always belong to the tale as old as time.
Reboots have been the rage in Hollywood since the beginning of Hollywood. Over the last few years, Disney has capitalized on this reboot fever by releasing live action remakes of their classic animated films. With the success of The Jungle Book in 2016 and Beauty and the Beast in 2017, some might say that they are using nostalgia as a way to fill up movie theaters.
This week, the complete trailer for the live action reboot of Aladdin was released.
I have to admit that I am impressed with the trailer. It looks like a fun movie, even though a part of me will always love the 1992 animated film. I appreciate that the cast is ethnically accurate to the world that Aladdin is set in. Stepping into the animated shoes created in 1992 by Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin are Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott. I am also impressed by Will Smith as Genie. Though he will never be able to replace Robin Williams’s version of the character, I have a feeling that Smith will bring his own unique sensibilities and flair to Genie.
Will I be seeing the movie when it hits theaters in the spring? The answer is likely yes.
There are some illnesses that are obvious via physical symptoms. The various forms of mental illness are very often referred to as invisible illness because symptoms are not always obvious to the naked eye.
I have lived with depression for years. It often speaks for me when I cannot. The problem is that when it speaks for me, it does not speak the truth.
Courtesy of fanpop.
It speaks of my anxieties, my insecurities. It reveals that in spite of all I have worked for and achieved, I am still worth nothing. The people in my life are lying to me. I am worth nothing and the only place I should be is the grave.
If we have a conversation and my depression decides to speak for me, please pardon me. It is not me who is speaking, but one who has taken over my tongue and my thoughts. It is my depression.
The story of Beauty and the Beast is familiar one. It’s therefore, understandable that many writers have tried their hand at adapting the story.
In the 1998 Lifetime TV movie, Beauty, the eponymous Beauty is Alix Miller (Janine Turner). A portrait painter by trade, Alix has followed her father into the family business. When her father gets sick and is unable to take the next job, Alix takes his place. The client or Beast is the reclusive writer Lee Compton (Jamey Sheridan). Lee has been disfigured by a disease and has chosen to withdraw from the rest of the world. This piece of information is unknown to Alix until she takes the job, but being the professional that she is, she goes on with her work. Their relationship shifts from painter and client to potential lovers, but Lee’s anxieties may keep them apart.
As Lifetime movies go, this television movie is not bad. I also appreciate that this adaptation is a stripped down, bare bones narrative that gets the core of Beauty and the Beast without relying on the more traditional aspects of the fairy tale genre.
I recommend it.
For many a young and old literary nerd, Little Women is treasured classic.
2018 is the 150th anniversary of the release of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel of four young women coming of age in the mid 19th century.
The new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, by Anne Boyd Rioux, tells the story of how Little Women impacted both American and worldwide culture over the past 150 years.
Little Women was a smash when it hit bookshelves on September 30th, 1868. Since then, the book has become ingrained into the public consciousness. In her book, Ms. Rioux explains how each era viewed Little Women. She also writes about how modern feminism and modern female writers have used pieces of Little Women when creating their own works. Specifically, Ms. Rioux explains how Little Woman lives today in new characters and narratives. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls all have something in them from Little Women.
I will warn that this book is not for the virgin Little Women fan. It requires the knowledge that only comes via multiple reading and multiple viewings of the various adaptions. I really enjoyed this book. It could have turned out to be just another dry academic book detailing the history of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. Instead it is lively, entertaining and reminds its readers why Little Women continues to be relevant 150 years after it was initially released in bookstores.
I recommend it.
At it’s heart, Beauty and The Beast is a tale of two outsiders who find the companionship and affection that is missing from their respective worlds. That narrative quality alone opens the door for new and interesting interpretations of the classic fairy tale.
In the new movie, Beast, Moll (Jessie Buckley) lives with her family on the island of Jersey. Put upon by her family and more specifically, her overbearing mother, Hilary (Geraldine James), Moll externally goes along with everyone, but internally, she is screaming for a way out. Enter Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a rough around the edges outsider who may be the man responsible for a series of unsolved murders of young girls. Pascal is one of a few suspects who is being investigated by Clifford (Trystan Gravelle), a family friend who works as a police officer and has been assigned to the case of the murdered girls.
While the movie was a little too long, the narrative was fantastic. This dark and twisted fairy tale is neither simple or predictable. Writer/director Michael Pearce keeps the tension thick, always making the audience question if Pascal is really the killer or if he is being targeted because he is an outsider. He also smartly ended the film in the most un-fairy tale way possible, with just enough narrative leeway for the audience to ask questions about the future of these characters.
I recommend it.
Beast is presently in theaters.
The latest addition to Donald Trump’s legal team is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Like the rest of the team surrounding Trump, he seems to be opening more cans of worms than helping to govern the country.
Randy Rainbow’s latest video, RUDY and the BEAST – Randy Rainbow Song Parody, is the perfect parody of this political relationship that may go down in flames like the other political relationships.
Giuliani has revealed quite a few truths that, frankly, I am not surprised about. The only question is, which truth will be the final nail in the coffin that gets Trump out of the office?
Beauty And The Beast is one of those fairy tales. Every writer who has picked up their pen or turns on their computer has a different perspective on how to tell the story.
In 2014, another reboot hit theaters. Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the title roles. Unlike other adaptations, the narrative of the film is closer to the narrative of the original fairy tale. Belle is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who has taken on her father’s debt to the Beast. The Beast is a prince who was cursed and can only return to his human form once he has the love of a woman.
I wanted to like this film, I really did. While most of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations of recent memory have moved away from the original narrative, this film clings pretty closely to the source material. The problem is that I was underwhelmed and the lead actors lacked the chemistry to make me believe that they would hopefully have their happily ever after.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
- The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
- Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
- Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
- Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
- Lady Bird: A gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
- Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
- The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
- Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.
- The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
- The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.