The Oscars are Sunday! Are you so excited? Yes you are who's a good boy! I won't get to watch till Monday because they don't air it in the UK and also sleep is nice, but I'm still feeling the buzz of Oscar weekend and all the excitement over what will happen, who will give great speeches, how the musical performances will be, whether the host will be funny. I honestly just had to look up who was hosting, I had no idea but I should have known it was someone named Jimmy. At least it's not the one who is now dead to me but like maybe someday soon we can have a funny host who is not named Jimmy? Or a white man? Why haven't Tina and Amy hosted? Please have them host everything.
What is this, 2015? Because I don’t have strong feelings about any of these movies being crowned Best Picture of the Year! To paraphrase Tracy Jordan, I guess I’m a horse because I’m about to do some naysaying. Sure, some of the below were fantastic but not “erma p this better win the Oscar it blew me away!” levels of Mr. Foxness. None of them were my “Dear Evan Hansen” of the year, is what I’m saying, if we look at this year’s Tony race for a hot minute for comparison’s sake. That show was objectively miles and miles ahead of the other shows on Br’dway this year (and most years) and deserves to win loads of awards. There was no movie equivalent this season. “La La Land” is kind of like “The Great Comet” in that it is the spectacle that is most impressive (but “LLL” has real heart and emotion and good music throughout, not just sporadically, so not the best comparison). And I j’adored a few others, but, like I said, not ‘Best Picture of the Year’ j’adoring. Which is why I said at the beginning that this year reminds me of that difficult year when it was between “Birdman” and “Boyhood”, one movie I RILLS didn’t enjoy and one that was good but not amazing. On the other hand, some of these movies were bad. You’ll see that one in particular was so bad and offensive that the fact that it was up for – and won some – awards makes me cast doubt upon the entire industry and all of its output.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is an important show for so many reasons. It’s a golden age classic with a memorable score that has held up today. It’s up there with other classics like “The Sound of Music” and “Singin’ in the Rain” in terms of how important they were to my upbringing and development. But most significantly, Fiddler is a consistent reminder to a people who apparently need consistent reminding that the fight against racism and fascism is a serious one, a terrible one, and an apparently never-ending one. “Fiddler” has never been as relevant in my lifetime as it is today, as we grapple with the shock and terror of the government discriminating against an entire religion again. Despite this fantastic revival closing over a month ago on Broadway, I’m still thinking about it regularly, about how fantastic this cast and production were, how moved I was at moments that I never really cared for before, how yet again theatre exactly reflects the struggles of humans today. I don’t usually write about things I’ve seen that have long since closed, but I have been thinking about it constantly and about how important it is to keep talking about the issues raised by this beautiful show and to add to the chorus of sane people who don’t think religious persecution is okay.
I don’t think any show has seemed more mysterious and fascinating to me than “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812”, a musical that was on my radar when it was still a dinner theatre production in a giant tent a few years ago. I didn’t get to see it off-Broadway or in Boston, but I was always enamored with how cool it seemed. What doesn’t sound amazing about watching an immersive musical in a giant circus tent and being served Russian food while people sing and dance around you? Well the Russian food I guess but still, so fun. Consequently, I had really high hopes for finally seeing this show, buoyed by the incredible hype borne from the spectacle and novelty of it. I barely even knew what it was about, except that it was an interpretation of “War & Peace” (hence the Natasha and Pierre in the title). And instead of getting to see original star Phillipa Soo, I would get to see the Broadway cast’s star Josh Groban (different role). Change approved!
I <3 Diversions
Entertainment is a ridiculously big part of my life. I grew up in movie theatres, so in my family you have to see pretty much every movie to make it in conversation. This pop culture knowledge has extended to television, music, and, for me, the theatre. To quote Abed, I like liking things, so there's that.