Archive | Past Matters

Six Swoony Vintage Meta-Musicals

After decades of being demonized as box-office poison, movie musicals are back – thanks in no small part to the millions of girls and boys still howling “Let It Go” more than a year after the theatrical release of “Frozen.” Last month, “Into the Woods” hit theaters, and audiences flocked to see the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Johnny Depp chew up the scenery in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Sondheim multi-fairy tale extravaganza. This month it was announced that a movie adaptation of the Broadway smash “Wicked” is under way, with Lea Michele and Harry Styles possibly attached. And Richard LaGravenese’s terrific film adaptation of the off-Broadway hit “The Last Five Years” is poised to hit theaters in the next few weeks. Starring Anna Kendrick as a stage actress in a stormy relationship with a writer (Jeremy Jordan), it’s as much about the make-it-or-break-it world of show biz as it is about millennial romance.

To tide us over until these films hit theaters – and because, in general, great new film releases are hard to come by in the dark days of winter – here are six vintage movie musicals about musicals that deserve a second look. Continue Reading →

Jingle This

In the midst of tackling a seemingly unsurmountable mountain of end-of-year work, I keep flashing on the orange cinderblock walls of my junior high school principal’s office. For a kid who did okay in school, I spent an awful lot of time in the principal’s office–no surprise, probably. Combine hormones with a deeply ingrained mistrust of authority, and I was born to be an 8th grade teacher’s nightmare. Also no surprise that I keep flashing on that pocket of purgatory right about now. My malaise: the holidaze.

Menino and Magliozzi, I Hardly Knew Ye

Although I recognize Tom Menino’s salt-of-the-earth goodness (he wasn’t called the “urban mechanic” for nothing), his death marks the first landmark Boston moment I’ve not emotionally responded to in my lifetime. I realize it’s because his entire mayoral reign (1993-2014) dovetails with my time in NYC. Have I finally become more of a New Yorker than a Bostonian? My new license plates would suggest so but–as I type this–I learn of the death of Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi, and it hits me like a ton of bricks. He was the best wiseass (and, ironically, crucial in keeping my car Sadie alive). It’s such a Mass cocktail of tragedy and oddity: two Italian-Boston working-class heroes with startlingly similar names dying within days of each other. I can’t help admiring the confluence even as I realize no one here will care. Oh, I miss my people. Maybe you really can’t take the Masshole out of the girl.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy