It’s Official: Steven Spielberg is Remaking ’West Side Story’

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    West Side Story won 3 Golden Globes, Best Picture and Best Actress (Zegler) in the Comedy categories, and DeBose for Supporting Actress. Power of the Dog was the only other movie with multiple wins, 3 including Best Picture and Director.

    Golden Globe Winners 2022 — List Of Film And Television Awards – Deadline

    This cements DeBose's status as frontrunner for the Oscar. The Best Actress category is still extremely competitive. Nicole Kidman won the Drama Actress Globe, but I don't think she's considered an obvious favorite for the Oscar. Zegler's win at least makes her a credible dark horse candidate.

    This should ensure a nomination for WSS among the 10 Best Picture nominees, but Power of the Dog is probably more of a frontrunner for Best Picture. We could see another split ticket vote between Best Director and Best Picture, as has happened so often lately (5 times in the last 10 years, and twice each for directors Ang Lee and Alfonso Cuaron!). WSS could benefit from that, as the more accessible crowd pleasers like Argo and Green Book won Best Picture even though their directors weren't even nominated. Several of these winning movies also dealt with themes of racism. Another musical, Chicago, also won on a split ticket. Although the reverse happened with La La Land, where the picture lost and the director won. All the splits since 2000:
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
  2. Greg Smith

    Greg Smith Forum Resident

    Well 2 and half hours flew by, most enjoyable cinema trip in a long while...
    I thought it was incredible how he made it look like a movie shot in 1958. The picture was obviously de-graded to give that affect, thought from a filmmakers perspective it's Spielberg's best since Catch Me if You Can
     
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  3. altaeria

    altaeria Forum Resident

    I wonder if it would've been more popular
    released as short segments in a TikTok series.
     
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  4. davechen

    davechen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD, USA
    I watched it twice this week and really loved it. The original is my favorite musical of all time, and I think I might like this new one better. I appreciate the additional back story of the characters and the gentrification/Lincoln Center angle that gives more depth. The singing and dancing are fantastic, and the acting is much better than the original IMHO.
     
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  5. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
  6. Number1TheLarch

    Number1TheLarch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Statesville, NC
    I didn't know "White Latina Privilege" was an Oscar category. :rolleyes:

    In other awards buzz, the two NY Times film critics listed their preferences for major category nominations. The "Should Be Nominated" mentions that each critic gave WSS is quite illuminating:

    From A.O. Scott
    Best Picture
    Best Director
    Best Adapted Screenplay
    Best Supporting Actress (DeBose)
    Best Supporting Actor (Alvarez)
    Best Supporting Actor (Faist)

    From Manohla Dragis
    nothing

     
  7. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    What!? That's insane, if anything is the emotional center of this story, it's Tony & Maria singing "Somewhere". I think I just decided to not bother seeing it.
     
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  8. Steve Litos

    Steve Litos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    In the stage production, a female shark character sings the body of the song "Somewhere".

    We did it like that in high school in the 1980s and I'm sure all stage productions follow that script.

    I'm not saying that one way is absolutely better than the other, but this is the 3rd way of performing the song (Doc's widow) and the 1961 Tony and Maria duet was the 2nd concept.
     
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  9. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are laughing their asses off somewhere - it's the most memorable song and central to what's going on (and not going on, i.e. there is no place for them), it needs to be sung by the main characters.
     
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  10. Prince John

    Prince John Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Nice to know you know better than the creators of the original stage production.
     
  11. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Nice to know blatantly invalid arguments can still find a home.
     
  12. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Location:
    Daejeon
    In the original 1957 production, 'Somewhere' was sung by an offstage non-character soprano. On Broadway, it was given to the Shark Consuelo, who sings it on the cast recording. It wasn't sung by the main characters until the '61 movie
     
  13. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    If it's sung offstage by a non-character then it's a sort of narrative device and that kind of makes sense. But I still think it's better to have Tony & Maria sing it.
     
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  14. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    Location:
    New York, NY
    I was surprised by the choice of Moreno singing "Somewhere" at first, but the second time I saw it (yes, the second time), I appreciated it a lot more. It's not just that Moreno connects back to the original film. Because her character was also in an interracial relationship, and likely experienced similar problems, having Moreno sing it sadly suggests a never-ending cycle of racial strife - a timely idea still today. Also, Tony and Maria have the Tonight duet, and then the wonderfully heavy "One Hand, One Heart." I'm not sure having them sing yet another ballad after that wouldn't have brought the film to a halt, to some degree. Yes, I know they do it in the 1961 film, but in retrospect now I feel it slows the film down and makes it too much "all about them". Having a different character sing the song suggests something more universal, a problem in society, instead of just two foolish kids losing control of their hormones. And with the idea that Doc has passed away some time ago, the song also expresses her longing to be with him again..."somewhere"...which I found quite moving; it became about something more than two young people wanting to run away from all their problems. The song becomes far more relatable, for anyone wishing for a better world, a better life.
     
  15. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Well, since we're all being glib now, how about that anyone criticizing the film's choices without having even seen it, has blatantly invalid arguments right from the get-go.
     
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  16. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Fair enough, I'll go see it and get back to you then.
     
  17. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I'm not sure that introducing Rita Moreno in an interracial relationship that pre-dates Tony and Maria's by decades was a good choice. It seems to imply that that kind of relationship was more accepted. She seems to be an accepted part of the community by both the Jets and Sharks. And the fact that she's a mentor figure for Tony makes his choice to date a Latina seem like it has more precedent and support as opposed to him taking a bigger and riskier leap into the unknown. And it makes the objections to his relationship seem more based on the turf war between the gangs than on the racial aspect.
     
  18. Number1TheLarch

    Number1TheLarch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Statesville, NC
    Correct. The original cast list assigns Somewhere to "a girl". And when a school or local company puts on WSS, the rider includes requirements that there will be no changes to casting or to song order (such as flipping Krupke and Cool as was done in the '61 film).
     
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  19. Number1TheLarch

    Number1TheLarch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Statesville, NC
    What, there was a theater that kept it around long enough for you to see it twice? (that's a JOKE, folks!)

    Yeah SS & TK focused on that in interviews that part of the rationale behind creating "Valentina" was to create a parallel White/PR couple. Of course that then begs the question, why do the Jets hang out in a store owned by a <insert anti-Latina epithet here>?
     
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  20. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    WSS is one of my all-time favorite movies and soundtracks. I have a wonderful audiophile reissue of the original Broadway soundtrack LP and love listening to it.

    I have very mixed feelings about the remake and was not planning on watching it, but this discussion has me curious and I think I might give it a view. I am going to try to go in without comparing it to the original, but that's going to be really tough.
     
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  21. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Maybe it's too quick for some, but this is touched on a couple of times in the film. On one side, the Valentina/Doc relationship came together likely long before the Latino population numbers increased to where it became a problem for the whites. One Latina married to a white guy who runs a local shop doesn't suddenly raise the specter of whites getting pushed out of their own territory. This just seems obvious to me, resonates clearly with everything I've seen in my own neck of the woods. Compare the idea of one Muslim woman married to a shop keeper on the corner, vs. a "traditionally Christian" town becoming half Muslim with mosques opening up and so on. It's the latter situation where the problems really come out, sadly. Again, I don't see how this isn't obvious in the context of the film, based on our actual reality. It's not as if all of the Latinos we see when the WSS story begins all emigrated fifty years ago. There are numerous references to certain characters being more recently arrivals, and how there are more and more all the time.

    That being said, the film doesn't pretend that there haven't been some problems all along, with interracial relationships. Valentina relates to the ongoing events, and sings "Somewhere" because she and Doc *did* experience some problems, being in one. But the changing of the times and the desperation in the community has just made things worse. I could guess that Valentina and Doc's relationship was not so much accepted, as it was ignored at best by the community at large. But we don't know, and having Valentina sing that song makes a more nuanced case about how things have been.

    As far as why the Jets hang out there, it is said that they never really saw Valentina as a "gringa" (Tony at one point says this to her)- because she'd been there a long time and they knew and presumably liked Doc. I don't think we know when Doc passed away, but we know that Valentina has known them all since they were boys. So the boys were always hanging out there, and Doc's death doesn't change anything.

    However, as racial tensions have built, and are now reaching the breaking point, Riff does treat Valentina very differently, he shows her no respect. The Jets have grown more disrespectful to her over time, much to her chagrin. They've become more violent, more desperate. Riff wasn't born racist. His negativity towards the Puerto Ricans has developed over time. With the gentrification going on, and this bunch of kids (Jets) getting older and feeling their lives are kind of dead ends, and their neighborhood is "going away" in more ways than one - becoming more latino on one hand, and getting demolished for gentrification on the other. So, this is no great mystery to me. We join the story at the right time - when an "us vs. them" mentality has taken root fully, and everything is about to boil over. Why wouldn't the Jets still hang out where they want to? They think they own the neighborhood. But also deep down, they don't know where else they can go. The quick answer would be - the Jets still hang out there because Valentina lets them, to whatever extent she does. There is no impression given that they have another place to go.

    Ah, and while the theater showing thing was a JOKE apparently, I'm glad to see that West Side Story is even now still playing today in at least three theaters within ten miles of my house.
     
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  22. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Logic aside, for purposes of the movie, it seems like the drama would work better if it felt like Tony and Maria were going out on a limb that we never knew anyone else did before. I'm assuming in Romeo and Juliet, there wasn't another married Montague and Capulet couple still hanging around advising Romeo.

    It's currently in half as many theaters as it started in:

    West Side Story - Box Office Mojo
     
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  23. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    Location:
    New York, NY

    I think a story idea in which a NYC neighborhood has never had one single white/latino relationship before would be an extreme stretch. The whole point of telling the story is that the Tony/Maria relationship happens at a very specific time, to specific people, when everything is at its breaking point. I guess you disagree with everything I said, because my presumption is that - while there has always been racism - I don't think that Montagues/Capulets equals Whites/Latinos, I think it equals Jets/Sharks. So, Valencia and Doc were not a Jet and Shark couple hanging around. I think it's a mistake to confuse the general population's response in the past, with the hotheaded, youthful responses of those literally in violent teenage gangs right as their neighborhood is getting torn down. The back story as presented in the film is more realistic, than this idea that it would be better if no white person had ever dated a latino person before. Maybe I'm biased (or maybe just experienced) but I'm in a different kind of interracial relationship myself, with someone I have known for thirty years, and in my experience the reactions of people to interracial relationships has changed over time, not always positively, and depending on the who and the where.

    I find it odd that you think there is a way that Tony Kushner could make "the drama work better", when the tense context between these particular people at this particular time is so well established in the film. Maybe this goes along with some people's ideas that racism just gets less and less all the time, but unfortunately that's not my experience. It's totally and utterly plausible that what was acceptable in Valentina and Doc's context, is not acceptable between two warring gangs living in near poverty.
     
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  24. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You're presenting the best argument for your side, but I don't think it gets over the hump that this change muddies the waters of the movie's message a bit. It's easy to see why the change was made. There was the desire to get Rita Moreno in the movie, and this rewrite was the easiest way to do it. But it still represents a change in the story that wouldn't have been done if Rita wasn't available to be in the movie. Whether the change is neutral or detrimental, I'm not sure, but I don't see it as an improvement. I think the original play and movie did make The more impossible the situation and the more out on the ledge the leads are, the more it adds to the drama.
     
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  25. Raf

    Raf Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

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