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In The Heights (2020)

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6 hours ago, rmontro said:
On 6/13/2021 at 9:00 PM, Crs97 said:

 

That's interesting, I didn't see the play.  Are you saying they changed the reason for her leaving Stanford? 

I didn’t see the play either, but read its  synopsis that suggested the reason for her dropping out was the spoiler tag explanation I gave above.  (Am I supposed to use spoiler tags there?  I probably overuse them to be on the safe side, but wasn’t sure in this case if they were necessary.)

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5 hours ago, SnarkShark said:

While never living in the Heights, I visited it for various reasons many times, even before full gentrification mode, and that's definitely true.  It struck me a little watching the film, but I had the advantage of knowing the neighborhood a bit.  I am thinking they only have four leads though (I'm being generous since Usnavi is the only true lead, but three others control the narrative at times, plus Abuela, but I'm not counting her because she's mainly a plot driver for the other characters). 

I DO get it. The very Puerto Rican Ramos doesn't look Dominican.  The Puerto Rican/Mexican Miranda didn't either, and he played that role once. 

Benny wasn't supposed to be even partially Hispanic, so Corey Hawkins couldn't represent what a Dominican typically looks like anyway. 

I know Melissa Barrera is Mexican. Not sure what her character Vanessa is supposed to be.  It didn't feel like she was meant to be a Dominan character though, the way Usnavi and Nina were. 

So yeah.  It's up to Nina, right? Leslie Grace (Martínez) actually being (and looking) Dominican. 

 

From what I have read about the original play (I have not seen it), Nina cannot afro-latino.  There was a subplot cut out of the movie where Kevin has issues with Nina being with Benny, a black man.  That got cut when they decided to make Kevin a widower.  So, Vanessa is the only character that possibly could have been darker.  The discourse I have seen on Twitter about the colorism in the movie boils down to the two female leads being light-skin not Usnavi.  It could be that I am only seeing one part of the discourse, and there is more out there.

While I do get the disappointment, some of the stuff I have seen about the movie feels unfair to Lin.  Yes he can do better, he is human after all.  But forcing a creator of color to be all is not the answer.  I have seen this happen on Twitter almost every time a marginalized creator produces a new media.  It is never enough for some and those tend to be the loudest voices.  And sometimes no matter what the creator does, he/she/they cannot win.  The character can been seen as a token added so the creator can score some points.  

This type of discourse also does nothing to change the racist system in Hollywood.  None of the people complaining on Twitter were in the room where it happened.  They do not know what conditions the people holding the money placed on John Chu or Lin when it comes to casting.  And if John Chu wants to continue to work in Hollywood, he cannot name names.  

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While I do get the disappointment, some of the stuff I have seen about the movie feels unfair to Lin.  Yes he can do better, he is human after all.  But forcing a creator of color to be all is not the answer.  I have seen this happen on Twitter almost every time a marginalized creator produces a new media.  It is never enough for some and those tend to be the loudest voices.  And sometimes no matter what the creator does, he/she/they cannot win.  The character can been seen as a token added so the creator can score some points.  

I agree with you in spirit AND he wrote a play about a real place. That comes with more responsibility than creating a new Marvel planet, IMO.

I thought his response was good and gracious and leaves room for the fact that he wrote In the Heights as a college student quite a long time ago. That still doesn't mean that they couldn't have done things differently or better with the film, and acknowledge the world and our standards of representation have changed a lot in the years since.

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1 hour ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

While I do get the disappointment, some of the stuff I have seen about the movie feels unfair to Lin.  Yes he can do better, he is human after all.  But forcing a creator of color to be all is not the answer.  I have seen this happen on Twitter almost every time a marginalized creator produces a new media.  It is never enough for some and those tend to be the loudest voices.  And sometimes no matter what the creator does, he/she/they cannot win.  The character can been seen as a token added so the creator can score some points.  

All of this. Frankly, even though the criticism is valid, I’m a little tired of having discourse over every single thing. You can acknowledge that something is flawed without shitting all over it.

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1 hour ago, Spartan Girl said:

I’m a little tired of having discourse over every single thing. You can acknowledge that something is flawed without shitting all over it.

As am I. And this is coming from a black woman herself. We get about five minutes to appreciate a movie about a neighborhood and community that's never portrayed on the big screen before it starts getting torn apart.

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I just watched this and while I thought it was very lovely and nice I wasn't wowed.  It was very Lin-Manuel Miranda in the songs. Which isn;t a dig,  Each composer/writer has a 'voice' that is sometimes very easy to pick out across different projects.  Even though I was not left humming and nobody really jumped off the screen for me  -- it was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

I saw some of the commentary about the Afro-Latinx erasure.  A lot of the criticism I saw was pretty reasoned and expressed gladness that the movie was made and the fact that it celebrated Latino/as  unapologetically but also tempered that with some disappointment regarding the lack of prominent Afro-Latino/as, esp. Black Dominicans and especially in that neighborhood. Not all of it was shitting in fact lot of it was pretty nuanced. In fact some of the counter-criticism was of the "Well, I feel represented so screw you!" energy, LOL. 

I am of two minds...  I get wanting to just celebrate the accomplishment and not hold Lin to a different  (higher) standard than you would the larger Hollywood community. 

But I also get understanding the feeling that you're already are passed over so much because of colorist and near-white beauty standards in the larger context of Hollywood by white studios, when the same thing happens within your own community the cut is deeper.  And given the long history of colorism within the Latinx community itself too see even more erasure on such a large scale amongst a setting where darker Latinos live in abundance, it had to be even more hurtful. When the message is always that diverse content creators would translate to more diverse content, and yet it still doesn't happen and the same patterns emerge then it feels like a gaslight.

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See, the only reason I even went to see In the Heights the first time is because I thought it was going to be about the Dominican neighborhood. (Born and raised Dominican here). I was like, Bingo! Some Merengue on Broadway! So I can kind of understand that maybe the movie was not what some people were expecting, especially if they had not seen the show, and because of the specificity of the neighborhood.  However, the fact that it did not solely focus on Dominican culture did not stop me from absolutely loving it. It was still a celebration of Latin roots, it had vibrancy, joy, a sense of togetherness and belonging. So I will enjoy it for what it is, because I connect to it. But I am glad Lin acknowledged the feedback. When you know better, you do better.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting really good at apologizing to the woke creeps on Twitter.  He's just making himself an easy mark and they'll tear into him twice as hard next time.

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I saw this last night, and really enjoyed it.  I thought it was fun, fanciful (dancing on the side of the building!), and freaky (the arm dude in the pool!).  I haven't seen the stage version, so I don't know what was changed.  I feel like it painted a nice portrait of that neighborhood and its residents.  The music, of course, was fantastic, and I thought all of the actors did fabulous jobs -- not a weak voice among them.

It reminded me a little of West Side Story -- some want to stay in America, some want to return to the islands.  But it reminded me a LOT of Do The Right Thing, especially the Piraguero vs. Mr. Softee.  That scene during the movie was almost identical to the one in Do The Right Thing, but I really liked Lin's post-credit scene.  Both Spike Lee and Lin really captured the essence of a neighborhood.

I also loved the clothes!  The outfit Nina had on when we meet her was just adorable. 

I did have a few quibbles, though.  I find it hard to believe that Nina wouldn't be able to get a full-ride scholarship, even just for being a first-generation college student.  I also would have liked a little closure -- what became of Nina?  For that matter, what happened with Sonny?  Did he get his citizenship?  Was the $96,000 enough?  It might have been nice to use a little of that to help Nina so her father wouldn't have to sell everything.  Where did he go?  What happened to Benny?  So many questions!  So many loose ends!  I want a happy ending for all of them!

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2 hours ago, Browncoat said:

Both Spike Lee and Lin really captured the essence of a neighborhood.

Absolutely. Like I wrote earlier, I'm not from there, but pockets of the neighborhood are all over New York City, especially Brooklyn (where I'm from). The bodega, the beauty salon, the restaurant Nina and her father ate at, the taxi stand--all completely accurate.

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My thing is, I don't even think Lin needs do "do better". I understand the disappointment. I really do. But, I just don't need every movie to hit everything the way I need to be. Everything could always be "better" but I rather creators just make the movie they want to make. I can take it or leave. I don't feel the need to chastise them for any of it. If I feel slighted or offended  (which I never do if I'm being honest) then I just move on. I'm especially tired of these forced celebrity apologies. He made the movie he wanted to make. I don't need him to answer for anything. I also don't need him to feel shitty at such a great time for him with all the great work they all did.

Edited by Racj82
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5 hours ago, Browncoat said:

what became of Nina?  For that matter, what happened with Sonny?

They missed the opportunity with the jump ahead to answer some of this, I felt.

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7 hours ago, Browncoat said:

I saw this last night, and really enjoyed it.  I thought it was fun, fanciful (dancing on the side of the building!), and freaky (the arm dude in the pool!).

The dancing on the side of the building got my attention too.  All the more so since I had recently watched Fred Astaire's dancing on the ceiling scene in Royal Wedding.  It definitely reminded me of that.  The effects have improved a little since then.  And it also reminded me of West Side Story.

I was a little confused about the lottery ticket.  If Usnavi had sold the ticket, surely he was not eligible to turn it in.  His abuela must have known that.  I even wonder if she as a member of his family was eligible, but I have no idea.  I know he gave it to the lawyer though, so it wasn't an issue anyway.

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5 hours ago, rmontro said:

I was a little confused about the lottery ticket.  If Usnavi had sold the ticket, surely he was not eligible to turn it in.  His abuela must have known that.  I even wonder if she as a member of his family was eligible, but I have no idea.  I know he gave it to the lawyer though, so it wasn't an issue anyway.

Interesting point.  First though, I believe it’s said that Abuela Claudia isn’t actually related to anyone - just that she treats them all like her grandkids.

As for the ticket, one of the reasons you’re supposed to sign them on the back is so that a cashier can’t check the numbers for you, tell you it lost, pocket it, and then cash it later.  Otherwise, I don’t know what the rules are for retailers cashing a ticket they literally sold, even on a random quick pick.  It’s certainly not like the case from several years ago where a local lottery IT guy was able to manipulate the draw, and then went out and bought that ticket.  I believe he also tried to funnel his “winnings” through a lawyer and a shelf company.  In this case though, putting it in Sonny’s name and with a lawyer probably was the best possible plan.

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On 6/12/2021 at 7:55 PM, Megan said:

What year is this supposed to be?

I can't think of any obvious pop culture references or a specific peice of technology to date the movie, but based on the blackout I want to say 2003 or 2004, but this could be totally and completely wrong. 

On 6/13/2021 at 1:18 PM, SeanC said:

What exactly are the ages of the characters here?  Because Nina is supposed to be finishing her first year of undergrad, but she apparently has a romantic history with Benny, who seems to be much older (same with Usnavi and Vanessa).

In one of the songs it seems as though Nina and Benny were in high school at the same time. They may have been a few years apart, so maybe that's where the romantic history comes from. Usnavi and Vanessa are older than Benny and Nina. 

@Browncoat I think

Spoiler

you see Sonny in the big dance number at the end of the movie (but it's a blink and you miss it). I'm not 100% sure it's him, but if it is, that to me would indicate that he was able to get a green card and possibly full citizenship. 

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It was my first new movie in a theatre. (I did a private screening of Back to the Future last month). The story touches on classic themes of immigration, family, dreams, and love. I've never seen the original stage musical, but I will if a touring production happens again. It has modern elements, but it's also an old fashioned musical. 

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Chris Scott and Jon Chu talk about the dancing in the movie:

Graffiti Pete teaches choreography from the opening number:

 

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and the 'In the Heights' Cast on Premiering in Washington Heights

In the Heights discussion with Corey Hawkins, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Ramos, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Dascha Polanco, Gregory Diaz IV, Jon M. Chu, Leslie Grace, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Melissa Barrera and Olga Merediz

Lin-Manuel Miranda Breaks Down the Songs of ‘In the Heights’

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Dascha Palanco, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Olga Merediz, and director Jon M. Chu discuss the movie

 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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On 6/12/2021 at 7:55 PM, Megan said:

What year is this supposed to be?

Present day. I suppose technically probably 2019, but there is no specific date. 

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On 6/16/2021 at 10:46 AM, Browncoat said:

I also would have liked a little closure -- what became of Nina?  For that matter, what happened with Sonny?  Did he get his citizenship?  Was the $96,000 enough?  It might have been nice to use a little of that to help Nina so her father wouldn't have to sell everything.  Where did he go?  What happened to Benny?  So many questions!  So many loose ends!  I want a happy ending for all of them!

I agree with this. I just saw the movie this afternoon in a theater that had a pretty good "crowd" considering the pandemic. I never saw the play, never heard the music before, and really didn't know the story. So, leaving so many loose ends was unsatisfying. That being said, I did enjoy the movie. I wouldn't have cared about not knowing what happened to all the other characters if I didn't.

Having seen and heard Hamilton a couple of times, the music was very Lin Manuel Miranda.

There were a couple of homages to old Hollywood that I liked, e.g., the choreography in the pool that reminded me of old Busby Berkeley/ Esther Williams musicals. There was kind of a dancing water scene at the of Crazy Rich Asians as well. Also, NIna and Benny dancing on the side of the building reminded me of Fred Astaire (which someone else mentioned).

For some reason, I thought this movie was set during the same time as the stage play, but then I wondered about the Iphones and the whole Dreamers thing that is clearly post-play.

Also, when and where did Usnavi's father see the U.S. Navy ship? In the Dominican Republic?

(I hope Jon Chu is now working on China Rich Girlfriend. Looking forward to that.)

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On 6/22/2021 at 8:49 PM, Cotypubby said:

Present day. I suppose technically probably 2019, but there is no specific date. 

I assumed sometime within the last couple years, mainly because several times Usnavi made that annoying "Let's GO!" excited shout that I've only recently noticed dude-bros constantly doing.

Edited by dmeets · Reason: because spelling is imporatnt ;)

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I finally saw this on HBO Max.  I was actually born in Washington Heights, never lived there (lived in the Bronx) but always had friends there, and my husband was born and grew up there.  We saw the play on Broadway, so we were very excited to see this.  I will say that in general we loved it but both of us had some annoying quibbles with it.  I hate to be that person because I really don't want to have issues with it because of all the good it has to offer, not to mention calling attention to a community that has not had enough attention in movies.  

I will agree that the overall theme was uplifting and positive, and rang true in general.  I appreciated that spirit.  Plus I loved the parts that I felt were the most authentic, such as the apartments and the bodega, and the little abuela and how she dressed and acted.  I really didn't find the salon that authentic because it looked a little too much like a set that wouldn't have evolved that way by itself.  It looked like it was decorated by movie set people who were trying too hard to be authentic.  I'm sure most people wouldn't see that, but I did.  I was also a little put off because the salon women seemed a little too cartoon caricature-like to feel real.

I also loved the street scenes and the intersections they chose to use.  I remember my husband's best friend, who was Puerto Rican, lived in an apartment at one time that had one of those awesome views of the GW bridge, like from very close-up.  We used to hang out of the fire escape to see the view.  Before that he lived further down on a skinny block where we used to hang out on the fire escape watching the cars play "chicken" with each other.  Yeah, that was the REAL Washington Heights of back in the day, not the more sanitized one depicted here.  I would have actually liked a little more of the grit of the neighborhood shown in this movie.

Something not too many people would notice is that the scenes filmed where there was an elevated subway could not have been in Washington Heights because it has no "el".  They were probably filmed in Inwood where the number 1 train is.  it certainly looked like Inwood, which is above Washington Heights, closer to the Bronx.

Plus, my husband and I never heard anyone refer to the neighborhood as "El barrio".  My husband and I lived in Hispanic neighborhoods in NY for over 30 years and never heard anyone use that term.  We always associated that term with the West Coast.

As to the colorism criticism, before I even heard that was a thing I was actually a little off-put by the casting of the two young women leads because they didn't feel authentic to me.  They didn't have that "NY attitude" first of all, plus both were of a certain model-like body type that is IMO pretty atypical.  Not enough curves!  Plus obviously not from the right culture.  So for me it wasn't about color as much as culture and body type.  I would have a hard time feeling like those women represented me if I were Dominican.  It would be just as personally offensive to me as an Italian American if they had cast someone obviously not of Italian descent in the role.  At least if they were not Italian they should be believable as Italian, and these two women were just not believable as being from NYC let alone being from the culture their characters were supposed to be from.  (I'm thinking of Viggo Mortensen in "The Green Book" - Not Italian but completely believable as one).  So when I heard that Hispanics from the area were not happy with the casting I really got it.  I think I would have given the movie a better review if not for that.

One criticism I have read from Hispanics from the area is that there wasn't enough racial diversity in the cast.  Washington Heights has always been a diverse neighborhood that way, and there weren't enough White or Black people in the scenes.  Sure in some areas it was and still is primarily Hispanic but I still agree with those that thought the movie didn't get it quite right.

I also felt that the movie had a few too many dance numbers which each lasted a little too long.  I would have preferred more storyline.  I get it that this is an adaptation of a stage musical (which I've seen) but I felt it was a little clunky because it wasn't adapted better for the screen.  My friend cracked up when I told him it felt like a two hour long Old Navy commercial, LOL.

After all I've said I'm sure some might ask how I could still say I liked the movie if I had so many negative things to say about it.  Well, that's kind of hard to explain, but it's true.  The things that were good were very, very good, and my criticisms by comparison are just nitpicks.  I can fully understand why people not as close to the neighborhood as I am would not be bogged down by that stuff.  It didn't have to be perfect to be a good movie, I agree with that!

 

Edited by Yeah No
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I finally saw it tonight and I loved it. A little long towards the end, but I never saw the show on Broadway, so I had nothing to compare it to. Easily the best movie I’ve seen so far this year.

My mom totally figured out it was Abuela who had the ticket. And I had a feeling the island setting as the framing device was a red herring. 

Obviously the best part was LMM as the piragua guy and Christopher Jackson as Mr. Softee. Also caught them using “You’ll Be Back” as the phone waiting music.

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On 6/27/2021 at 8:46 PM, Nidratime said:

 

Also, when and where did Usnavi's father see the U.S. Navy ship? In the Dominican Republic?

 

In the play, it was the day they arrived in NY, so I would assume the harbor there? 

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On 6/16/2021 at 2:56 PM, rmontro said:

I was a little confused about the lottery ticket.  If Usnavi had sold the ticket, surely he was not eligible to turn it in. 

Nope. Lottery retailers are allowed to buy tickets even from themselves. They’d may be investigated more thoroughly than other winners buy $96,000 probably isn’t a high enough amount to warrant a in-depth investigation. 

On 6/27/2021 at 5:46 PM, Nidratime said:

I agree with this. I just saw the movie this afternoon in a theater that had a pretty good "crowd" considering the pandemic. I never saw the play, never heard the music before, and really didn't know the story. So, leaving so many loose ends was unsatisfying. That being said, I did enjoy the movie. I wouldn't have cared about not knowing what happened to all the other characters if I didn't.

That’s exactly the way I feel. 

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On 7/2/2021 at 10:04 PM, deaja said:

In the play, it was the day they arrived in NY, so I would assume the harbor there? 

Pretty sure it was shown the same way in the movie. I thought the Statue of Liberty was in the background, or the prior shot.

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Something not too many people would notice is that the scenes filmed where there was an elevated subway could not have been in Washington Heights because it has no "el".  They were probably filmed in Inwood where the number 1 train is.  it certainly looked like Inwood, which is above Washington Heights, closer to the Bronx.

I noticed this too! I wondered if it was a different part of Washington Heights than where I have spent time (I spent a summer working there, right by the Armory), but it definitely jumped out at me. 

I saw In the Heights a second time in the theater, this time with my 80+ year old grandmother in our very rural, very Midwest, hometown that somehow still has an operational movie theater. I was worried it might be hard for her to follow - and it was - but she still enjoyed it anyways and said she'd like to see it again. It brought me a lot of joy to see In the Heights shown there, and to see people enjoying it.

 

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12 hours ago, hendersonrocks said:

I noticed this too! I wondered if it was a different part of Washington Heights than where I have spent time (I spent a summer working there, right by the Armory), but it definitely jumped out at me. 

I saw In the Heights a second time in the theater, this time with my 80+ year old grandmother in our very rural, very Midwest, hometown that somehow still has an operational movie theater. I was worried it might be hard for her to follow - and it was - but she still enjoyed it anyways and said she'd like to see it again. It brought me a lot of joy to see In the Heights shown there, and to see people enjoying it.

 

I think the pretty young woman whose name is escaping me was supposed to be living in that Inwood neighborhood because they showed the el at least twice and always with her in the scene.  But they didn't make that known to the audience.

I wish I could have seen it in the theatre.  Even though the Covid numbers are next to non-existent in my area I'm still not quite ready for that.  I am dining indoors, though!

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unpopular opinion. i couldn't really get into it. idk if it was my mood, but i was SO. ANNOYED. at everything on the screen. except cinematography. GORGEOUS movie.

i turned it off (HBO MAX) after song #9753782 that was about what the person was currently doing (literally, just doing it and singing about it).

I'll need to give it another chance but i can't bring myself to going in again remembering the emotions i felt during the first try lol (the attempt happened the weekend it came out. and didn't repeat since...)

and it's uncharacteristic. i usually like musicals and music movies (well i didn't like Book of Mormon, probably because of high expectations. i was going in for the best most original musical ever and got derivative music and very flat humor. lol)

Yeah... i'm kinda sad this one didn't land for me...(yet?)

Edited by vavera4ka

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7 hours ago, vavera4ka said:

unpopular opinion. i couldn't really get into it. idk if it was my mood, but i was SO. ANNOYED. at everything on the screen. except cinematography. GORGEOUS movie.

i turned it off (HBO MAX) after song #9753782 that was about what the person was currently doing (literally, just doing it and singing about it).

I'll need to give it another chance but i can't bring myself to going in again remembering the emotions i felt during the first try lol (the attempt happened the weekend it came out. and didn't repeat since...)

and it's uncharacteristic. i usually like musicals and music movies (well i didn't like Book of Mormon, probably because of high expectations. i was going in for the best most original musical ever and got derivative music and very flat humor. lol)

Yeah... i'm kinda sad this one didn't land for me...(yet?)

My advice is give it some time and watch it again fresh when you're in a different frame of mind.  I admit that if you go in expecting it to be as blow-away as "Hamilton" you'll be disappointed.  Close but no cigar as they say....

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On 7/9/2021 at 12:31 AM, Yeah No said:

My advice is give it some time and watch it again fresh when you're in a different frame of mind.  I admit that if you go in expecting it to be as blow-away as "Hamilton" you'll be disappointed.  Close but no cigar as they say....

Well Miranda did write In The Heights before Hamilton.  You can definitely see some of the seeds that flowered into Hamilton. 
 

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3 hours ago, Hanahope said:

Well Miranda did write In The Heights before Hamilton.  You can definitely see some of the seeds that flowered into Hamilton. 
 

To me, the big weakness of this play/movie is that none of the songs stand alone outside of the play/movie's context.  With Hamilton, you could say "History Has Its Eye On You," "Wait For It," and "It's Quiet Uptown" could be standalones with some tweaks.

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I've seen this movie a couple times now, including shortly after it came out,. I get into this weird cycle with movie musicals where they almost invariably disappoint me, but I still keep holding out hope for them, even ones that actively don't look great. In the case of In the Heights, the trailers looked amazing and got me psyched, and I love the show so much that I badly wanted it to be awesome.

On many levels, the movie really validated my hopes for it. Jon M. Chu has such a flair for shooting numbers in an engaging, cinematic way. I thought pretty much every song was shot so well - he maintained something of the spirit of a stage show while still making it feel like a movie. I loved the theatrical flair of using the dancers to create the flashbacks in "Paciencia y Fe," the opening number was really sharp and fun, "96,000" was such a spectacle, and the dancing on the side of the building in "When the Sun Goes Down" was gorgeous (BTW, they did that with practical effects, creating a building facade on a giant platform that could move.) I also thought Chu did a good job handling Lin-Manuel Miranda's penchant for layering multiple melodies/motifs on top of each other. In songs like "Blackout" and the end of "96,000," the camera and the sound mixing draw your eyes and ears where they need to be to follow the different melodies and not just get overwhelmed in a confused jumble.

But while I grinning during every song (except for the ones I was tearing up over,) the non-musical scenes weren't as successful for me. I didn't think they were terrible or anything, but things dragged more and there just wasn't a lot that popped onscreen. It's like the song sequences were consistently in the 8-10 range, and the "book" scenes were more like 5-6.

I was a fan of the cast, even though my heart still belongs to the OBC. I thought Corey Hawkins was a great Benny, Anthony Ramos brought a really nice presence to Usnavi, and Gregory Diaz IV was a lot of fun as Sonny. Obviously, you can't go wrong with Olga Merediz reprising her role as Abuela Claudia, and Stephanie Beatriz was positively adorable as Carla. I liked Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, and while Leslie Grace's voice wasn't quite as powerful as I would've wanted, I thought she captured Nina's character really well.

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