All tagged Benj Pasek

Oscar Predictions: How Wrong Can I Be?

So, the Oscar are this Sunday and I, of course, feel the need to try to predict the future. I’m notoriously bad at it, I’m afraid, letting my personal feelings about films cloud my judgment where the general population’s opinions are concerned. It’s vanity, pride, and hope, all balled up into one overly-invested moviegoer. Regardless, I’ve done my best to set aside personal biases and have done my best to try to predict the Oscars in nine categories. Let’s see how many I can get wrong this year!

The Greatest Showman: Film Review

The sixteen-year-old version of myself probably would have loved the film The Greatest Showman. It’s a movie musical that paints with broad strokes of emotion, sings with melodies of gloriously exhilarating repetition, and it celebrates the misfits of the world, making the idealistic assumption that if we just believe hard enough, the world will embrace us. On one level, it is a musical fantasy and should be enjoyed by anyone who can subscribe to such misguided optimism. On another level, the adult version of myself wants to slap the sixteen-year-old in me for being so naïve, so eager to embrace such folderal and humbug. But then, The Greatest Showman is based on the life of flim-flam man Phineas Taylor Barnum, the man who supposedly said, “There’s a sucker born every minute” (There is no evidence that he actually did), so buying into folderal is exactly what this tale is about. To a degree, I must admit that I bought into this film. Even if it isn’t perfect, its colorful world of humbug makes you feel good. It’s illusion instead of substance, but that can transport just as easily.

Binge-Watching Christmas Songs from the Stage and Screen

It’s that time of the year again. For some, it has already started. For others, it will be ushered in with Thanksgiving. It is time to play Christmas music: merrily, joyously, incessantly. Growing up in my home, we had a rule that Christmas carols could not be played until after Santa Claus arrived at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nowadays, it seems we are pelted with them like soggy snowballs from the minute Tiny Tim climbs on the school bus in September. But who am I to be such a Scrooge when we are so close to Thanksgiving, even the curmudgeonly Theatre Guy’s heart grows a few sizes and he embraces the yuletide when it comes around. With that in mind (and heart), I thought I’d put together a collage of Christmas Caroling clips of songs from movies, television and stage musicals for all of us to celebrate the countdown to December 25th.  It’s guaranteed to put you in the mood for the season.  

Dear Evan Hansen: 13 BETTER Reasons Why

In its own right, Dear Evan Hansen is a thrilling and topical musical addressing the isolation so many of us feel. In this day and age, bullying leads to suicide, anxiety leads to building protective walls. Dear Evan Hansen demonstrates how the arts can respond to societal ills and makes a case for our individual and collective healing through the catharsis of relevant and timely musical theatre. It’s an inspiring story about how one of these disconnected people, frozen by their own inability to reach past their self-prescribed detachment, finally learns how to break down the walls that have crippled him with anxiety and depression. Sure, it comes with its complications and a handful of misconceptions and lies, but it is essentially a fairy tale for those of us who have felt, like Evan, that we are invisible and/or unworthy.