Oh yes, I geek out about more than just books and Dracula. See in my world, where snobbery gets shot down by mental snipers whenever it tries to peek out, there exists an unabashed fangirl of most things Disney. We're not just talking masterpieces like Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. We're talking Oliver & Company, Lizzie McGuire and the cheesiest of the Disney Channel Original Movies (I'm looking at you, Brink). This includes everything in between, some of which I defend ("Phineas & Ferb") and some of which I will just say, "It's an entertaining train wreck." ("Hannah Montana" - thought I must state that a good portion of my amusement with this show stems from the fact that Jason Earles, who plays Hannah/Miley's brother, is older than I am... kudos, buddy.)
The other night I indulged in a Disney geek out of epic proportions - I saw Newsies, in a sold-out theatre, with a featured Q&A by director Kenny Ortega. Whether or not Ortega came to the show didn't factor in until after I already purchased the tickets. We're talking jailbait-era Christian Bale singing and dancing here, people. Nothing could keep me away from experiencing that on the big screen. Add to that the director/choreographer who got Bale to sing and dance, as well as being the choreographer for Dirty Dancing and the director of a certain cheesy Disney franchise which I do indulge in (shooting a snobbery peeker here) and, well, I would have walked from the West Side to Pasadena to see that.
After eighteen years in the vault, I have to say on the big screen Newsies impresses more than I thought it would. It's not great, but it is good. Story-wise it's quite solid and cinematically as a freshman directing endeavor it's ambitious in both scope and content. It's still Disney fluff, but it's good fluff. Fun fluff. Also, find another movie where Bale smiles as much as he does in this film -- It doesn't exist.
The benefit of seeing this screening wasn't just geeking out over Jailbait Bale and enjoying the movie on the big screen for the first time, it was the entertainment value of being in a packed theatre with other people who possess a similar, obvious love for this movie. This screening inspired me with the idea that Newsies should start a Rocky-Horror-style tour where you come dressed as your favorite character, sing along to the movie, dance in the aisles, yell back at the screen -- an elevated version of what occurred at this screening. This really is a movie that could benefit from audience interaction.
If this screening taught me anything, though, it's this: fluff movies that also inspire and instill hope are few and far between, and the lack of good, fun movies with this much hope are a contributing factor in the emerging cynicism of these young whipper-snappers of the late '90s-00s generation. Call it brainwashing, but I am one of the most cynical people I know. However, park me in front of a screen or TV and give me something fun, peppy, and emotionally uplifting and I turn (temporarily) into one of those perky, confident, hopeful, sing-songy heroines whose plucky persistence gets them through even the most troubling times. This lasts for about a day or two before I return to my curmudgeonly self, but while it's occurring life does seem more cheery and hopeful -- and THAT is something I think all of us could use a little more of in our lives.