Thursday, December 28, 2017

You need something...alive.

I haven't been since I was six, but I still remember feeling it was a heck of a show on the ride home. I'm pretty sure my parent's friends took me (which was weird, even then [the fact that my parents had friends]), as they had tickets...but didn't have children. Of their own.

Uh, okay. Anyway...

We sat really close, and the elephants, the tigers, the sudden bursts of fire, shoot, even the dude dressed in purple flying all over the damn place (I'm going to assume via trapeze) were right there. All of it was amazing, and all of it added up to something that I would never, ever forget. Even over thirty years later.

But what I also remember about going to the circus that day?

That even while all this cool stuff was happening, the whole place basically smelled like shit.

Hey look, a giant party at Hugh Jackman's crotch.
Maybe I can be Margaret's + 1.
The Greatest Showman, like the circus it's based on, is a tantalizing assault on the senses. And with buttery popcorn in hand, something that could be easily enjoyed. Assuming of course, you don't actually think about what you're seeing. 

Admire the singing, admire the message, and by all means, admire the endlessly talented force that is Hugh f--king Jackman. But when the part of your brain that houses knowledge and reason kicks on, feel free to head for the exits. Immediately. On the bright side, you could already be in your car when the tent catches on fire, killing everyone inside.

Like a stripped-down, family-friendly version of Moulin Rouge, The Greatest Showman is an all-singing, all-dancing tale of the struggles P.T Barnum faced in developing the greatest show on Earth. From his humble beginnings helping his dad tailor clothes for the wealthy, his doomed venture as museum owner, and up until he basically conquers the entertainment world, director Michael Gracey's presents Barnum as the ultimate dreamer. A man whose relentless obsession with entertaining the masses/making stacks of money was rooted in the idea that his own kids would never know what it was like to be looked down on, as you guessed it, he was as a kid. Aww.

We are the all singing, all dancing, crap of the world.
The problem of course, outside of all the singing and dancing that everyone does at all times, is that I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that P.T Barnum was not the nicest dude on the planet (uh, to put it mildly). But in the hands of Jackman and a cast of handsome and talented freaks, see, he comes off as nothing short of a superhero. Sure, there's a little taste of some underhandedness at times, but with a wink and a smile from the massive Aussie, even getting screwed over feels utterly romantic. I wasn't looking for a thorough examination of Barnum's life or anything, but this story was so fake it might as well have been animated. Turns out it was, actually. But more on that in a bit.

Speaking of illusions that don't hold up, here are the Yays and Boos. My son and I caught this hours into our week-long holiday, so feel free to excuse our occasional utter joy during The Greatest Showman. We were so high on life, it was like we were floating through space, moments after the ship we were in charge of was blown straight to Hell.

These two handsome devils are the best.
And the song they sing in this scene is even better.

  • I don't know if this is a Regal Cinemas thing or not, but uh, Hugh Jackman fully thanked us for coming out to see the movie.
  • That opening number (Hell, almost all of them are) was rather rousing, was it not?
  • I'm sure it makes sense to most of you ladies, but according to this movie, Jackman can you make you pregnant with his vocal chords. To think, all this time, I've been using my wiener...
  • It's shady as Hell, but I was big fan of Barnum putting up his fleet of ships as collateral. Who gives a damn if they're a) not really his and more importantly, b) at the bottom of the ocean.
  • Oh, and another example of Barnum's smooth operating...after getting a real shitty review, he has a brilliant plan to drum of business: bring in the terrible review and your tickets are half off. I wonder if this works for blog traffic...
  • Rebecca Ferguson. ... ... sorry. I had a point. But I blacked out thinking about her. Again.
  • Barnum says something about people paying for the pleasure of being hoodwinked and that was the moment that I understood everything about my personal finances.
  • Well, it's entirely ridiculous, but the whole trapeze love song between Zac Efron and Zendaya was kind of...amazing. Imagine if the Hallmark channel paid Pink to choreograph the raddest Spider-Man fan film ever and you're close.
  • Remember when Nick smiles during that photograph in Gone Girl [review]? Well, we get something similar here, but maybe a little less damning. 
  • What are we supposed to think of a man that looks at his daughters standing their safely and then runs headfirst into a burning building? He's foolish, right? But then what are supposed to think when he comes out carrying Zac Efron? The only thing foolish is I'm still wearing pants.
  • If it's a hundred years ago, and you're in a bar (or a saloon, I suppose?), you better jump up on the bar and dance your f--king ass off. It'd be rude not to.
  • And finally, by the end of this film Barnum has figured out that permanent structures are way overrated. His solution? Why don't we just get a tent? I'm glad he's smart, you know? I only put this bit in so I could work in a boner joke...but I've got nothing. For jokes, anyway. Boners? Well...
Jackman, showing Williams The Greatest Showman reviews.
  • Thank you for your honesty, boy. Now I will slap the shit out of you.
  • I didn't watch a lot (uh, or any) of those early 90's Disney Channel musical flicks, but I'd guess everyone involved in this movie certainly did.
  • We all know some terrible dance moves that have somehow become popular, sure, but running off the f--king roof like an a-hole seems like a long-shot to really catch on, you know?
  • The General. What. The. F--k. I felt so bad, you know. Not for him, mind you. For us.
  • And speaking of, what the Hell was with the abundance of shoddy CGI? I'm pretty sure I saw Jar Jar Binks and Dobby the House Elf at one point. And they looked more believable than a tiger. A f--king tiger! You know, those giant cats that actually exist.
  • Hey, Mr. Barnum. I feel you're exploiting me as a freak of nature in your little circus. Well, if you're already ugly and shunned by the might as well get paid for it. So, when do we leave?
  • The Bearded Lady, has an epic f--king beard. The Boo? She totally trims that shit for the big show. Wait, what? She's the bearded lady for f--k's sake! Trimming that gnarly facial hair is like the Fattest Man sucking in his gut, or the small dude standing on his tip-toes. You're missing the point.
  • These angry dicks that give Barnum Hell are the worst. You work at a dock, dude. My advice? Throw yourself off of it. That, or shut the f--k up and put down the torch.
  • Barnum's wife came from money. Which clearly means her parents are f--king terrible people. 
  • What's next on the no-shit Sherlock meter, are you going to tell me there's a scene where Barnum's wife looks longingly at the chair he should be sitting in (instead of being on the road with his dam circus)? Well, about that...
  • Barnum is really a champion for the oddballs of the world. Like, totally. Unless there's some rich folk around. Then f--k those freaks in their tattooed arses.
  • Running into your parents on a romantic first date is likely a mood killer as it is. Now imagine your Pops is the Monopoly Man, your mom is a racist bitch and your lady-friend ain't exactly swimming in the same gene pool as the three of y'all? Table for one, please.
  • And finally, I feel bad for Hugh Jackman. Uh, why? you might ask, he's the f--king man. Well, I know this, I do. Jackman is about as great as they come, and I'm thinking somewhere along the way, someone got the idea that opening this f--ker near Christmas was a good call. You know, with it being award season and such. While the songs and overall production values were great, the cast charming and likable enough (Jackman being as earnest as ever), there is no f--king way this film deserves any major awards. Not unless I missed it when Worst CGI Elephant became an Oscar category. 

You might think that I didn't like this movie, but I actually had a really good time with it. Once my heart, eyes and ears teamed up to defeat my brain, The Greatest Showman was rather enjoyable in its own goofy way. Sure, it's got more cheese than a Pizza Hut dumpster, but at least it was fun. And at the end, Barnum doesn't vanish because he was imagining himself far away at a bigger circus.

That said, will I remember this movie thirty years from now? Probably not. But that little kid I brought with me? The one smiling when we walked out of the theater?

He might. And he didn't even smell all the...poop.


  1. I'll probably see this eventually but not in theaters. I can see why they wanted to open it around Christmas but the competition is just too much for it. I keep forgetting Rebecca Ferguson is even in this she's barely in the trailers.

    1. Honestly, it'll probably be better in theaters, as the spectacle is the main thing this flick has going for it (that and Jackman...and Efron, too), but I can't blame you (and everyone) for not rushing to the theater, you know?

      Matty and I liked it enough, but more pressing, WE ARE NOT GETTING ANY NEW MOVIES. It's ridiculous and infuriating, but oh well. Jumanji it is.

      Ferguson.....salbnaldbnapiem aefvasv. Yep, sorry. Blacked out again.

  2. The worst thing I read about this thing so far is that Jackman is not even shirtless. Good lord, if he ain't shirtless than what is the point of everything?!

    *sighs* yeah we all know I will watch that one. There is no way this can be worse than fucking Pan....and yes the tigers! They were in the trailer and I was like WHAT?!

    1. Not even remotely shirtless. In fact, most times, he's wearing like two or three of them.

      But, as you said, you know you are going to see it anyway. And also yes, there isn't a chance in Hell this is worse than Pan. I haven't seen Pan, but I'd bet my shirt on it. Hugh's too.

      IT'S A TIGER, for f--k's sake. They actually have those. Y

    2. Putting more clothes on him....Jesus Christ, the outrage.

  3. It's a shame Hugh Jackman won't be in Avengers 4 as Wolverine