Saturday, November 6, 2010

"West Side Story"

Wow. What can I say about this movie?
I really wanted to watch it, since it's a classic and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, 
and those are always interesting.
I should have known. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's
a few weeks ago because it was a classic and everyone talks about it...
and it was one of the weirdest movies ever. Granted, Audrey Hepburn acted her part beautifully.
But anyways. This post is about West Side Story.

I don't tend to adore old musicals. I know, I know. That's an unpopular stance. 
There are some that I love, but I like it better when there is less singing and more talking... and when there is a reason for the singing. Instead of just irrelevantly breaking out into song.

For instance, I feel like all of the singing and dancing down the streets 
doesn't really seem like a tough-guy gang activity. 
But maybe that's just me.

The story of Romeo and Juliet has always made me a little uncomfortable. 
It has the potential for being epic. 
But they are both so selfish and, my word, 
they're supposed to be what, 13 and 15??

I have to admit that I love parts of Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. 
The death scene is tragedy at it's most beautiful and heartrending. 
I wouldn't recommend the movie, though.

Instead of having the two families who hate each other, this movie has two gangs--
the Puerto Ricans and the Americans.
I was disappointed that Romeo (Tony) was American. Because the Puerto Ricans were awesome.
I couldn't stand Tony. He was unattractive, sang too much, and was just sappy, sappy, sappy. 

Not to mention his weird yellow sports jacket.
* shudder *

So the two gangs have this fight, which was (how do I say this nicely...) odd. 
I guess they were combining fighting and dancing. 
Eventually several of them end up getting killed by being stabbed in the stomach with tiny daggers.

In the middle of everything, Tony, the love of Maria's life (pfff... whatever)
ends up killing Maria's brother, Bernardo. 

Hold everything.

Something you should know: Bernardo is awesome. 
He is Puerto Rican and has way-cool hair, tries to protect Maria from Tony's creepy advances,
and he is just a really, really great brother.

So Tony kills him.
I hate Tony.
And Maria, thankfully, gets mad at Tony when he first comes but then she is sobbing 
and he hugs her and is like "I didn't mean for that to happen!" blah, blah, blah. 

Instead of screaming at him and stabbing his stomach/shooting him through the head/
pushing him out of the very handy window/scratching his eyes out (that would have been my choice)...

they sleep together.
X [

I am pretty certain that if a guy killed one of my brothers...
his chance for a relationship with me would be

In the play, at least Romeo and Juliet get married. 

The movie was worth watching because of Bernardo,

and because of the death scene.
At that point, I was so mad at Tony and Maria, that I wasn't that sad. 
But I thought the scene was well-done.
Especially after Tony gets shot and the police guy comes up and Maria freaks out, hurls herself on Tony's dead body to protect him, and screams "Don't you dare touch him!" 

I apologize that my favorite part is when he dies. 
There were a few other things I liked about it... I liked how it kind of involved racism, instead of just a random family feud like in the play. I was definitely rooting for the Puerto Ricans. 
The American boys were animals. 
At the end, after Tony dies, it was cool how the two gangs help each other carry his body off
 and comfort Maria, giving the impression that they have realized
 that their hatred of each other is not a good thing.

So have you seen it? What did you think?


  1. I haven't seen it...but your photos make me wary...
    I some how didn't picture the gang members in those skinny pants and tight shirts...ew.
    And yeah. If somebody killed my brother, (who was trying to stand up for ME,) even if it was an "accident," I would at least need awhile to work through that before I would be feeling too cuddly towards that guy again.

  2. I was SO curious to come and see what you thought about this. My friend and I tend to discuss this movie (and Breakfast at Tiffany's, ironically) when we talk about...


    movies we don't like.

    Ha ha!

    Seriously I couldn't even finish this movie and I'm impressed that you did.

    I hate Breakfast at Tiffany's but ended up watching because, like you said, everyone talks about it.

    What is wrong with people?

  3. I don't know much about this story and I'd never DARE watch the whole movie. My mom showed us a few clips from it though...but I'd never WANT to watch it. Weird, creepy...etc. ;)I didn't know Tony was to be so hated. o.O

    But I love the songs "I Feel Pretty", "Maria," and "Somewhere"...oh yeah, grand Broadway tunes. <3

  4. Music/song wise, this is my top #3 favorite musical (as in "if you take out the plot and leave the know). "Somewhere" is my top favorite song ever-ever-ever, I have like, fifteen different versions of it or something insane like that.

    I've always been a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet/tragic romance where-one-or-both-die-blah-blah. In that respect, I like the plot (and the end, of course. ;-))

    But content-wise, definately some major, major, *major* issues.

    So it's definately an iffy thing.

  5. Thank you!

    I just watched this movie about a year ago, because I am a huge classic movie fan and this is supposedly one of the best musicals ever. Ha. I hated it.

    And I agree with you 100% about the gang members dancing down the street. I love musicals. I am willing to suspend disbelief to enjoy a movie. I can believe that Judy Garland falls in love with the boy next door after one look at him in "Meet Me In St. Louis." I can believe that the girls who get kidnapped in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" can eventually fall in love with the brothers. But I cannot for one minute believe that tough, murderous gang members would dance down the street in broad daylight! :) The end was the best part, though.

    Honestly, I didn't even like the songs in this movie. Maybe one. And songs are obviously a very important part of musicals.

    I also agree with you about "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I love Audrey Hepburn, but that movie was so not what I expected. I didn't like it very much. But then again, I'm the girl who hates "Gone With the Wind." :)


  6. So, I love the music in this musical.
    Yet, I totally agree - the Puerto Ricans are AMAZING - especially Bernardo. (Soo much better Tony!)

    I like West Side Story, although some parts of it are not so good. The dancing is amazing. The singing ('cept for "Maria"...ugh) is amazing. And, yeah :)

    But, I really hate the ending. I guess I'm kind of sappy that way, but I really, really don't like the ending. Way to sad. Same way with "Gone with the wind" - the end taunts me!! I DO NOT LIKE sad endings. At 'tall.

    I guess I'm in the minority here, hehe. Oh well!

  7. I adore movie musicals, especially from the '40s and '50s. The musicals from the '60s are iffy...and West Side Story the movie hahs never worked for me. But I went to see it on Broadway when I went to NYC last year, and I was absolutely blown away. The show works so much better on stage without the '60s kitschy costumes and staging.

  8. I am definitely a tragic-ending type gal. :-)

    Ruth--I actually was thinking that it would be really cool to see on-stage... I definitely would if I got the chance.

  9. Agree with you...but we did have some pretty great laughs while watching it. Not sure if the director would have been pleased at our amusement, but some of it was just so FUNNY!


  10. This is one of my mom's favourite movies, and I really enjoyed it as well.
    At the time that I watched this though, I was going through a racism rant. I was in the midst of college American History and we were at the part where the Indians get mistreated and kicked off their land, then this and there was something else as well (either to do with the Irish when they came to America or the Nazis and Jews or both, I cannot remember). I really enjoyed the movie and yes I cried at all the right parts (I am a sap). I thought it was ironic that Tony looked Puerto Rican (at least to me). I guess the only part I would have omitted was the one where they slept together. I cannot remember the movie very well, but I think I would watch it again if given the chance. *So pretty and witty and gay!*
    Through Christ,

  11. I did not like it when I saw it about six years ago. I've listened to the music since and it always makes me want to see it again, but then I remember the ending. I used to think that I just didn't like the story of Romeo and Juliette, but I actually really enjoyed the old 60's version that we watched.

    Anyway, in my opinion, this movie is worth watching for "Dear, Officer Krumpke." I think that song is so funny and so sociologically interesting!

  12. I totally agree with you about WSS! The gang dancing is so very sissy and I hate the plot!
    I also agree about Breakfast at Tiffany's, it is such an iconic movie and I was very dissapointed in it. I just don't see the facination with it and her wardrobe is not all it's is supposedly cracked up to be! =P

  13. I did see it once. I must say, Polka Dot....I love your movie critiques! :)

  14. ha ha i pretty much agree with you there. i was pretty disappointed. but (like you) i loved bernardo...and the song and dance number "America" almost made it worth watching...almost. ;)

  15. I've seen it like one hundred times - at least. I was raised watching every musical under the sun, and in high school I did theater and sang and played music, along with everyone in my family; so....
    I appreciate it for the pure musical brilliance of Lenard Berstein, and the incredible, mind blowing choreogoraphy. (sp?)
    Yes, the costumes = odd. Yes, Tony is sappy. Indeed, the whole Romeo/Juliet storyline is a bit pathetic. All of these things are true.
    But The movie - and the Broadway show - are brilliant works of theatrical art. IMHO.
    PS - My favorite musical of ALL TIME is Music Man. Wonderful!

  16. I love West Side Story, despite and maybe even because of its quirks. But your post made me laugh really hard. Everything you said is so true! Hahahahaha :D I love your movie critiques. Oh, and I am so with you. Bernardo is way cooler than Tony.

  17. I actually love this movie! So does my brother. Although I couldn't help laughing while I read this post. I never quite saw it from that point of view. I do agree though that anyone that killed my brother would not have a relationship with me. lol

  18. Yup, I saw it. And I totally agree with everything you said....except the fact that you don't understand the breaking randomly into song. That's the beauty of musicals! You don't need a reason!

    But, Bernardo does have great hair, and Tony drives me up a wall. Actually, I liked the whole first half of the movie{With exceptions. Take out every Tony/Maria scene, or any scene with Tony singing} But, apart from the American gang leader, I was totally rooting for the Puerto Ricans, too. On the plus side, they all had cute outfits!! <3

  19. I would like to add one more thing. Though I didn't like the movie in its entirety, I sometimes goo on youtube, and watch my favorite clips, like "America" and "Dear officer Krumpkey". Seriously, those two songs alone **almost** make the movie worth watching.

    Kaley Grace. I feel your pain about Gone with the Wind. I wanted to watch that movie so bad, and my mom warned me! But did I listen? {PU-lease!} So I sat through 4 endless hours of sappy selfishness{and pretty dresses}and then it had a cliffhanger ending! I was like "WHAT?! What is this?" I was so mad. I fumed for days.{And then obsessed over her cute dresses!}

  20. marvelousme...YES! Exactly how I felt!! Grrr! I need to know what happens, haha!
    Scarlet reaally annoyed me, but the dresses WERE too adorable :)

  21. Hi there! I've seen this movie too and just HAD to comment because I agree with you SO much.

    Tony is cheesy and, yes, very sappy. His songs can be a little long-winded... and it's not even that actor singing! :P Bernardo is my favorite character too; he's much more of a man than any of the other guys. The Puerto Ricans are trying to survive in a new land where the Americans are just a bunch of crazy, creepy-weird boys (I repeat, BOYS, not men at all).

    I was very disappointed by the impurity in Tony and Maria's relationship... grrrr...

    Where I really enjoy the dancing and (most) of the songs, the best scene is definitely when Natalie Wood gives her dramatic performance in the final scene. She shows so much emotion and heart in that scene (not that Tony deserved it!). Anita's role (though she's not "innocent" like Maria) is one that I really love; especially since the actress was a real Puerto Rican.

    My summary: this movie is not worth watching. You can find the songs and the final scene on youtube. If you're dying to see those, go watch them there. I'm not a fan of youtube, but buying the DVD is a waste of money.

    Good review. Pretty much my feelings exactly.

    God bless!

  22. Bernardo=best part of movie. Everything else=horrible. That's just my two cents though! =)


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