How I Came to Love West Side Story:
West Side Story is a beautiful film which carries a very strong message, which is sort of a two-edged sword; the destructive consequences of racial/ethnic hatred and hostility and the often-ensuing violence, as well as the senseless of gang violence, arrogance and hubris. Yet it also carries a message that reconciliation between people, as difficult as it often is, is still possible.
As a devout fan of the film West Side Story who's also seen several stage productions of this great musical, including the newer, more up-to-date Broadway stage revival (which, although I enjoyed, viewed with a harder, more critical eye.), this is a hard film for me to resist. I go to see screenings of West Side Story, whenever I have a chance (the one exception being in mid-March of 2001, when a Sunday afternoon screening of WSS conflicted directly with my late dad's memorial, so I didn't go that day!)
West Side Story is my all time favorite movie, hands down, and I've never really been able to put a finger on why that is so. A friend of mine asked me the other night if I'd ever analyzed why I liked this particular movie so much. I told her that I couldn't really put a finger on it...that I just wanted to sit back and enjoy it. My friend told me about why she liked the movie "Arthur" so much; she identified with being frustrated about how romances had gone terribly wrong, but when a romance did come, with the right person, it was beautiful! I had never heard of the movie Arthur until my friend told me about it, but, in all honestly, from the way she described this movie, it sounded kind of slow for my tastes. I actually tend to like movies with more action to them, and that have a somewhat faster pace to them, but that's just me.
Not only do I go and see the film West Side Story every time it comes to one of the two independent, non-profit movie theatres in our area, as well as other places, but, believe it or not, I've even made special road trips to the opposite end of the state in which I reside, as well as to neighboring states, to see a screening of West Side Story. Why does a 50 some odd year old movie like WSS have so much appeal for me? Again, I can't really put a finger on it, and have never been able to. Hey..I think I'll just continue to sit back and enjoy it!
Sometimes I've had friends and family members come with me, while other times, I've gone by myself to see West Side Story. Although West Side Story definitely has its detractors, imho, it definitely earned every one of the ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year when it was released in late October of 1961.
Although I've found West Side Story to be enjoyable on TV, nothing beats seeing West Side Story on a great big, wide screen, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low. In fact, this great, golden oldie but keeper of a classic absolutely cries out for a great big wide movie theatre screen, for that's how it's really and truly meant to be viewed!
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