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    West Side Story; NOT just a teen movie:


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    West Side Story; NOT just a teen movie:

    Post  MPol on Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:32 am

    Hey there, folks! Much discussion has been taking place about the late "Liberal Lion", Senator Edward M. (Ted, Teddy) Kennedy after his recent passing due to brain cancer, that, after a long, tough fight against, eventually took the Senator's life. Although Senator Ted Kennedy's passing supposedly signifies the end of an era, there is one aspect of this era that, for me, has not come to an end; the love of many of the movies and much of the music of the 1960's; most notably, the venerable golden oldie- but-great movie/musical classic, West Side Story. As everybody here on MLW knows, and has been mentioned, get me talking and writing about my alltime favorite movie and there's virtually no end to it! ( lol!) Can you all stand another essay about this wonderful classic? (lol)

    Anyway, here goes:

    This is a post that has been percolating in my mind for awhile, and, having experienced a certain amount of scorn on other boards for talking about West Side Story, because many people consider this movie mainly for adolescents. This could be because most people, when they pick a favorite film or films, tend to pick films that they directly identify with in some way or other, and West Side Story is supposedly a movie that teens identify with. Having first seen the film West Side Story when I was still in high school, I can see why many people feel that way.

    However, over the years, I've been more and more inclined to believe otherwise. Contrary to what many people say, either explicitly or implicitly, the great golden oldie-but-goody movie/musical classic, West Side Story is not just a movie for teenagers, but a great movie/musical classic for people of pretty much all ages and from all walks of life. I can say this, because, whenever I've attended a screening of this great classic, I've noticed that people of pretty much all ages and all walks of life are present in the audience--pre-teens, teens, young adults, middle-aged, and older people.

    West Side Story, imho, is a classic that seems to bring people from pretty much all walks of life and all ages together, to share as one big happy, if temporary community, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low, as it's really meant to be viewed. Unfortunately, however, like all things, West Side Story also has its detractors. There are people who're upset by it, because, for whatever reason(s), it tends to hit too close to home for those who live and work in low-income communities where there's much crime, gang-violence and racial/ethnic tensions. Social workers, mental health councilors and many law-enforcement people, and average, ordinary people who've got issues that they have to deal with themselves, or people who simply fail to get what West Side Story is about, due to a generation gap, also tend to feel that WSS hits too close to home. They've frequently had to deal with racism, gang violence and the problems of substance and alcohol abuse.

    Many of today's young people, regardless of who they are or what walk of life they're from, have grown up listening to tinnier-sounding music and viewing schlockier films in which things are constantly exploding on the screen, in antiseptic-looking multiplex cinemas containing 10-30 cinemas that're shoebox-sized, with screens that look like super big TV's, plus the general admission and concessions can cost upward of ten dollars or more.

    Yet, West Side Story is proof of one thing: that really artistic and beautiful movies/musicals with style and substance can be and have been made. So, all of the above having been said, I'll also add this: Whether you're a devout fan of West Side Story like me, who's also seen some good stage productions of this great musical and rarely misses a WSS screening in my area, someone who's only seen this great classic on TV, DVD or video, or if you've never, ever seen West Side Story at all, I say: If West Side Story ever comes to the great big, wide screen, in a real movie theatre in your area, I say.... jump at the opportunity to see this great classic film on a great big, wide screen!! It's an enriching, fullfilling experience that you'll never forget.

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