Happy Thursday and New Year’s Eve eve! I hope you’re having a pleasant between Christmas and New Year week. I always found this one of the most difficult weeks to face. After running all year you have to just stop. There’s no work. No plans. Just yourself. So, here’s a movie that will get you thinking about how meaningful time is.
If you missed my Best Movies of 2021 list, here it is. Have a great day and even better New Year’s Eve. You’re doing great! Love, Karl.
Today’s movie: Tick, Tick… BOOM!
What it’s about: Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield), who would go on to create the hit musical RENT, is a struggling artist in the East Village in 1990. With his 30th birthday approaching, he deals with friends, lovers, creative block, and, of course, paying rent. Here’s the trailer.
Why you should watch it: Okay, okay. I’ve had more than one person this year tell me they hate musicals but hear me out. I think of musicals as therapy. They take a complex concept, break it down to its essential parts, and deeply explore them with over-the-top emotion to bring true understanding to a topic. That’s what makes Tick, Tick… Boom! a perfect movie musical. It takes the struggles of an artist, of a person facing down their 30s, and presents the journey through a heightened surrealistic vision of New York.
By framing it using Jonathan Larson’s rock monologue of the same name, director Lin Manuel-Miranda let’s Tick, Tick… Boom! moves like a stage play flowing from scene to scene that all adds up to a poignant exploration of time and how meaningful it is to devote your time and energy to something. Spoiler: it's the process that counts, not the outcome. Dramatic, I know, but that's why I love musicals. It’s 121 minutes.
🎬 Lin-Manuel Miranda // 🖊 Steven Levenson // 🎭 Andrew Garfield, Robin de Jesús, Alexandra Shipp, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, and Vanessa Hudgens
🍷 Loved Tick, Tick… BOOM! or already watched it? Try:
Inside Llewyn Davis | Starting in the Greenwich Village folk music scene in the 1960s before traveling to Chicago and back, Inside Llewyn Davis follows the titular character (a pre-Star Wars Oscar Isaac) — a failed folk singer — as he navigates money (he has none), relationships (he has none), his career (in the toilet), and a pesky cat (that’s always running away). Streaming on Prime Video.
Paterson | We spend a day in the life of a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver) in Paterson, New Jersey (my home state!!) as he spends his days writing poetry, going to the local bar, talking to his artist wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), and dealing with his pesky bulldog. Streaming on Prime Video.