If I learned one thing last night, it's that whenever Hollywood types are making a movie that calls for a young fellow who can act, pull off a few somewhat-convincing basketball moves and dance like there's no tomorrow, those Hollywood types call upon Zac Efron. The kid is clearly building a niche for himself.
I learned that because I went out to the show last night to see 17 Again. (You understand, "again" is just part of the movie's name; this was actually the first time I had watched it.) (Yeah, that was terrible. Sorry.)
Sadly, I do not have a patented Six-word Movie Review for you. Instead, I offer these three thoughts about 17 Again:
1) The world's most beautiful wife thoroughly enjoyed it;
2) I was well outside of the target audience**;
3) If you're the kind of moviegoer who would enjoy High School Musical meets 13 Going on 30 meets Clueless, you should stop what you're doing right now - well, after you read the rest of this post - and make a mad dash for your local cineplex.
Last weekend, I saw another movie that was a little more my speed - Every Little Step, a documentary about the casting of the revival of the Broadway musical A Chorus Line. (Not to be confused with Bobby Brown's 1988 hit song of the same name.)
That might not sound like the basis for an edge-of-your-seat movie, but ELS was really impressive. More than 3,000 actors showed up for an open call audition, and the directors focus on a handful of the front-runners for A Chorus Line's lead roles, through the ups and downs of the year-long audition process. For historical perspective, they weave in video and audio clips about the creation of the original show in the 1970s.
I have good memories about A Chorus Line to begin with because my grandparents took my sister and me to see it when we were kids - in fact, I remember my parents being gravely concerned that we would be scarred for life by hearing someone sing about her tits and ass. (Obviously, they were right.)
It's a rare and interesting look inside the grueling, anxiety-inducing process (apparently it was a big deal to get the actors' union to agree to let them film the auditions) and the personalities of the people who pin all their hopes on their ability to sing, dance and act well enough to make it through the next audition.
The movie is only open in select theaters, which as you know is movie code for "New York and L.A." (because who loves singing and dancing more than, well, New York and L.A.?), and it's scheduled to start playing in theaters in "real America" beginning May 8. For some strange reason, it won't open in Boise until late July, so if you're checking in from the greater Boise region, you might want to bookmark this page and come back to it after Independence Day. Otherwise, click here to see when it opens near you. When it does, give it a look.
* Thought I might pull in a few new readers this way.
** And in case you needed more evidence: In one scene, the main character looks nostalgically at a really really really old picture of his younger self - from his senior year of high school. Another character points out, in near disbelief, that the photo is from "Nineteen eighty-NINE!" Which is the same year I graduated from high school. Ech.