Newsies (1992) + SHELLI GOES TO SUNDANCE!
'A mezzanine seat to see the flickers...'
This might get cut off in your email so the demand this week is to open in your browser, spread the word about my Substack, and then tell me how many newsboy hats you owned in 2013.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and taking the next step in my career. Writing for major publications and indie ones with large fan bases has always been a dope dream come true, but I’ve been wronged/played by both throughout my career. Maybe those thoughts are one of the reasons why I’ve been singing songs from Newsies so much recently.
Newsies was a wet dream for Broadway-loving teenagers everywhere. It was a bunch of cute boys wearing hats and suspenders, fighting against the man often while doing dances where they humped the air—it was also very white. I feel like this is one of the films that people discovered at different times.
I saw it when I was in middle school and smack dab in the middle of my crushes on small androgynous looking caucasian boys. Think Rider Strong and Erik Von Detten levels of floppy hair and crooked smiles. It’s got Batman (Christian Bale), David Moscow (Big), and 90s dad to all Bill Pullman (Casper). It had a stacked cast, was choreographed and directed by Disney king Kenny Ortega (who also was choreographer on another movie I love, Shag,), and had a killer soundtrack….it’s perfect.
It’s based on the actual 1899 Newsboy strike in NYC, where a ton of newsboys went on strike and really fucked a lot of stuff up. I’m sure the IRL one had a lot less dancing and a lot more drama than Disney’s 1992 film version but the film was fucking good. They spend the entire movie fighting for fairness and one of them dreams about going out on his own and making it. It was a flop at first then, of course, as more teens got their hands on it as the years went on it became a massive success, and even turned into a Broadway play which…I think sucks BUT WHO AMETH EYE!
After a big breakthrough moment in the strike, Denton (Bill Pullman) who is a journalist/reporter/writer puts their story on the front page of the news and the boys are so excited. They get to be on the cover of a big paper, their cause gets some attention, and they are fucking amped—and so is Denton! He’s helped these kids by simply doing the thing he loves, writing.
Some of the lyrics made me think of how I’m going to Sundance this week:
A corduroy suit with fitted knickers
A mezzanine seat to see the flickers
Havana cigars that cost a quarter
An editor's desk for the star reporter
I gotta be either dead or dreamin'
'Cause look at that pape with my face beamin'
Tomorrow they may wrap fishes in it
But I was a star for one whole minute