When I heard that we’d be devoting this week’s posts to the topic of what film we’ve seen the most, I nearly fainted from excitement. A movie-related question? That lets me ramble on about a movie I love? Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Let me talk about that thing!
And so it is that I find myself writing about one of my favorite musicals of all time. Disney’s “Newsies” tells the story of the real-life newsboy strike of 1899, when Joseph Pulitzer and other newspaper giants raised the price of the papers for the boys who sold them. Singing and dancing ensued. Kidding, of course. But that’s how it happened in the movie!
I can remember the first time I saw it. My best friend Meredith’s mom took the two of us to see it when it first came out in theaters in 1992. I don’t remember much from that viewing, other than the auditorium was PACKED and Meredith and I had a ball. From the opening narration (“In 1899, the streets of New York echoed with the voices of newsies…”) to the ending credits when kid in the freeze frame fell back down to the street below, we were completely enthralled. After that, every sleepover we had was devoted to running around attempting to reenact the choreography and belting out what we thought the lyrics were, not to mention picking out our favorite newsie (I had seasons of favoring Kid Blink and Spot, but for the most part I’ve always been a Jack Kelly girl).
I practically wore out my VHS tape with repeated viewings. Anytime I found someone who knew and loved “Newsies,” it was like finding a kindred spirit. The DVD was a huge comfort to me when I went away to college, and I was delighted to have a roommate who attempted to learn some of the choreography with me. (Impossible. I maintain that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.) I own a Newsies sweatshirt, have dressed up as a newsie on more than one occasion, and one time I actually took a picture of a man just because he had once worked with the film’s director Kenny Ortega. DON’T JUDGE ME!
Since moving to East Texas, “Newsies” has managed to not only be a movie that I watch constantly, either alone or with friends, but it has popped in other random ways, such as that one time I joined a group that performed a version of the song “Seize the Day” onstage at a staff orientation event. (True story).
No matter what kind of day I’m having, it’s a comfort to know that certain movies will always be there, and they will always be the same. When I pop in “Newsies,” it’s nice to know that Jack Kelly will always be the smooth and swashbuckling leader of our boys. The songs will remain absolutely sing-along-able and the dances amazingly out of reach. It will always be more natural for me to sing “Carryin’ the banner tumpin tall” rather than the correct “Carryin’ the banner tough and tall.” I’ll always feel like Christian Bale is MINE because I SAW HIM FIRST. And I’ll always grin hugely when Jack Kelly lifts Les onto his shoulders to yell out to the crowd, “WE BEAT EM!” (…Spoiler alert?)
I’m glad a movie like “Newsies” is one I can say I’ve seen the most times. The story is solid, the music absolutely fantastic, and those boys will not fail to win you over with their charm, their determination, and their backflips.
It’s a fine life.