On Movies: My Odd Saturday Night at the Movies was…Odd

Hello, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in lovely Lithia, Florida on Sunday, December 5, 2021. It is a mild winter day, at least by the standards of the subtropical Sunshine State. Currently, the temperature is 79˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 57% and the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 6 MPH (10 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 79˚F (26˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 82˚F (28˚C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 61˚F (16˚C).

Last night I watched the extra features on the second (Bonus) Blu-ray disc from my recently-acquired three-disc West Side Story – 50th Anniversary set. I chose to watch the behind-the-scenes stuff rather than the feature film; I’ve seen West Side Story a few times on home media – on VHS in the late 1990s and, after I purchased the 2011 50th Anniversary Collectors’ Edition set for my mom a few years before she died, on DVD – and there’s a small (I’d say minuscule) chance that I’ll see the Steven Spielberg-helmed remake in the theater.

The second Blu-ray disc (which is billed on the Blu-ray case’s label as Additional Special Features) includes:

  • A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy
  • Creation and Innovation
  • A Timeless Vision

West Side Memories

Storyboard-to-Screen Comparison Montage

Trailers

I watched all of the extra features on Disc Two, including the grab bag of pre-release, post-release, and re-release trailers made to promote West Side Story in 1961 and for several reissues, including the 1962 post-Academy Awards re-release. They were all interesting, especially the documentaries about how West Side Story went from a concept in Jerome Robbins’ mind in the 1950s to an innovative Broadway hit between 1957 and 1960 to the Robert Wise-Jerome Robbins co-directed film that won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (which was shared by Wise and Robbins), Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), Best Art Direction – Color, and Best Music Score.

I saw most of those extras when I watched West Side Story in my mom’s “sickroom” a decade ago, but I had not watched them – at least not with great interest – since then, so I wasn’t in a “Why should I watch these featurettes again?” mindset. I did remember that Jerome Robbins, the original show’s creator, director, and choreographer, was fired by producer Walter Mirisch because his exacting methodology and time-consuming rehearsals were costing too much money. Even so, I felt as though as I were watching the behind-the-scenes stuff for the first time – even though I’d sometimes go, “Oh, yeah, I remember that!” during the 50th Anniversary interviews.

The behind-the-scenes stuff took a couple of hours to watch, even though I skipped the Storyboard-to-Screen Montage. But because it was still early (8:37 PM) when I ejected the Blu-ray disc from the player in the common room, I decided to watch another movie to pass the time.

At first I thought I was in the mood to watch 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which by coincidence was also directed by Robert Wise (seriously, like Steven Spielberg, the man could direct in many genres!). It’s not the most exciting or light-footed Star Trek film – they don’t call it Star Trek: The Motionless Picture for nothing – but I thought I really wanted to see it.

Alas, I got only as far as the part when Spock (Leonard Nimoy) helps Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) solve a plot-relevant problem with the Enterprise’s warp drive, which marks the end of the film’s first act. Since the 1979 theatrical release is slightly longer than the 2001 Director’s Edition, I knew that I was in for long and not-very-exciting special effects/cast reaction sequences, so I stopped there.

Next up: I tried watching the theatrical edition of Doctor Sleep (2017) without skipping one scene that I find particularly scary. I managed to accomplish that, but because I had already spent some time watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I was tired and stopped the movie at the two-thirds-of-the-way point.

After that, I started watching the third season opener to The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Video, but it was past 10 PM and I was getting sleepy, so I turned the TV off and went to bed, having attempted to watch movies from wildly different genres -and failed.

I don’t know what I’ll do for the balance of the afternoon, Dear Reader. I know I don’t want to stay at my desk all day, and I am not in the mood to watch any feature films. At least, not right now. I’m tired, headachy, and a bit lethargic at the moment,  and nothing appeals to me.

With that, Dear Reader, I think I’ll close for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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