On Movies: ‘West Side Story (2021)’ – Gotta Wait a While Before I See It

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s midafternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on Saturday, December 11, 2021. It is a warm, even muggy early winter day. Currently, the temperature is 83˚F (29˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 59% and the wind blowing from the southwest at 7 MPH (11 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 87˚F (31˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 87˚F (31˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 66˚F (19˚C).

Last night Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story opened in wide release in theaters. It has been “in the can” for over a year and was scheduled for a December 2020 release by Walt Disney-owned 20th Century Films, but the studio (20th Century Films) delayed its opening due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, 60 years after the Mirisch Corporation and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release the Oscar-winning Jerome Robbins-Robert Wise film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical, the remade West Side Story is in multiplexes all over the U.S., including my corner of the Tampa Bay area.

I was hoping to see it in theaters – West Side Story is my favorite adapted Broadway show, after all – ever since I got wind Spielberg (my favorite filmmaker) was helming the remake. Alas, both COVID-19 and the breakup with the Caregiver put a kibosh on that plan. My now ex-girlfriend showed some interest in going, in part because her older sister had played a role in a non-professional presentation ages ago, but mostly because she likes to accommodate the men she is with. If we were still a couple, I have no doubt the Caregiver would take me to see West Side Story.

Now, if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic, I would seriously consider taking an Uber or Lyft to one of the nearby multiplexes where West Side Story is currently playing. I prefer going with friends or as a date night “thing,” but since I don’t have a “posse” like I did in Miami from the Eighties to the turn of the century – and because I’m involuntarily single – going alone is my only option. I hate going alone to the movies, but I’d do it for West Side Story or even Star Wars…but many of my fellow Floridians are anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, so…no. No Uber, no Lyft, no HART ride can compensate for my fear of being infected by a Floridian COVIDiot.

So, if I want to see West Side Story (2021), I’ll have to wait until:

  • I get my second Spikevax shot (and that’s still a week away)
  • The movie comes out on 4K UHD/HD Blu-ray

I also pre-ordered the West Side Story (2021) soundtrack album from Amazon, but the e-retailer tells me my CD won’t arrive until December 27, even though the album dropped yesterday. (I could have ordered the digital version, I suppose, but I’m too fond of physical discs, so….)

I can watch the Robbins-Wise version from ’61 on Blu-ray or DVD if I want, and I probably will at some point, but as a Spielberg fan, I guess I won’t be satisfied until I see his version.

Here are some cool audio samples from West Side Story provided to YouTube by 20th Century Films if you want to see what all the (Oscar) buzz is all about:

I don’t have anything else to report, so I will close here. Until next time, Dear Reader, 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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