Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, March 6, 2022, or: On Muted Birthday Observations and Other Topics

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on Sunday, March 6, 2022. It is a warm ˚spring day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 87˚F (30˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 38% and the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 13 MPH (21 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 86˚F (30˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 91˚F (33˚C) on this windy day. Tonight, skies will be clear. The low will be 65˚F (19˚C).   

Yesterday was my 59th birthday. I chose not to do anything special to celebrate; I was asked if I wanted to go to a nearby theme park or – at the very least – go out to dinner at my favorite Tampa area restaurant, Cali Viejo. I seriously considered going out to eat, but since both the Caregiver and her boyfriend are smokers and would have indulged in that noxious habit on the drive to the Colombian restaurant, I opted for the “take out” option.

So that’s what we ended up doing – eating Colombian food at home and watching West Side Story on Disney+. It wasn’t the best of birthday celebrations, but it wasn’t the worst, either.

And I remind you that it was my choice to not do anything. Partly because I don’t like going out on long drives with two cigarette smokers, but mostly because my heart was not in it.

As for what I thought of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story?  I enjoyed it immensely. I know – from the forums on Blu-ray.com and a few comments that I’ve seen on social media – that there are fans of the Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise 1961 film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical who are, shall we say, unenthusiastic about Spielberg’s reimagined take on the timeless classic. Some commenters said they didn’t think a “remake” was necessary, while others said they saw it in theaters but were not convinced that West Side Story 2021 could hold a candle to West Side Story 1961.

Hey, if that’s their opinion, fine. As my late mother used to tell me, Entre gustos no hay disgustos.

As for me, though, I have to say that as much as I like the 1961 West Side Story, and I like that version a lot, I prefer the newer one, which was written by Tony Kushner and has Rita Moreno as one of the film’s executive producers.

I plan to write a review of West Side Story (2021) soon, so I am not going to go into detail about why I think Spielberg’s version is the better one. I will say that the characters were a bit more fleshed out, there wasn’t the embarrassing use of artificial “browning” of Anglo actors in Latinx roles that is a blot on the otherwise fine production of the Robbins-Wise version, the overall look of the film – especially in exterior scenes – was more grounded in reality and looked less “stagy,” and the dialogue in the non-musical portion of the script was more realistic and less hokey.

As for today, I still lack the celebratory spirit. Not only is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the back of my mind, but I also miss my late mother – she died in July of 2015 – and my hometown of Miami immensely. The only bright side of living in Lithia – other than the obvious one of “hey, at least I am not alone and homeless” – is the fact that unless my half-sister Vicky makes a serious effort to find me, I don’t have to cross paths with the person whose actions – both actual and intended – caused the Caregiver to step in and bring me to the Tampa Bay area almost six years ago.

I don’t have much to add, Dear Reader, so I’ll sign off 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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