Thursday, June 10, 2021

"In The Heights" is the perfect movie at the perfect time


2020 was a hard year, but you don't need me to tell you that.

In fact 2020 through right now has been hard. We are feeling lots of political angst. We experienced a once in a lifetime global pandemic, and sadly some people really believed it wasn't real. We saw social injustice occur. We've been separated from a our families and our friends and our communities and it seems we all didn't get through this passed year without any scars. On the eve I write this up, my home state of Illinois is going to be fully open. It's been great to see news reports of excitement throughout my state. I'm personally fully vaccinated, say what you want about it, I'm not here to debate you, but I am glad I got it done for myself. It seems we are slowly coming out of the dark, even though we have tons still to work on as a people, we are getting out of the dark.

It's a perfect time to go to your local theater and see "In The Heights."

Some of you may shy away and say eww, musical. But we live in cynical world right now, and for some reason, we are addicted to cynical stories right now. I don't know why you'd truly want dark superhero movies when the world around us is so dark already, but its the time we are living in right now. It helps me to see something as joyous and as broad-stroked as this. Something that makes you feel happy to be alive. We get one life, and you got to be sure you're happy.

"In The Heights" takes place in a neighborhood in New York City called Washington Heights. It's a closely knit community of diverse individuals, who are all trying to get by and make their dreams come true. Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) is trying to get enough money together to go back to the Dominican Republic and get a beach bar. Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Schmits) is selling his life in order to send his daughter to Harvard, while his daughter (Leslie Grace) wants to make a difference in her community. Usnavi has a crush on a girl named Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) who just wants to be seen through her art.

These people. Their friends. Their family. Their entire community. It all interweaves together. The community affects the people as a whole. The community and vibrant and they feel for each other. It's the type of energy we need so much right now. Not in just one community but in all communities. We can achieve our dreams together, but we have to try first.

If you caught "Hamilton" on Disney+ or if you actually saw the musical live, you know Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manual Miranda, who also makes an appearance in this movie. These guys have the goods and there are many great musical numbers and dancing in this movie. I don't know the backgrounds of the other performers. I don't know if actors like Schmits or Corey Hawkins or Stephanie Beatriz really sang, but its a fun watch all the way through, the music is so addictive throughout.

We need a movie like "In The Heights" right now. I implore you all to see this in a theater. Allow this thing to make money, lots of it. Send the message to Hollywood, loud and clear. Sing it out. We need movies like this right now. It's boisterous but its also human. A wonderful piece of pop entertainment that also means something true in all of us. Please pay money to see this.

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