I recently watched the movie musical the greatest showman and I must admit that it was not my cup of tea. Without diving deep into the details let me just say that my reasoning for the most part is because it was not in any way inspirational. It was not historically accurate, did not teach a valuable lesson or encourage thinking beyond the shiny surface level performances and the serious lack of content to the story line left me completely uninterested. The music was simple and repetitive. The opera singer did not sing opera. Most of the songs sounded generic, as though they were written for mainstream pop radio stations and they all conveyed the same basic message: that you should be extremely proud of who you are no matter what.
This was disappointing to me on several levels because I am a musical fiend. There have been very few instances where I have seen a musical without enjoying it. This one just did not resonate with me. With that said, numerous people have raved to me about this film, to which I say fair enough as they are entitled to their opinions, but I sensed a trace amount of hypocrisy whenever those same people became defensive and judgmental of my criticism and disagreement.
I want to offer a quick reminder to all that everyone does not always enjoy the same things, agree on everything or have the same opinions, and this should be both expected and accepted, always.
While on the subject of entertainment, I was also recently one of the one hundred twenty-eight million viewers of Childish Gambino’s this is America video, and I landed on the opposite side of my previous position where I very much enjoyed and appreciated it. I found both the music and the video to be brilliantly artistic, and an accurate reflection of the current state of American culture as it touched on the racism that continues to linger in our country, gun violence that is still running rampant, how desensitized we have become as we mindlessly stare into our smart phones with short circuiting attention spans, and the lack of attention paid to things that actually matter.
I realize that comparing this film and that music video is comparing apples to oranges. However, I was fascinated at how every person I know who loved the musical had a strong distaste for the music video, and this brought more of an understanding to me of how people tend to block out reality as it is often difficult to face and are usually more interested in finding any means possible to escape from it. Much like the coping mechanisms used in the depression era with movies and other forms of entertainment, we are still doing this, just under different circumstances.