Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' sees critics and paying audiences part ways

Full disclosure: I despise Steven Spielberg movies and dislike both Romeo and Juliet and the 1961 West Side Story (WSS) movie.  For that reason, I take particular delight in noting that Steven Spielberg's remake of WSS may have enthralled critics, but no one is rushing to see it.  And no wonder, given that it's so darn woke that parts of it are in a language most Americans don't speak, but Spielberg refused to include subtitles.

Let me quickly get through my biases.  I hate Steven Spielberg movies because I find them overblown, predictable, and incredibly boring.  I also dislike the way he presents children.  I gather from watching bios of him that he was an unpleasant little boy, and so are his characters.  Some say they're realistic; I say they're too disagreeable to be trapped with for a movie's duration.

I dislike Romeo and Juliet because it's hard to imagine two more nincompoopish young people.  At every opportunity, they take the stupid, thoughtless path.  There's nothing romantic about that.  The only thing that makes sense to me is the contention that Shakespeare didn't write the play as a romance; he wrote it as a cautionary tale holding that impulsive young people should never be trusted to manage their romances and marriages.  Unfortunately, Shakespeare's writing was so transcendent that people loved the romance and ignored the message.

And I dislike WSS because the primitive pop psychology of 1950s leftists leaves me cold, and the movie was horribly miscast, with every lead character, except Rita Moreno, being embarrassingly bad.  I also dislike Marni Nixon's voice (she dubbed Natalie Wood's singing).  The opening Jets ballet is kind of fun in a '50s style, but everything else...meh.

You may disagree with me and probably will.  My answer is that nobody will ever accuse me of following the crowd.

The above gets me to Spielberg's new WSS, which is an amalgam of everything I dislike most, especially Spielberg himself.  Add to this mix the fact that Tony Kushner — the hard-left playwright who worked with Spielberg on Munich, a pro-Palestinian movie — doctored the script to play up the woke angle.

Image: Steven Spielberg (edited in befunky).  YouTube screen grab.

John Nolte, who likes the original WSS, explains just how awful the remake is:

Spielberg openly sought to appease the most out-of-touch and fascist members of our society — left-wing racial activists. In this case, he sought them out in the crybaby, Puerto Rican activist community. This is a terrible idea, most especially for an artist. Racial activists in no way reflect what everyday Americans think or feel or want, and this includes Puerto Rican Americans.

Spielberg's racial patronizing was so pathetic, he decided to punish and exclude anyone who's not bilingual by not including subtitles in scenes where everyone speaks Spanish.

"If I subtitled the Spanish I'd simply be doubling down on the English and giving English the power over the Spanish," the virtue-signaling Spielberg squeaked from his gerbil cage.

What does that even mean?!?!

I'll tell you what it means… It means his West Side Story remake is more homework than entertaining.

Nolte quotes from an NBC article about the re-education portion of the movie (emphasis from Nolte):

In the new movie, Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner work to correct the original musical and movie's stereotypical depictionsadding more specificity and historical context around the Puerto Rican experience, and around the issues of racism and racial hostility.

Such animosity first becomes evident when the Jets vandalize a mural of the Puerto Rican flag with a quotation from Pedro Albizu Campos, the leading figure of the Puerto Rican independence movement. The quote reads, "la patria es valor y sacrificio," Spanish for "the homeland is value and sacrifice."

"Once you see that and you notice that the flag is the light blue flag, which is the original color of the Puerto Rican flag" before the U.S. colonized Puerto Rico in 1898 after the Spanish-American War."

Well, I feel appropriately politically indoctrinated now...

The good news is that, despite movie critics (most of whom are leftists) raving about the movie, the public isn't buying.  Nolte writes that, while Spielberg's WSS cost $100 million to make, the movie barely broke $10 million on its debut weekend.  Deadline tries to explain away the numbers by crying "COVID," but Nolte points out that everyone knew about COVID going in but still expected better of the movie.  Hollywood misread America.

To all of which I say, "Heh and bwahaha."

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