This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

The Greatest Show (#BOTB)




“The noblest art is that of making others happy”

― P.T. Barnum

P T Barnum (Wiki)
The Greatest Showman

          When I was a kid Oscar night was almost like a holiday type event.  Kind of like Halloween or Christmas for other people that you watched on television.  The night was a night for dreams and entertainment.  I probably didn't see most of the films nominated for awards, but it didn't matter.  That was a night where you saw stars and enjoyed a show.

          Then it all became over-commercialized and politicized.  Every year it seems to get worse.  Now not only have I not seen most if any of the films celebrated on Oscar night, but I don't care to see many of them.  The Academy usually gets it all wrong as far as I'm concerned.  Last year was a travesty that seems to support my opinion about getting it wrong.

          This especially came to my attention this past September when I first saw the film The Greatest Showman.  At some I had heard about this film then forgotten about it which seems somewhat surprising to me.  Then again, I don't keep up with new movies or entertainment news in general.  I was oblivious to the film's release in December of 2017.  Then last summer when I was visiting relatives I noticed the teens in the group watching the film on DVD.  Realizing that the film was about the circus and specifically one of my childhood heroes--P.T.Barnum, I made a mental note to watch the film when I returned from vacation.

         The film blew me away.  I was captivated from the first foot-stomping scene until the good-feeling ending.  Soon after that first viewing, I bought a copy of the film for my personal library--something I don't do much anymore.  Since that purchase I've watched the film in it's entirety at least ten times not to mention the extras on the DVD and song covers on YouTube.  The Greatest Showman has easily taken a top spot as my favorite film of all time.  This is due to a great extent to the soundtrack.  Every song is a winner with each contributing to the flow and theme of the story and still being highly listenable when taken out of context of the film.

         This is where my biggest beef with the Oscars comes so far:  How could the Academy have snubbed this film as it did?   I look at the dubious line-up of Best Picture candidates last year and have to shake my head that The Greatest Showman was not on the list.  I feel sad that a film of questionable value like Shape of Water was named Best Picture--it's a film that I will likely never see because I have no desire to do so.

         Equally abominable, but so predictable, was the chorus of critics slamming the film for an array of absurd reasons.  Reading some of the reviews (by the pros as well as the users on sites like Amazon or IMDb) I have some suspicions about some of the reasoning behind not liking the film.  Some are cliched while others strike me as ignorant.  In other cases I think the reviewers are almost talking in code to express an indirectly referenced agenda.  What's going on in those cases?

         From the public--the ones who really matter for the film's success--the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.  Considering that the film is now one of the highest grossing most successful movie musicals of all time and the soundtrack has sold millions worldwide, we unwashed masses who love the film appear to be in the majority.  This summer Barnum portrayer Hugh Jackman will be embarking on a touring production that will feature music from Showman. They are playing very large venues so there must be substantial fan base the show producers are marketing to.

         Of course it's all a matter of taste and subjective view.  I think The Greatest Showman is one of the best musical films of all time with some of the best songs I've heard.  Every time I've watched this film I feel uplifted and inspired.  Just thinking about it can move me deeply.  I can actually say that having seen this film has been a life altering experience for me. 

        Seeing all the outstanding YouTube cover versions of songs from The Greatest Showman I knew that I'd have to compile at least one Battle using one of the songs.  Rather than go with a more obvious choice like the Oscar nominated "This Is Me" (the amazing anthem of acceptance that should have been an Oscar shoo-in, but was instead snubbed with the sweet if not a bit cloying sentimental ballad "Remember Me" from the Disney film Coco), I decided to go with the big  theme song that introduces the film as well as ties everything up at the end.

          So on with the show--The Greatest Show--The Battle of the Bands...



Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.



The Greatest Show

       As the film The Greatest Showman first appears on the screen we hear the foot-stomping and the chants of "Woah" and then the magic takes hold.   To me every song in the film is an absolute winner, but "The Greatest Show" is definitely one of my favorites.  Since it's so difficult to pick just one song from the show I was tempted to use two of some of the great medleys to be found on YouTube, but instead why not just start with that iconic first song?   This is "The Greatest Show"!



HousePuzzle   "The Greatest Show"   (2018)

          This video is a collaboration by a group of artists and others from near Mexico City.   There's a lot of talent in this group as is evident in the video.  They use many of the characters and themes from the film production though they switch up the gender roles of the vocalists.  I think it works just fine and if you've never seen the film you wouldn't know the difference...






Second Floor Stereo  "The Greatest Show"  (2018)

        Here's the same song with a rock group giving it a heavy metal treatment.  In this setting the song works fine as far as I am concerned.  But you can judge for yourself...

       






Time to Vote!

     This ain't no disco, this is the circus!  It's the Greatest Show on Earth!  So come on and have some fun with us.   What's your favorite between these two choices?   Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday February 22nd
          
             Any rumors of me making some special announcement are hereby revoked.  I had some wild-eyed scheme under consideration, but wisely stopped myself from proceeding.  Besides, somebody else already put my ideas out there and hearing it all made me realize how nutty my plan was. 

             And with that I'll close this post with encouragement to return next Friday to see if your favorite song version won the Battle.  And if you haven't seen The Greatest Showman yet, you must rent it, buy it, or whatever--see it!  Then let me know what you think.

          If you saw The Greatest Showman, did you like it?  If not, why not?  Do you think the film got snubbed by the Oscars and if so, why do you think that was?   Why do you think a certain segment of people disliked the film so intensely?








50 comments:

  1. I'm not a big musical fan, so I haven't seen it. I have seen Shape of Water though and thought del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth was much better. I don't bother with the Oscars anymore. They get it wrong more often than not and it's way too political.
    Both versions of the song were pretty good. I'd give a nod to Second Floor Studio. Not metal, but I liked the heavier sound and smoother transitions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, I keep hoping that someday the Oscars will return to the fun glamour of old. I highly recommend Greatest Showman--it has a great message and it's fun to watch.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. I agree with your assessment of the Oscars and awards shows in general. I used to love the Grammys especially, but don't care for most of what passes for music, these days. I thought "The Greatest Showman" was a terrific movie, even though musicals aren't usually my taste. Hugh Jackman was perfect in the role. Given a choice between rock and something else, rock is going to win out, every time. ☺ Second Floor Stereo's version appealed to me more, so they get my vote. House Puzzle did a nice job, though.

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    1. Debbie D, I was actually surprised by last week's Grammys. There were some good performances.

      Again a vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. I loved the one from Mexico city. It reflected the feeling from the movie.
    Predictions for this year's winners: Roma for best movie, Roma for best actress, Roma for editing, Roma for costumes...anything else for Roma.
    The other nominees might as well stay home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I guess I'll have to see Roma when it's available to me. I've heard it's really boring.

      First vote in for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  4. I haven't seen the movie but it sounds great.
    I too enjoyed the one from Mexico City.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne, you should watch this film. Every time I've watched it or even just listened to the songs I am elevated to a happy state where I feel so positive.

      A vote for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  5. LEE, I have not seen this movie. I'm not even sure if I've heard of it. (I really pay *zero* attention to anything coming out of Hollyweird anymore.) But I think I've heard this song somewhere before. It sounds a little familiar, so I probably just heard it being played in some public place - a mall, a bar, a grocery store?

    I'll vote for SECOND FLOOR STEREO, primarily because of the lead male vocalist. Most times I seem to prefer male to female vocals.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STMcC, like you I'm fairly oblivious to much of the new stuff that comes out in movies and music. Since cancelling my L.A. Slimes subscription I don't even know what's playing in the theaters.

      I hope you'll give The Greatest Showman a view eventually as I think you might appreciate it. If you see it then let me know your review.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. Applauding from stage left. Your first two paragraphs totally describe my own history and present feelings. Now I'm intrigued to find and view this film! I can't say I'm a real fan or either band, but will cast my vote for Second Floor Stereo.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Myra, good to know I'm not alone in my opinions of the awards shows, but I knew I wasn't the only one. You should definitely watch this film. It's something the whole family can enjoy and if it doesn't uplift you then I can't imagine what would.

      Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. A Facebook vote from my Cousin Tom for...

    Second Floor Stereo.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've not seen this musical, but I agree with your assessment of the Oscars and any of the other award shows.. I don't even watch late night television any more because it's all just too political anymore.

    However, I have heard this song before. I'm voting for Second Floor Stereo.

    ~Mary

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    Replies
    1. Mary, even if I could stay up late I doubt whether I'd be watching any of the late night talk shows. On rare occasions I'll record one to watch the following day and I've always been disappointed.

      Again it's Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. I see more movies than you do, I think, but certainly not all or even most. As you said, these sorts of things are purely subjective. I have never been even remotely a fan of the circus. I went to one when I was a kid and actually hated it. But I can cognize why some people would like it and I would have guessed you would love them.

    Because of my avoidance of circuses in general, I did not see the movie. I do love musicals, however, so maybe I should give it a view.

    Of the two presented here, I much prefer the second one with the rock sound.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6-Gun, I've known several people who did not like or even vehemently hated the circus. I've never understood that, but then I'm extremely biased in favor of circus arts.

      The music in Greatest Showman is more modern than the traditional fare from the musicals we grew up on. That actually makes it more palpable to me, but it all goes back to that subjectivity. I'd say give the film a shot and then get back to me on why you felt the way you did about it. For me it has such a strong positive and uplifting message that I feel good even just thinking about the film.

      Again it's Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. Hi Lee - I'd go for the Mexican one ... and am interested to see Susan's nod to 'Roma' - which I've yet to see. I don't watch the Oscars ... but am always interested to a point in the films they select. I take my lead from our film society here ... always spot on with films they offer, and those we should see. Lots of interesting ones available now ... I prefer the more avant garde ones ... but I don't have your knowledge of being in the business. Cheers - interesting post to read - Hilary

    So the first one please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary, so far I've been hearing more negative than positive about Roma, but it intrigues me enough that I'd still like to see it. I tend to like a lot of weird ethereal films and that's what Roma looks like to me.

      Another cheer for Mexico! HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  11. I really enjoyed the movie as did my whole family. The songs were excellent and a solid storyline. My vote is for Second Floor Stereo. Both versions were well done I just liked the second one a bit more.

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    Replies
    1. Mike, glad to hear another favorable report about this film. I think it's better family fare than any Disney film I've seen. I've been recommending it to everyone who will listen to me.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  12. I loved the movie and plan to watch it again soon. I'm a big fan of musicals, so don't like it when their snubbed by the awards. Like you, I tend not to watch most of the movies the Academy likes...I want good entertainment, not weirdness.

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    1. Patricia, Yay!--another favorable report. I'll be watching it again soon I'm sure. The Academy has gotten into a lot of weirdness along with values that the heart of America isn't into.

      Lee

      Delete
  13. Neither really clicked with me, but Second Floor Stereo's cover was a little better for my money, so they get my vote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John, have you seen the movie yet?

      Again it's Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  14. The same happened with another legendary musical Moulin Rouge, which also did not win many Oscars even though it was massively superior to everything else. It is a shame NEVER ENOUGH wasn't nominated for a song together with THIS IS ME. I was also left speechless when Coco won the song award. Ridiculous. I bet Lady Gaga's Shallow won't win this year either. It is also shocking how Hugh Jackman still does not have an Oscar.
    We do live in a very cynical world which prefers violence, disturbing shocks and drama and bitter irony to warmth and wholesome values. So no surprise that some people hated the film. It is the same people who hate on Last Man Standing the only wholesome show left on this planet. They prefer killings, incest and butchery from Game of Thrones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dez, though I disagree about Moulin Rouge I think everything else you've said here is spot on. It is sad how the industry embraces so much that is violent and essentially evil. I guess the consumers are partly to blame, but then they go to see the films with the most hype.

      "Remember Me" was not a bad song but I don't think it was Oscar-worthy--it was a good recreation of what an old song sounds like, but it's not anything to get overly excited about.

      Hugh Jackman has done some great work. He's got plenty of fans and if the Academy is not among them then that's their loss.

      Lee

      Delete
  15. #2 gets my vote.

    Still haven't seen this one. The Oscars are over bloated garbage. All political crap these days. All that seems to get nominated, aside from maybe a few and animated movies, are dark and dreary drama depressing crap. They seem to have forgotten about entertainment and are always pushing some agenda. One of the best shows/musicals I watched recently was Galavant. Just fun and didn't rely on violence and dark and dreary and even poked fun at itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard of Galavant--I'll have to look it up. I don't need any more agenda driven films unless it's a happiness agenda.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  16. #2 gets my vote too! When I listen to that version, I immediately think of Panic! of the Disco and how lovely if they would cover it. I want to hear Brandon Urie's vocals cover this song.

    I saw this on the plane ride when I went home for Christmas. Going home is the best time to catch up on the latest releases because the plane ride is like 12-13 hours. It is looooong but yay fro new movies. It was good, I liked the movie overall.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ami, Panic at the Disco does a version of this song--it appeared on The Greatest Showman: Re-imagined album.

      Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpJ8CbrWX_Y

      You should watch it again in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  17. You've definitely intrigued me with the movie!
    That was a tough battle. I enjoyed both versions - but I think I'll vote #1 as I liked the intro and the variety throughout.

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    1. Jemi, I'd encourage everyone to watch the film and if they don't like it I'd like to hear some of the reasons why not.

      A vote for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  18. Lee,

    Your first contender, House Puzzle, did a good job but that's about it. They didn't really inspire me with their cover. It was like listening to a high school mewsical production. Contender #2 covered the the song better IMO earning my vote nearly from the start. I'm choosing Second Floor Stereo in this round!

    I remember the Oscars televised from my youth and having that similar feeling as yours but ever since the critics and judging panel began deeming movies based on their social or political agenda for best films I totally lost interest in their opinions. I don't even pay a bit of attention to the so-called best films of the year. I'm fairly confident they won't suit my taste anyhow.

    Thanks for stopping by to vote in my BoTB. Have a good week, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Cathy, I probably haven't seen most of the best picture nominees from the past 10 or 20 years. I try to watch the ones that win the award, but even some of those I don't care to waste my time on.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. Hi, Arlee! I didn't see "The Greatest Showman." I've missed most movies this year. However I will watch for it on cable. I loved the circus throughout my life, and I was sad when B&B ended in 2017. I enjoyed both versions of the songs, and it was difficult to pick a favorite. The Mexico City version was more interesting to watch, but I liked the exciting sound of the second version. So I'll go with Second Floor Stereo.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Blue, the film was released on DVD around summer of 2018. It's well worth seeing especially if you were one who enjoyed the circus.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. I enjoy a good musical but admit that I still need to see The Greatest Showman - I will eventually. Prefer the BAFTA results but biased.

    Anyway, I prefer the enthusiasm of HousePuzzle, even if I'm a rock child in my upbringing. Maybe, my Latin blood is beating.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Roland, if you need a good uplifting movie experience then this film is one of the best I've seen.

      Your vote was needed for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  21. I haven't seen the movie yet, but now have it on my list! Thanks for the introduction to it. The second version is more polished and obviously professionally produced. The first version has a lot more heart in it, even though it's a different quality of video. This is a very tough battle to choose from! I'm going with the first one, from Mexico, because I like their heart and enthusiasm. You can tell the song is great, but their take on it was full of passion whereas the second one was a bit too polished for me. By the end of it I was ready to move on because it got too repetitive and boring. Pretty sure Second Floor will win this, but I'm voting for HousePuzzle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I hope you'll come back to let me know what you thought of the film after you've seen it.

      The rock version is appearing that they might run away with this contest, but all is not lost yet.

      a vote for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  22. First..I actually like the heavy metal version more than I thought I would but I am still going with the first contender because I love their voices more. I have yet to see The Greatest Showman...I am bad because I love musicals. A big part of it is my hubby who is not into musicals at all and gives dumb ass comments when I want to see something...he can be annoying. I love Hugh Jackman a well and, to be honest, I have no idea why this song did not win because it was the best but The Oscars have always been political right from the start. I have seen The Shape of Water and, even though I love fairy tales and I like this director, it didn’t do much for me mainly because of the lead actress who I just could not engage in. I also felt the writing was not all that great so I have no clue why this won but, hey, there are many films that won best Oscar and I just scratch my head (Greatest Show on Earth as an example). So far, I am rooting for BlacKkKlansman which is excellent but I don’t think it will win best picture. I always watch the Oscars as you know.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Birgit, so far I've only seen Bohemian Rhapsody so I can't say much about what should win although that film was very good. Treat yourself to Greatest Showman if you like musicals. The story is presented in a very feel-good uplifting manner.

      I'll likely watch (or half watch) the Oscars again this year since it's been a tradition of sorts. And I'll probably disagree with a lot or not know what they've voted on.

      Another vote for HousePuzzle.

      Lee

      Delete
  23. Replies
    1. Cherdo, coming in short and sweet!

      Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete
  24. Thanks Arlee for this. I agree with you about The Great Showman, It blew me away too. Hugh Jackman was really very good. The whole cast was amazing actually. So my real preference for the song The Greatest Show is the film version.
    I haven’t seen the Benicio del Toro film, so I can’t say if the Academy really blew it !
    To come back to the song: I also liked the female voices of House Puzzle. But as we have to vote. I’ll vote for Second Floor Stereo. The male version just makes it stronger. But I don’t hear it as Heavy Metal, just good rock !
    Second Floor Stereo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan B, Glad to hear your positive review on the film. I wouldn't characterize the style of Second Floor Stereo as strictly heavy metal, but I think it displays some of the elements of the style.

      A vote for Second Floor Stereo.

      Lee

      Delete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee