tick, tick...BOOM!

tick, tick...BOOM!

TICK, TICK… BOOM! starts, ends, and is peppered throughout with little reminders of jonathan larson’s early death, as if anybody who already knew might forget and anybody coming into the show without knowledge of the source material would need it. there’s an obsession with larson dying that undercuts the central theme of the central character - turning thirty with nothing to show for it.

we get, in this movie, more of LMM’s admiration of larson the person (and famous theatre-folk in general) than we do his desire to cleanly adapt a less-known but still well-regarded musical into a movie. that’s a two-fold shame because i do want to see more little shows like that get major adaptations and also because it makes this movie a damn mess. 

there’s a choice, which i find fascinating but not affective, to split some of the ‘characters’ into jon’s actor friends and real life friends - i guess the implication is when we’re watching vanessa hudgens we’re seeing a production of TICK, TICK… BOOM! but if we’re watching alexandra shipp it’s his real life. ideally, this would power the flame of larson’s imagination - would force him to reconcile with what to him is more real. what it does instead is distract from several good performances (shipp and robin de jesus in particular are both very talented people who just don’t get enough moments here) and from a through line that would have been more impactful. we do get to see andrew garfield knock it out of the park, which is nice, but he doesn’t get to really play off anything that feels permanent. 

the problem for me is BOOM! doesn’t quite know what to focus on, which makes its runtime feel bloated and its themes feel rushed. a handful of narrative devices conflict with one another so that a relatively simple story of a man’s foamy-mouthed determination to fulfill his dream gets clouded in the history of his life thereafter. miranda’s many many broadway friends being funny and cute as fuck in the diner only goes so far to reclaim its spirit. 

anyway the movie is watchable and has some fabulous arrangements but they cut green green dress and i will never forgive that

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