Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.
I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.
The rules are as follows:
- The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
- The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before
Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…
Full disclosure: Prior to kick-starting 90 from the ’90s, I had never heard of Newsies. In fact, if someone had tried to tell me that in 1992 Disney released a musical about young newspaper hawkers I would have argued they were making it up – I had no knowledge of this movie whatsoever.
Since discovering that Newsies was a film (and a Broadway show) I’ve learned that the film was directed by Hocus Pocus director Kenny Ortega; that it stars Christian Bale; and the Newsies was panned upon release. I can also tell you that since 1992 (and with the help of the stage show) the film has built up a cult following.
So, will Newsies be the hot story of the day, or tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper? There’s only one way to find out…
*Clicks the play button*
1min 40secs – N E W S I E S (flashes up on screen). I’m sensing a song coming on.
2mins 30secs – Young Bruce Wayne has just appeared. Oh wait, that’s not Bruce Wayne, it’s just Christian Bale.
4mins – I’m knee-deep into the first song, Carrying the Banner. Er… it’s OK, but it’s no Good Morning Baltimore or Skid Row.
13mins – How old are these kids supposed to be? Christian Bale looks like he’s in his mid-twenties. He shouldn’t be selling newspapers, he should be paying off his student loan.
27mins – Cue song number two: Santa Fe. Yeah, this is about as good as Carrying the Banner. Oh dear.
35mins – OK, so I think the plot is starting to kick in now. The owner of the newspaper is concerned his profits are going down, so he’s going to start charging the newsies more money to sell the papers. The newsies are now going on strike to protest.
36mins – Another song, this time The World Will Know. I’m not going to lie, I’m not feeling this song either. And I’m kind of gutted about this as I know that Alan Menken – he of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin fame – is behind the music for this.
41mins – The US President has just turned up! Oh wait, that’s not the President of the United States, that’s Bill Pullman! Hmm… he doesn’t half look like the US President from Independence Day…
48mins – Seize the Day – the first song in this musical that I don’t hate! I’m not going to go so far as to say I like it, but not hating it is a big step in the right direction.
50mins – The newsies are standing by their decision to strike and are now revolting. Bill Pullman seems concerned. I would be too, Bill; you’ve probably just realised that you’ve signed up to this crap movie. Yeah, I’ve said it – this movie is crap. I’m sorry, but I just don’t find this movie engaging at all. Good thing it’ll be over soon…
*Looks up running time*
51mins – Oh for the love of… this movie is on for at least another hour. The song quality had best improve somewhat.
1hr 16mins – There’s been a couple of punch-ups and a lot more singing, but I feel like I’m losing the will to live.
1hr 18mins – Christian Bale has been arrested. Presumably for crimes against music.
1hr 24mins – The more of this film I see, the less surprised I become that I’d never heard of it until I actively stumbled upon it.
*Looks up a few more details about the movie*
1hr 25mins – Apparently, when the film was released in the UK it was released under the title, The News Boys. Yeah, I don’t remember that either. To be fair, I would have been about 10 or 11 in 1992, so was more into Batman and playing Mario on the NES than I was into watching musicals about newspapers.
1hr 26mins – Incidentally, in 1992 the only musical movie I was interested in was Sister Act. If anyone at Disney is reading this and they want to produce Sister Act III it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
1hr 30mins – There’s just been a reprise of Santa Fe. Stop trying to make Santa Fe a thing – it’s not happening.
1hr 42mins – Christian Bale, Bill Pullman and friends are printing their own newspaper. Well, it’s not so much a newspaper, as a poster. Not sure it’s going to take off, lads. Maybe if you stick a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle on the back, people will be a bit more interested. At the very least, you need to print a voucher offering cheap holidays to Spain or something.
1hr 51mins – So the film is starting to wrap up. Has anything happened?
1hr 52mins – The strike, the power of people coming together, all that singing – it’s all helped to change the lives of…
…actually I don’t really know what it’s done because I’ve spent the last ten minutes imagining I had set up my own newspaper. It wouldn’t be a very good newspaper, but it would contain all the things people need: TV listings, a showbiz section and comic strips. I’d need to charge to make it worth the hassle. People still buy newspapers, right?
Cult favourite it might be, but jeez I was bored. Sorry if you happen to be the world’s biggest Newsies fan, but this film did absolutely nothing for me.
Would I watch Newsies ever again? I would not.
So, that’s me a third of the way through 90 from the ’90s. For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: Contact (1997), The Pelican Brief (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), Shakespeare in Love (1998), A Perfect Murder (1998), Quigley Down Under (1990), Of Mice and Men (1992), Friday (1995), Mannequin on the Move (1991), She’s All That (1999), Double Dragon (1994), Stay Tuned (1992), Murder at 1600 (1997), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Wagons East (1994), In the Line of Fire (1993), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Universal Soldier (1992), Passenger 57 (1992), Mo’ Better Blues (1990), The Client (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997), Pump Up the Volume (1990), Mr. Nanny (1993), Fargo (1996), Hudson Hawk (1991), So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).