Movie Mondays ~ Monday, October 7, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, October 7, 2019

 

Well, you just had to guess if last week’s film review blog didn’t include a documentary, that this week’s would. And you’d be right! This one is quite unusual. I almost didn’t see it but it caught my attention and then I saw two words that immediately drew me to it like a magnet — David Letterman. I know they had hooked me then!  Keep on going, I’ll explain more. Oh, and as always, thank you for reading. ~ Chris K.

 

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 09/30/2019 – 10/06/2019

 

 

99. Bathtubs Over Broadway

Comedy, Documentary, Music, Comedy (2018)
David Letterman, Martin Short, Chita Rivera, Steve Young (no, not the cute retired footballer but the main guy this film is all about)

 

For those of us who have always loved theater, you’re going to really get a kick out of this one. And for the “Late Show with David Letterman” fans or just those who appreciate unapologetic cheesy things that cannot help being hilariously dopey, this one’s for you. If like me, you were a devoted Letterman show fan, whichever network or incarnation of any of his shows, then close your eyes and travel back in time — do you remember when Letterman would sit at his desks and introduce some of the most inane vinyl records and they just happened to be real like goofy scenarios such as Andy Williams sings about birds or Nat King Cole introduces the newest lineup of Chevy vehicles (see those sound like they could be true but honestly, I just made them up). One of the hilarious comedy writers behind that bit is the guy this documentary is all about, Steve Young. The man loves his records, and the more unusual, the better.

But what this film taught me (and I’m share many others out there who have watched it), particularly those of us who were children of the 60s and later, is that there was an entire theater industry devoted to creating and performing theatrical presentations and actual musical shows at large industry events. Just imagine in this day and age — the powers that be at Renuzit air fresheners call up Lin-Manuel Miranda and ask him to draft up a big musical production for their swanky annual industry event and they want the show built around a world being transformed by the glorious fragrances of the Renuzit air freshener product line.

Sounds totally bogus, right? Yeah, and I can’t see Lin-Manuel Miranda doing it either. But that’s essentially what would happen back in the early days of TV advertising and the popularity of these new gadget, gizmos, appliances and other achievements in technology. Really talented people like Miranda were commissioned to do this and they would create an entire musical whose core mission was to hawk an entire home’s appliances or a new line of automobiles, for example. Hence the name of this documentary— because once upon a time, there really were Bathtubs Over Broadway…and so much more.

The documentary, which Steve Young, the subject and man who takes us down his path of discovery and how he uncovered a treasure trove of vintage vinyl not intended to ever be in the hands of the general public. Fueled by a common love of music he shared with his dad and clearly a sense of humor always brimming over,  Young begins to not only start researching the stories behind these musical creators and the companies that commissioned them but he even starts reaching out to any of these creators or the performers who may still be alive to share their stories, and what wonderful tales do they tell!

I don’t want to spoil this one for you but let’s just say the film culminates in a beautiful and magical cinematic moment that not only entertains and leaves viewers with a big grin on their face, but I think puts a little pep in their step to look into those things they too have been dying to know more about. This film is a great proponent of pushing ourselves to see past the surface to appreciate something’s value and a wonderful testament to true performers and their willingness to take to any stage without snobbery or hesitation in order to simply entertain the masses, their cardinal mission in life.

If you have Netflix, mosey on over to the Documentaries section and look for this one. I think you’ll find Young endearing (albeit quite the odd duck and a bit nerdy— okay, a LOT nerdy) and I especially think you’ll enjoy seeing the eyes light up on the performers he reaches out to, actors and actresses, singers and dancers, who we quickly learn have been almost shamed throughout their careers for taking the course of work that they chose instead of traditional theater. For once, here is someone (Young) who is not out to tease or belittle them but to celebrate them instead. Those interviews offer some beautiful moments. And I think you’ll be intrigued with all of the famous people who did take part in this other entertainment realm that was happening beyond the TV ads and programming and taking center stage in the business world. This one’s worth a look-see!

Score: 86

 

BathtubsOverBroadway

 

 

 

 

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