Tag: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Who is Walter Mercado? No really, who is Walter Mercado? I don’t think I have heard of his name before watching this movie and review.

Now, I saw reviews of this, brief reports, and that it was now out on Netflix. And looking at the pictures, I just assumed he was an eccentric weather man on Hispanic based television. Boy was I wrong. Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado isn’t about weather at all.

For those of you who do not know, Walter Mercado was a famous (and likely, the most famous), Astrologist in the world. Astrologist? Yes, Astrologist. You know, zodiac signs and horoscopes.

Mercado grew up different than his friends, and was always seen as a spiritual person. Apparently in his community he was slightly worshiped as a kid because a neighbor saw him “heal” a bird back to life and fly away. So people wanted to come by and touch him. It’d be hard to grow up thinking you were a mini-god at that point I imagine.

After being an actor for awhile, with lots of substance, Walter was put on the air once to do an interview for an upcoming show. The interviewer didn’t want to talk about the show, wanted to talk about horoscopes, because Walter talked about it a lot to the staff before the show. Because the show got so many calls during that segment, they asked him to come the next day and do it again with new readings. And the rest was history.

walter mercado
History is fabulous!

So what happened after that? He eventually got his own Astrology show, which had lots of ratings. That show led to another show. It led to him being on the news, and to traveling across the world to various shows and getting his readings out there. Basically, if you grew up in a Spanish home in the 80’s or 90’s (or 70’s?) you likely knew about this mysterious man.

And then he went away at some point, and no one seems to know why, which is what this documentary wants to explain.

You see, it is all about law suits. He trusted a manager to be a good person, and this led to him signing a bad contract letting them do whatever they wanted with him. Once the money stopped flowing, Mercado wanted answers and out, but this led to big legal battle that lasted years. Overall, Mercado got to keep his name, but the company got to keep his likeness and old material and shows for profit. At that point, Mercado had tried a few comebacks but failed, and the rest, again, is history.

Now my biggest issue with this documentary is two fold.

First of all, astrology itself is all just made up, and that should not be a controversial statement to make. Vague statements that can be applied to most people, and if it doesn’t, well, you usually remember the ones that are spot on. There is lots of information out there on this and similar topics. So Mercado got big and famous over lying to lots of people. Okay, whatever.

The second thing is that this documentary is 100% a puff piece documentary, not going to much nit or grit of his life. The entire last third of the documentary is preparing for and being excited about a museum show honoring his life in Miami in 2019 and just drags. But Mercado was involved with some shady shit. He had a psychic hot line and also was involved with selling “magic” jewelry (which the documentary left out) and the documentary swept it under the rug. They blamed his manager, said Mercado wasn’t out to hurt people at all and then moved the hell on.

Come on, this is a documentary, lets be truthful. It is okay if you did bad shit. Talk about it, admit to it, and lets move on. Instead they focus on this person only being an angel and worshiped, but ignoring the bad stuff and that it is all based on a lie anyways. It just rubs me completely the wrong way.

This documentary will definitely inform you as to who he is and why he became popular, but I find myself skeptical at other parts of it due to the glaring obvious parts that are ignored.

And hey, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Eugenio Derbez are in here, and they are famous. The former also opens the documentary and has an extended part at the end. I also did like to hear about his long time best friend and assistant Willy Acosta, and I wonder what he is up to now with his life in his own hands.

1 out of 4.

Hamilton

I am not throwing away this review, but I am going to keep it short and sweet.

Bless Lin-Manuel Miranda, who decided in 2016 they needed to shoot their musical with the original cast. They could have held on to this for over a decade and waited and waited. They said it would come out October, 2021! And then? Then pandemic.

And now it is out much, much, much earlier. On Disney+ so most people don’t have to pay much at all to see it, versus the theaters (Which it should still go to when it is safe, I would buy that ticket).

Thank you for spending three days getting this filmed, including the off-Broadway day for all of the cast and crew, putting in extra shows to make this thing out there.


It’s Alexander Hamilton, singing on the screen for you.

Wait for it! The entire original cast and crew is in this picture!

Anthony Ramos, Chris Jackson, Daveed Diggs, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Jonathan Groff, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sydney James Harcourt.

And its the Hamilton musical, damn it! This is my plot outline. It is about Alexander Hamilton and some more people. There.


The room where this whole thing happened was actually in a theater in Broadway!
A phenomenon greater than most other phenomenon, I can die happy now that this is available. I never could see it on stage, and I likely wouldn’t now anytime remotely soon thanks to pandemics. This is a blessing and we should cherish it.

This counts as a movie for the year? I’ll take it. Now I have given two 4 out of 4s so far this year.

What are you waiting for, what do you stall for? It’s available now, go see it.

One last time, this musical is love.


My wife said I needed some more review aspects to this, fine. I cried five times despite hearing this musical so many times, some of my cries were new, some where at the same time I cried during just the music.

A few songs were enhanced thanks to the visuals. Like Satisfied, and seeing King George in more scenes. The use of moving stage was used wonderfully. The ending is so much better (of an already awesome song) with the dancers and background.

I will note that Odom Jr.’s Burr uses a much more lispy voice in this recording versus the original cast recording. I assume that was done in the main show way before it, maybe it is easier to sing with that voice in the long term, maybe it is to make him seem a bit more sneaky, but it is noticeable and completely acceptable.

4 out of 4.

Mary Poppins Returns

54 years has to be some sort of record when it comes to having a sequel for your movie. I am talking about movies that have never been rebooted, or turned into an animated series, or given sequels decades ago but here is another one to ignore the rest, or a prequel in a different format. And you know, a sequel, done by the same company who has always owned those rights.

When they first announced Mary Poppins Returns, with the main leads, I was actually excited. Blunt killed it in Into The Woods, and her look could clearly pull off the same character. And of course Miranda is amazing in everything and could handle the goofy singing and dancing sidekick.

But I did quickly forget about it, and haven’t really cared about it coming out since the announcement. The idea seems swell, but maybe the real world is too annoying and dark for me to really escape for two hours and watch British kids learn to use their imagination or whatever.

KIDADUlts
And British adults learn their imagination never really left.

Many years ago, Mary Poppins magically appeared and fixed a family, then flew off, never to be seen again.

Until now. Decades later. Same neighborhood, house, and…family? Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) and his sister, Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now older. Ben is living in the same house, with his three kids (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson) and Jane has her own flat, but she is around frequently to help out. Michael was married, but she died, and this has put a big strain on their house. Finances are bad for that reason, but also because the whole neighborhood is in a financial crisis, of which it is hard to even find work.

So things are kind of shitty, and you know what, the bank is going to reposess their home probably. That means bye bye childhood, hello sadness and stress. They need help. And the kids aren’t being kids, they are just acting like tiny adults. Boo!

We need Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to return! And with the help of her new compadre, a fast talking lamp lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), they will get the damn job done.

Also starring Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Jeremy Swift, Noma Dumezweni, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Jim Norton, and David Warner.

JUMP
Jumping into the pits of hell is a unique twist in this film.

Mary Poppins Returns is an unrelentingly optimistic look at life, sorrow, and pulling yourself up by the goddamn bootstraps to make yourself smile.

Something sad? Fuck your sadness, let’s get happy!

This movie felt a bit weirder, as there is a notable “villain” character, while the problems of the first film seemed to just deal more with priorities and not being family enough. This is a fine family in terms of love, just they have lost their way, and also, someone is out to get them. I don’t think it needed to be so mean spirited for a Poppins movie.

For the songs, there is only one song I really loved, which was A Cover Is Not The Book. And it is definitely a song I like more with the video, and not just the song. Most of the other ones just feel adequate, or extra. A fair number of reprises for the songs is a good use of their time at least. I absolutely hated the Streep song and the whole scene. It was a one off just to get her in there and act silly, and clearly it is a reference to the first film, but also, it did nothing for me.

This film relies heavily on nostalgia to sell. We have various versions/scenes that are clearly just throwbacks to the first film, to have similar antics, and that is more lazy than exciting. Because of better special effects, everything is a lot more polished, and thus feels a bit more fake when it comes to the more spectacular dance scenes. When we have the lamp lighter army doing their song and dance (because the last film did it with chimney sweeps), it just felt too cut heavy and small, like you could see the size of the set and didn’t pull me in.

It should be noted, that Blunt and Miranda still knocked it out of the park, and they are reason enough to see it. This is the film you want if you just need to smile and have a pick me up in these times of misery. It isn’t the best film, it won’t probably change any lives, but it can be a good escape, despite its issues.

3 out of 4.