Every Important Detail You Missed

This week:

  • The return of Bridgerton has put me in a mood.
  • Roughly a million thoughts about the Wicked trailer.
  • The most captivating thing you’ll watch this week.
  • Bring! Back! Mamma! Mia!
  • OK, I get the Glen Powell thing now.

I Couldn’t Be Happier

It was around minute seven of my 13-minute monologue about the plot of Wicked that I realized, wait…not everyone knows every single plot point, lyric, costume, and casting trajectory of this musical??? The three-and-a-half minute trailer for the upcoming film was released this week, prompting my TED Talk. I came up as a high school musical theater kid, then New York City college student, then gay elder millennial at a time when Wicked was a sacred, foundational text. It has been news to me that not everyone is versed in the sometimes confusifying Ozian world.

But as a scholar, I can provide two important services.

First, this movie is planned to be released in two parts. So that wildly long trailer only teases what is half of the Broadway musical. I expect better this time than when I saw the Mean Girls musical in theaters and people in the audience started laughing the first time someone started singing because they didn’t know it was a musical. We all know there are songs in Wicked (even if, strangely, no one in the trailer is actually shown singing them…). But I can foresee a mass “WHAAAAT?!” when the film cuts at the end of “Defying Gravity” because the second act is planned to be its own movie. Arrive educated!

Second, as a person who has seen the musical [redacted] times, here are the moments in the trailer that should excite you the most—a.k.a. “The Moments I Squealed at My Desk While Watching the Wicked Trailer.”

– When the intro starts in voiceover, “Are people born wicked, or is wickedness thrust upon them,” I first went, “Preach!!!,” and then thought, “That sounds an awful lot like the original Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth, to me.” I think she’s making a cameo as some sort of narrator.

Gif from the film version of 'Wicked'

– The fact that they did Cynthia Erivo’s Elphaba hair in braids is beautiful.

– Only 25 seconds in, and we get a shot of Jonathan Bailey smoldering as Fiyero. Smart move for selling tickets.

– The preview of Ariana Grande’s “Popular” reassures us all that she’s going to do a chesty-nasally Glinda voice and not a breathy-heady Ari voice.

– A random shot of Ariana doing a full-extension battement. Go girl! And then seconds later she swings from a chandelier? We’re getting the physical comedy Glinda needs.

Scene from the film adaptation of 'Wicked'

– Who knew Glinda had such giant hands?

– They made the much-despised (among Wicked fans) goat teacher character Dr. Dillamond an actual goat. That’s the only thing that will get me excited about the fact that they kept Dr. Dillamond in this movie.

– No wonder Nessarose is so cranky all the time—Elphaba sent her and her wheelchair flying through the air.

– Jonathan Bailey delivers the line, “She doesn’t give a twink what anyone thinks,” a.k.a. my cause of death.

– The moment I was sold on Ariana as Glinda was her hilarious delivery of, “I couldn’t possibly… this is your moment… I’m coming,” while running for the train.

Scene from the film adaptation of 'Wicked'

– The propaganda poster of Elphaba and the burning witch effigy is adding a much darker connotation to a show that is already surprisingly dark!

– I’m much more dazzled by Cynthia’s vocal choices in the scoop up to “look to the Western sky” in “Defying Gravity” than I am by her options in the classic final riff.

– If they’re showing baby Elphaba, will they also show her mother? (Possibly played by original Elphaba Idina Menzel?)

– How much CGI glass was broken in the making of this movie?

– I sadly think they’ve already, six months away, used that final “Defying Gravity” screlt so much in marketing that it may lose its impact in the film!

The Most Captivating Television of the Week

With apologies to all the great scripted content being produced right now, there is no piece of filmed footage that will rival the three-minute video of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards getting into her car and realizing there is a mouse perched next to her side-view mirror.

It’s all filmed on her phone. Her sheer terror is at first comical, but then eerily believable. I’d cast her in those Halloween movies she stars in if this were her audition tape. But then she zooms in on the mouse, and you see that it is making direct, unflinching eye contact with her. You instantly understand why Richards is acting like Stuart Little is about to kill her.

It’s a captivating video. I implore you to watch.

Here We Go Again

Meryl Streep said this week that there are talks for a third installment of the greatest franchise in cinema history, Mamma Mia!, and that she’d like to be a part of it. She cautioned, however, that she doesn’t know how that would work, as she is canonically dead in the sequel and only appears as a ghost.

To this I say: Give us this goddamn film already, you studio nerds. This is this a musical based on the music of Swedish pop group ABBA that inexplicably takes place in Greece instead, where a woman invites three guys her mother fucked to her wedding in order for one of them to walk her down the aisle—and they all came. Who do you think are the Mamma Mia! fans who are sitting there going, “Well, if there’s one thing this new movie absolutely must do, it’s make sense?!” Gimme (gimme gimme) this sequel now!

This Is So Charming

I’m officially onboard the Glen Powell Is the Next Great Male Movie Star train.

What to watch this week:

Bridgerton: Listen: The world is a better place when someone is playing a violin version of a Sia song. (Now on Netflix)

The Big Cigar: André Holland gives a stellar performance, as is the André Holland way. (Now on Apple TV+)

Trying: This is truly one of the most underrated series on TV. It’s so funny, and I cry every episode. (Wed. on Apple TV+)

What to skip this week:

The Strangers: Chapter 1: The worst thing a remake should make you think is that you should just go watch the original instead. (Now in theaters)

Back to Black: Amy Winehouse, I will avenge you. (now in theaters)

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