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Dumb Blond
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Spirited is a delightful reimagining of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", starring Will Ferrell as the Ghost of Christmas Present ("Present"), Ryan Reynolds as Clint Briggs, a ruthless marketing exec, and Octavia Spencer as Briggs' VP of opposition research Kimberly. Present's team, including Sunita Mani as "Past" and Tracy Morgan as the voice of "Yet-to-Come", spends each year researching the next "perp" to haunt and redeem at Christmastime. The operation is managed by Marley (Patrick Page), who wants this year's perp to be a mean-spirited hotel manager, but Present argues in favor of Briggs, who he sees convincing a staid group of Canadian Christmas Tree growers into raging against the onslaught of fake Christmas trees. Marley refuses, showing Present that Briggs has been classified as "Unredeemable", but Marley gives in only after Present agrees to stop singing. Wait, what?

Yes, Spirited is a musical, and one where the players are, at times painfully, aware that this is the case. The songs, which sometimes come at weird moments, are decent, but what truly blew me away were the uniquely choreographed dance numbers; I can't describe it, you have to see it. Reynolds plays Briggs as... a Ryan Reynolds character. He's well aware of his tactic of using others to get his way, and not at all bothered by it. Or so he says. Briggs starts quizzing Present on why he's being so persistent - there is a reason that is revealed later. Oh, why is Present showing Briggs things from his past? Isn't that Past's job? Well, she got a bit too involved with Briggs ("He's so hot!") and asked Present to take over.

There are lots of little jokes spread throughout the film (at one point they're in the past and Briggs asks why there's a Sephora store on the street before Sephora existed? They're a sponsor, Present replies. Pay attention to signs and lettering over doorways and watch for cameos of well-known entertainers. (While reviewing the cast list at the end I spotted a name I didn't recognize as "Himself". "Who the heck is that?", I wondered. An IMDB search revealed that he's known for... Spirited, and no other info. I suspect a plant.)

Among the many delights was that the cast, including the dancers, were of all manner shapes, sizes and colors, and there were interactions among the characters that are sure to enrage a certain group of people. (Indeed, the review in the right-leaning Manchester (NH) Union Leader panned the film - they just didn't get it.) There is mild profanity.

The film nails the ending. Do watch the credits all the way through.
 

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Excellent.
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24,514 Posts
Glad to hear you guys liked it. The first couple of reviews I read were not very friendly and I wondered if this would be another big-budget streaming dog. I'll probably wait until Thanksgiving weekend to watch it.
 

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Dumb Blond
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38,589 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wish the Boston Globe offered gift links, but here's some excerpts from an item in today's paper:

The triple-threat nature of the role meant that Reynolds was in for an atypical filming experience, one hinged on practice and repetition.

“I can’t really speak to whether or not I got better, but I can say that I’m glad that it wasn’t a live show,” Reynolds said with a laugh. “We had multiple takes to kind of get things the way we wanted them. I was so focused on the singing and dancing that it was almost hard to focus on anything else. It was like they were just these huge specters coming up, each one of these song and dance numbers.”

Reynolds said he wasn’t sure that he ever had a day when everything was coming together, but he could feel success in little snippets throughout the filmmaking process.

“That’s part of the power and magic of editing, thank God,” he said. “But we definitely had moments in the tap dancing sequences, where we really clicked and got it all right. I don’t know that there’s a better feeling on Earth, short of my own children being born, than that.”

While “Spirited” spans multiple cities and time periods (including modern day New York and 19th-century London), the entirety of the film was shot in the Boston area in 2021. Filming took place in the Back Bay, downtown, and other Massachusetts cities and towns. Reynolds was familiar with the city (as it’s where he shot the box office hit “Free Guy” in 2019, among other films) and applauded the region’s “exceptional” film crews and its multipurpose functionality.

“It’s just a wonderful atmosphere and city to shoot in,” he said. “It offers a ton of different locations. It can sub for a bunch of different cities and it has its own kind of indelible Boston feel, which is something that you also want from a cinematic perspective.”
 

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Thought the movie was good fun. Didn't realize it was over 2 hours going in, and it certainly didn't feel like it. I only had a couple of true laugh out loud moments. It was mostly smiles and little chuckles, but I think anyone who likes musicals will enjoy it. My wife fell asleep towards the end, but as she's still getting over the flu, we won't count that as a strike against it.
 

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I figure if I watch something else during the trial great, and if not, that's fine too. This movie was my only reason for signing up in the first place. I've already cancelled; don't need another service.
Why get a free trial if you don't get the full benefit?
 

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Excellent.
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I watched this today to kick off the holiday season. The whole way through, you are aware that none of the leads can really sing or dance, that the songs don't flow in and out of the plot like they would in a proper musical, that it's a little too long, and that Ryan Reynolds is apparently incapable of playing a character other than "Ryan Reynolds". But -- all of that 90% doesn't matter. The movie is good fun, I smiled a bunch, some of the songs are pretty catchy, and it left me with a warm feeling. The 10% where the flaws matter are really in the singing: a couple of the catchy songs are kind of let down by Farrell's and Reynolds' flat, thin singing. (Spencer fares a little better but looked uncomfortable once or twice.). However, the movie doesn't get made, or at least not with this evident budget (which is on the screen) without all of them, so it's a worthwhile trade. It's energetic, colorful, and sweet. Certainly worth a watch.
 
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