‘In The Heights’ Review: Brown Boy Joy and So Much More!

Spoiler Warning: The following review contains spoilers to the theatrical release of In The Heights. You have been warned.

Hi, My name is Quinzel, and I haven't been to the movies in over a year.

I hadn't really missed much on the entertainment scene. Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and even the release of HBO Max has kept me preoccupied during this pandemic. From the release of Mortal Kombat, to rewatching the entire series of Moesha from the '90s, streaming movies vs physically going to a movie theater wasn't so bad. Plus, the chances of catching a highly contagious virus were pretty minimal while watching at home. A lot of positives were wrapped in that choice.

However, there were a lot of things I missed about the movie theater. The smell of buttered popcorn, the laughter and at times, shock, from the audience, and those moments that just appear larger than life. You know, THOSE moments that just don't hit the same when you're watching from home.

Not all movies have those moments. But I've been a huge fan of In The Heights since the beginning. I saw it when it was on tour and played the musical soundtrack on repeat for years to come. I know every breath and every beat from the original Broadway soundtrack. There was a moment where I was about to enter my first job out of college, at a call center for a cable company. I HATED working in a call center. Dreading the moments before I would clock in, I blasted "It Won't Be Long Now" on repeat, imagining that I too, would be hopping on an elevator train taking me away from it all.

In The Heights had a very special place in my heart, so when I heard it was becoming a movie, I already knew I was seeing it. I figured that this movie was actually the perfect movie for me to see after such a long time away from the theater. I was able to completely immerse myself in this world and forget I was sitting in a dark theater from the first note.

Let me be clear about how this review is going to go: I loved this movie. And I think you will too. After the kind of *gestures at everything* we've all been through, we've all NEEDED this movie.

Brown Boy Joy

Something I LOVED about In The Heights is how it display brown men and boys just enjoying life! Happy, smiling, dancing joyful men. Showing emotions and unafraid to. Men in love, men grieving, men in pain, men feeling empathy, men feeling bashful. Showing something other than your typical stoic man is just so important and so amazing to see. I was extremely happy to see brown men in such a positive light. it made me happy to see. I'm only a little disappointed because this should be the norm. But this is why when you have people of color in charge of projects, you get more in-depth stories, more in-depth emotions, more relatable characters, and overall, more brown boy joy :).

We Are Not Invisible

One thing that people used to joke with me when I was younger and they would watch a musical "Black people don't just break into song, that would be weird" Truth is, the hood is music. A song comes on, someone jumps in to sing. A young boy is drumming on his desk. A car is playing music on their speakers down the block. The hood is nothing but song and dance. "We are not invisible" Abuela says to Nina, and it's true. We've been fed a lie that the formula to musical theater is...well, very white. I adore Lin Manuel Miranda for breaking the mold and paving the way so that POC are not invisible not just in the musical theater space, but to the world.

Smart Brown Kids Unite

Nina Rosario standing from In The Heights Movie

I don't know if Nina's story of dropping out of college is more impactful onscreen or if I've just gained more perspective on the issue over the last 13 years of my life. Just like Nina, I was the smart kid, the genius, the one everyone knew would go far. I finished college, but not without my fair share of hardships. When Nina recalls the story of being searched because her roommate accuses her of taking her personal belongings, I couldn't help to reflect on a similar story of when I was in college. I'm sure every POC will have that moment where they watch that scene and can reflect on a similar painful moment. Like anyone accepted to college, you're smart, but when you're a POC, it's always assumed that your acceptance is based on affirmative action, so you have to work twice as hard to prove your intelligence. You can't slip up or make a mistake like most kids do in college because as a POC, you are the first person the other students or administration will point fingers at. That doesn't even cover the amount of racism you encounter. From daily microaggressions to blatant racist actions against you (true story, I once had a swastika drawn on my dry erase board) mentally, the strain can be insurmountable on a POC going to college. Nina's feelings are all too relatable, even down to the struggle to tell her father and not want to disappoint her community.

Nina was such an important character and you definitely end up rooting for her the entire time. I loved seeing the way that this character has evolved from stage to film.

GO SEE IT! GO!

Even if you are like me and you've seen the musical and listened to the soundtrack countless times, this movie still brings new emotions as if you're seeing it for the first time ever. I laughed as if I've never heard the line "damn we only joking, stay broke then" before. The subtle twists and turns made this precious musical as if I were seeing it for the first time again.

For those who have never seen In The Heights, I totally recommend you go see it. Yes. even if musicals aren't your thing, this one is guaranteed to make you smile.

And just on the off chance that Lin-Manuel Miranda is reading this right now, I fell in love with In The Heights as a college graduate back in 2008 and have been in a musical relationship with it ever since. This musical has carried me through ups, downs, and further downs. What kept me going through every job rejection, every book rejection, and every broken heel at the bus stop (those Payless shoes break easily) was Vanessa's voice singing "It Won't Be Long Now". Now that In The Heights is a movie, I can look back and see that I made it. I held on, and I'm even closer to my dreams.

Thank you Lin-Manuel for making In The Heights possible. Your dream made it possible to live mine <3

I Want to Start a Revolution

This sounds alarming does it not? Like I want to go to war. I don't want to go to war. I want to be the change I want to see in the world. Leggo.

Scholastic Book Fair. As you read those words, all the book worms shudder in delight. It was a joyous time for so many. You would get the thin paper news letter beforehand with lists of books that you may want, and you spent time circling all the things that interest you. If you had the big bucks, you'd circle the arts and crafts offering, or the big book bundle on the back of the sheet near the order form.

God I loved looking at this every single year.

There were some of us that weren't so lucky. Your classmates who didn't even bother walking down to the book fair, because their parents couldn't afford lunch, much less the purchase of a book. I was one of those kids.

As a child who was reading beyond a high school level by third grade, the book fair brought with it a special kind of pain. All of those books, and I couldn't afford one. I'd sit in the classroom in silence, reading a book I picked up from the school library telling myself I wasn't jealous. My fourth grade year, someone noticed.

His name was Josh Huston. In later years, we didn't get along all that well, but in elementary school, you pretty much get along with everyone. He'd just returned from the book fair, and I asked to see the books he'd purchased. I don't remember what was said. I don't remember if I asked (I doubt I asked, in my house asking for something was seen as "begging" and I didn't want to beg anyone), but he handed me a book and told me I could keep it.

The book was "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler"

This was the cover my book had, it has changed in the past 30 years.

I read this book until the cover fell off. It gave me my first insight into New York City, actual museums, and all sorts of different things I'd never heard of. It showed me the independence of a young girl who was tired of everyone's shit, and just wanted to live in a museum for some peace. It also showed me the practicality of kids, because she knew her brother was cheap as hell and would have money to use on this adventure.

I too was tired of everyone's shit. But I lived in the middle of a small town with no actual culture scene. Nothing that Claudia had. Claudia's journey allowed me to have one in my mind, one where I wasn't the weird one, or the burden. That I would get to live out my dreams, if only for a little bit (she does after all return home).

I know Josh wasn't thinking of all this when he handed me that book. He saw a girl who was sad that she didn't get to buy any reading materials of her own, and he had the power to make her not sad anymore. For that, I will be forever grateful, no matter how annoying he became as we grew into young adults.

This started something in me. I swore to myself, if I ever had children, I was going to pay it forward somehow. Time has passed, seasons have changed, and I am a parent to a rather intelligent Geekybaby. This year was her first Scholastic Book Fair, and have times changed. No more thin tissue paper book list that you fill out. Things are digital. They still are allowed to roam the book fair though, searching for that special book or books.

Geekybaby has been doing virtual learning all year, but we felt safe enough that she could go to school for her end of the year testing. Speaking with her teacher previously, I explained what I wanted to do, and on that day, I sent her to school with 40 dollars in an envelope to make sure some kids who may not be able to get a book, are able to. I was able to provide six kids with a book. I want to do more.

I've told this story on my personal Facebook page twice. Once maybe a year or two ago, and once this week. People have told me, since the last time I have told it, that they send their children to school with extra money to do the same thing. I want to do more, I want this to be more. I don't know how to make that possible though. I think it would be an amazing thing that through one act of kindness 30 years ago (yeah I'm old), hundreds of kids are served.

So I am opening this to you. Do you have any thoughts? Any suggestions? Please leave them in the comments. I am also going to reach out to Scholastic to see if they can help too.

That one thing that you are doing just to be nice, may not save the world, but may reverberate years down the line. Think about that.

You Bring Me (application) Joy

Leslie talks about the different apps that are bringing her joy through the pandenomicon. 

 

Preply (Use this link to 30% off and I get a little coinage saved too)  https://preply.com?pref=MjM4MTEzMA==

Drops- https://languagedrops.com/

Mango - Check your local library

Open Shot - https://www.openshot.org/

The Bird Ass App: Twitter.com

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Youtube channel (Did you know you can listen to the podcast over there too!?) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCucjUQPfS3HkoAlg9esCqcA

Send Quinzel a joyful message on Twitter: @QuinzeLee

 

Send us a hello:

Geeky Girls' Night In

PO Box 90232 Indianapolis, In. 46290

 

Special thanks to Michelle, Kim, and Beth for contributing to our Ko-Fi! If you would like to throw a dollar or two this way to keep the lights on (and the hosting going), consider donating to the Ko-fi. Ko-fi.com/geekygirlsni

Facebook.com/geekygirlsnightin

Instagram.com/geekygirlguide

Twitter.com/geekygirlsNI

Twitter.com/Geekygirlguide

Check out the writings of Quinzel and I at www.geekygirlguide.com

 

Music by Mark Generous - Kahlua With My Coffee - https://thmatc.co/?l=AA7D602B

 

 

 

Dancing on my own

Super short episode today as Leslie has no interview. 

 

Cat Colony Crisis trailer - https://uberstrategist.link/CatColoyCrisis-Announcement-TrailerYT

Super Seducer - https://uberstrategist.link/superseducer3-announce-trailer-YT

Preply tutoring - https://preply.com?pref=MjM4MTEzMA==

Youtube channel (Did you know you can listen to the podcast over there too!?) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCucjUQPfS3HkoAlg9esCqcA

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Send Quinzel a joyful message on Twitter: @QuinzeLee

 

Send us a hello:

Geeky Girls' Night In

PO Box 90232 Indianapolis, In. 46290

 

Special thanks to Michelle, Kim, and Beth for contributing to our Ko-Fi! If you would like to throw a dollar or two this way to keep the lights on (and the hosting going), consider donating to the Ko-fi. Ko-fi.com/geekygirlsni

Facebook.com/geekygirlsnightin

Instagram.com/geekygirlguide

Twitter.com/geekygirlsNI

Twitter.com/Geekygirlguide

Check out the writings of Quinzel and I at www.geekygirlguide.com

 

Tech Talk: This camera ain’t doing it

Recently, along with the podcast, I have also been doing videos here and there on YouTube. Here is an example of one:

This was for a contest. I did not win.

All my life, I have had the worst luck with cameras. Currently I am using my phone and a Nikon CoolPix L830. I was super pumped when I got the camera a few years ago. It gave me the DSLR body I wanted, without having the bulky lenses, and the screen adjusted to help me take pictures.

It takes great pictures, but video, there are some issues. I am typically filming myself, and though the screen adjusts, it doesn't adjust so I can see it if I am facing the camera. So I can't really see myself, and I can't see if any adjustments need to be made. This was a lesson I learned with the most recent video that is coming out. The entire thing is blurry. It is insane. I am still going to post it because it took me forever to make and edit and practice makes perfect.

I do not have the ability with this camera to add an external mic. Not a big deal when I was just doing pictures, but now that I am making videos, I need an external mic. The microphone on this camera is not doing me any favors. For now, I am connecting a mic to my phone, and making a loud noise so that I am able to sync up the sound in editing. I am a big proponent of working smarter, not harder, and it seems to me that a smarter option would be a camera that has the ability to have an external mic.

So What am I Thinking About Purchasing?

I am the absolute queen of impulse purchases. I see something that is close to what I need, and I grab it, and a few months later down the line, I find out it does not have all the features that I want or need. I am trying not to make that same mistake with a camera, because let's face it, cameras are pricey as hell. I am not made of money and I cannot purchase a new camera every two years because I realize that a bell and whistle that I need, I didn't get because I picked the first thing that caught my fancy.

So far, this is what I know I want/need

  1. Movable screen so I am able to see myself when I am vlogging
  2. Ability to add an external mic
  3. I would like a small form factor, something I can shove in my purse and go and won't hurt my wrist to hold up for an extended period of time.
  4. This isn't a requirement, but if I could get a small form camera that has interchangeable lenses, that would be cool.
  5. Bluetooth capability.
  6. Under $1000 closer to under $700 would be ideal
  7. Really good stabilization. I waddle. It's a fact of life. I have waddled my whole life and so video tends to be shaky.
  8. I would like something possibly over a year old so that it has a lot of tutorials out for it that I can read and learn from.
  9. Common form factor storage card - Please no cameras with their own proprietary storage card. That gives me a headache. There is no need for it. SD is here, other forms of SD are here. PICK ONE AND USE IT!
  10. I need to be able to do 4k vlogging.

I don't have a pixel requirement because in this day and age, most cameras will give you what you need in the pixel department.

With these 9 things in mind I have started looking at cameras.

The first one is the Sony ZV-1

So pretty!

As you can see straight off the bat, it has the screen that I require. It has the ability to hook up an external mic, and from the videos that I have watched on it, it takes great pictures and video.

One of the videos I watched. I haven't thought of Ijustine in YEARS

This one is the newest of the ones I have been looking at and has the highest price at roughly $800.00. I cringe at that cost. However, if you look on YouTube it has some of the best reviews. People even revisit it in videos and still enjoy it months later.

The next one is the Canon G7X Mark III.

This has everything that the Sony has. It is older, so it doesn't have all of the new shiny bells and whistles, but I don't know if I even want the bells and whistles. Its viewing screen does pull out so I could see it, but all I have seen thus far is that it pulls out above I believe. I like the ones that swing out to the side, but that isn't a deal breaker, you know? It has the small form factor and it clocks in price wise at around $650. which is a touch better, but what am I giving up for that extra money? Will I regret it when I discover I need something else?

This guy is thorough.

The final one is killing me. It's the Canon M50.

This one is a little larger, but still has a small form factor that won't hurt my wrist. It has interchangeable lenses. You can buy it with one or two (obviously the price goes up if you buy it with two. It has the swing out screen, and also runs about $650.00 (with the single lens). It's killing me because this is the one I would immediately impulse buy, but I am trying to be the adult I know I can be and do my due diligence so I am not staring at other cameras when they come out. It also does not do 4K, which is a thing I will need.

I have watched this guy's videos and will continue to do my research.

He has some good information

Do you work with cameras? Do you have opinions? I'd like to hear it!

Oh we on YouTube?

Both Quinzel and I post to Youtube on occasion. This is my latest video, unboxing the Monsta X Japanese single for Love Killa. Enjoy!

Can we appreciate how hot I look here? Yes we can.

Anime not Animae

Kat and Iris make a triumphant return to school Leslie on the ways of Anime. Who knows, with their help she may learn to spell it correctly.

TW: Adult themes are spoken about briefly in this episode dealing with hentai such as pedophilia, rape, and incest.  Listener discretion is advised. 

 

Please hop on twitter to say nice things about Hyungwon and use the hashtag #LongLeggedBitch or #YouLongLeggedBitch or #KickMeInTheChestYouLongLeggedBitch

Kat can be found on Twitter @mobilesuitKat

Iris can only be found in your subconscious. Talk to her there. If you absolutely feel a need to say something to her, shoot me an email and I will get it to her. 

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Send Quinzel a joyful message on Twitter: @QuinzeLee

Send us a hello:

Geeky Girls' Night In

PO Box 90232 Indianapolis, In. 46290

 

Special thanks to Michelle, Kim, and Beth for contributing to our Ko-Fi! If you would like to throw a dollar or two this way to keep the lights on (and the hosting going), consider donating to the Ko-fi. Ko-fi.com/geekygirlsni

Facebook.com/geekygirlsnightin

Instagram.com/geekygirlguide

Twitter.com/geekygirlsNI

Twitter.com/Geekygirlguide

Check out the writings of Quinzel and I at www.geekygirlguide.com

No New Episode this week

Leslie is a little out of it this week and unable to record. She will return next week with Iris and Kat where they try to introduce her to anime! 

 

We are trying to trend the hashtag #LongLeggedBitch on twitter. Please follow @crowleycakes for more details! 

Leslie’s Wishes for the New Year

Leslie is here with a short one. Wishing you all a happy and safe New Year. Let's read more, write more, and play more!

Send Quinzel a joyful message on Twitter: @QuinzeLee

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Send us a hello:

Geeky Girls' Night In

PO Box 90232 Indianapolis, In. 46290

 

Special thanks to Michelle, Kim, and Beth for contributing to our Ko-Fi! If you would like to throw a dollar or two this way to keep the lights on (and the hosting going), consider donating to the Ko-fi. Ko-fi.com/geekygirlsni

Facebook.com/geekygirlsnightin

Instagram.com/geekygirlguide

Twitter.com/geekygirlsNI

Twitter.com/Geekygirlguide

Check out the writings of Quinzel and I at www.geekygirlguide.com

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