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Monday, October 4, 2021

Movie Music Monday: Andrew Garfield ably carries a tune in the latest looks & listens at Lin-Manuel Miranda's film of tick, tick... BOOM!

Film Flam Flummox

After dropping a teaser back in June, Netflix has just released the first full trailer for first-time film director Lin-Manuel Miranda's biopic adaptation of the late Jonathan Larson's Off-Broadway musical tick, tick... BOOM!. The new two-and-a-half minute spot continues the approach set by the teaser, emphasizing the story, going into greater detail about then-aspiring-composer Larson's (played here by Andrew Garfield) bohemian lifestyle in Manhattan's East Village and his struggles with creating and perfecting a meaningful work as age 30 rapidly approaches. (There is a slight misdirect here, as the particular work he is shown tirelessly toiling on is implied to be his ultimate claim to fame, Rent, when it is in fact--unless Miranda and screenwriter Steven Levenson made a major alteration from stage to screen--Larson's never-produced science fiction musical Superbia.) While still playing generally coy with offering listens of the adapted song score, the new trailer does feature an ample sample of the closing number on stage, "Louder Than Words," and, thus, a more proper taste of Garfield's singing voice. This writer's (and Larson fan) preliminary assessment? He may very well be more than up for all of the demands of this role.

That cautious optimism is further boosted by the first song on the soundtrack to officially be released, "30/90." On stage, this hard-driving opening number (whose overall vibe presages the title number of Rent) is an ensemble effort between "Jon" and best friend Michael and girlfriend Susan. Except for a brief bit solo by Broadway stalwart Joshua Henry (playing an as-yet-unspecified role), the track is a solo showcase for Garfield's abilities. Even if he's not a vocal powerhouse on the level of the Off-Broadway originator Raúl Esparza, he more than ably does justice to Larson's hook-laden melody and, more importantly for film, vocally sells the sense of creative and existential angst and frustration that fuels both the song and the piece as a whole. It's still early, but these early reveals are quite promising for the film as a whole.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's film of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick... BOOM! is set for release in select cinemas on Friday, November 12 before streaming worldwide on Netflix on Friday, November 19. The film is set to have its world premiere as the opening night film of AFI FEST 2021 on Wednesday, November 10.

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