Movie Thoughts: In the Heights

Adrien Carver
2 min readJun 21, 2021

I’m glad the Lin Manuel Miranda wave has crested and crashed. The guy is not nearly as great as everyone made him out to be. He’s what happens when affluent white liberals want to ease their guilt.

This movie didn’t hold my attention. Checked my phone constantly, though maybe it was because this is only the third time I’ve been to the theater since March of 2020. I think I would’ve liked it way more in its original play form. All the songs sound the same; I couldn’t hum you a hook or a bar from a single one of them.

Anthony Ramos is charming and holds the movie together competently and I hope to see him again. Neither of the female leads look like they want to be here and their singing voices are bland as hell. Jimmy Smits is here for some reason. Corey Hawkins is over the top.

The movie thinks it’s way more profound and epic than it actually is. Nothing really ever takes off. The story is a mess — things tacked on and forgotten. All the ingredients are there, but like so many other Broadway-to-film adaptations, you’re left wanting. What made this particular story good was the fact that it was told on a stage in real time, and you can’t almost ever translate that onto a screen. The mediums are just too different.

The main gripe I have with this movie is the blatant corporate pandering to an impoverished culture. “See, we’re representing you! Give us your money!” It glorifies hopeless poverty and working class struggle without any evidence of first hand experience. Not that first hand experience is a requirement to make a good movie, but here it’s a hinderance. The grind is not an honor. It’s a fucking demeaning and ultimately unsatisfying experience. For 99 percent of humans. That’s why so many people will do ANYTHING to get out of it and stay out of it. And it’s obvious no one involved with this movie ever really went through any of that in recent times, or has any interest to. “You guys have it shitty, maybe a few of you will make it out but hey, at least you’ve got each other!” It’s like Disney — a cheap, robotic interpretation that desperately wants to pass as human so it can make money.

I remember the trailers for this getting spammed in theaters before Covid happened, and that kind of desperate advertising is never a good sign. Upon seeing the entire thing, this movie is pretty much exactly what I expected. Mov