Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin

Director: Tim Miller

Capitol Pictures sent over the shooting schedule for my first week on set for the new musical version of Stephen King’s IT in which I am playing the title character, Pennywise the clown.  We’re beginning with one of the large production numbers from the first half of the picture in which Pennywise emerges simultaneously from toilets all over town and taps down the street as a ‘corpse de ballet’ in search of the children.  The song I am to sing is entitled ‘Pipe Dreams and Sewer Nightmares’ and has a rollicking disco beat so that my taps can be amplified by the drum machine.

Cirque du Soleil Clown by StuSeeger
We’re still working on some of the costumes…

As I am playing six different versions of Pennywise in these shots, it’s going to require some complicated green screen work.  Lulu Pigg, my tap therapist, is busy getting my legs into shape for all of the triple time steps I’ll need to do, especially as at least one of the Pennywises does a tour jete off of a mansard roof and executes a perfect triple gainer with a jackknife into a storm drain.  Each of the clowns in this sequence is to wear an identical dress in a lovely jacquard damask with a kick train, but all in different colors.  It’s going to be a veritable rainbow of Vicki Lesters on the screen. I so hope the LGBT community approves.

My tap studio here at Casa Maine is a veritable whirlwind of activity as Lulu Pigg and I work through all the combinations necessary to bring my new movie spectacular to life.    I was working with some musical tracks that Normy laid down on his synthesizer machine, but they are so hard to adjust for tempo that I determined a live accompanist was in order.  I had Normy move the old spinet from the library and called up my old friend Mrs. Burch at the Happy Hollywood Helping Hands temp agency and asked her to send me over a pianist capable of playing whatever I might need.  Soon there was a ring at the bell and I was letting in Miss Laurie who came in, took her place on the bench, cracked her knuckles and immediately played the main theme from my pipe dreams number in seven different keys and tempi ranging from Viennese waltz to Flight of the Bumble Bee.  Lulu and I knew we had found someone who could keep up with our exacting standards so we tapped away while Miss Laurie pounded the keys for the rest of the day.

At four o’clock, my feet and knees had pretty much had it so the three of us repaired to the home spa for a soak in the hot tub and some serious girl talk.  Leah, my gal Friday, joined us with a generous selection of wine coolers, full of plans for bringing my new slogan, Vicki Lester is IT! to the attention of the great American public.  We started to feel a bit tiddly what with all the girl talk so we decided a film was in order.  Fortunately, I had decided to install a large screen TV and Blu-ray combo in the spa so we decided to find a film starring a cute boy we could all enjoy together.  We decided that Ryan Reynolds had the appropriate stud muffin quotient so I popped a disc of his recent film, Deadpool, into the player and we all settled back into the bubbles to enjoy ourselves.

Deadpool is about the hundred and thirty sixth Marvel comics film released in the last decade.  It fits into the X-men portion of their universe and Ryan Reynolds actually introduced the character in the film Wolverine back in 2009.  Reynolds, who has a likeable enough, if somewhat bland screen presence, has been searching for a career defining hit for years.  He tried for superhero super stardom in the underwhelming The Green Lantern a few years back but finally found the right vehicle in this film which smashed box office records when released earlier this year.   Deadpool is a sort of antihero superhero.  He mouths off, behaves reprehensibly, breaks the fourth wall to address the audience directly and subverts as many comic book film clichés as he can.  In short, he’s the eternal high school sophomore.

As this film is the origin story, we first meet Deadpool in mid mayhem in a rather funny credit sequence which juxtaposes The Matrix style slow motion with a set of titles which announce the movie as ‘Some douchebag’s film’ starring ‘God’s perfect idiot, a hot chick, a British villain and the comic relief’ amongst others.  We then enter a flash back (it is an origin story after all) to when Deadpool is a simple ill-behaved mercenary named Wade Wilson who runs around starting bar fights.  One night, he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a lady of the evening and a one-night stand blossoms into a love of sorts.  Unfortunately, just as they are about to enter happily ever after territory, Wade finds out he has metastatic cancer and only a short time to live.  He falls in with the mutant Ajax (Ed Skrein) who offers him the chance of cure.  Wade is injected with a serum, subjected to various tortures to activate it and while the serum eventually works leaving him with immunity to disease and regenerative powers, it does so at the cost of some sort of skin disease that makes him look like psoriatic flambé.  Wade vows revenge on Ajax, takes his super hero name from the dead pool betting at his favorite dive bar run by his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), teams up with a couple of mutants from Professor Xavier’s school – Colossus (CGI voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand and no I did not make that name up), shacks up with an old blind lady (Leslie Uggams) and tries to avoid Vanessa as he believes she can never love him in his now deformed state. Let’s just say that plot is not the film’s strength.

What makes the film work is its relentless direction by Tim Miller.  He never lets the pace flag, no matter how silly the situation, and we don’t remain with any one setting or conversation long enough for it to get old.  It all flies by at ninety miles an hour.  Some might find it overly frenetic but I rather enjoyed it as it kept me from having to think about too much.  It’s more amusement park thrill ride than movie in some ways.  If you were to stop and think about it, it becomes clear that there are no real characters in the film, only types spouting rather disgusting bon mots at each other.  That’s the other thing that makes the film work.  The salty language is at times so over the top, you aren’t sure whether to laugh uproariously or be horrified so you generally do both at once.

The cast is obviously having great fun, especially Ryan Reynolds who seems to be having the time of his life and is much more loose in his acting style and body language than usual, especially when he is in his zentai Deadpool suit and has to use small changes in posture to convey a lot of information.   The rest of the gang doesn’t have that much to do, but give it their all in their scenes.  Leslie Uggams, who hasn’t been seen much in recent years, obviously relishes her turn as the sardonic Al, the blind woman who ends up as Deadpool’s roommate.  (I was submitted for the role but turned it down when her big musical number was cut early in preproduction).   The only one I did not care for was Brianna Hildebrand’s brooding teenage mutant who seems to have escaped from one of those angsty young adult dramas based on a John Green novel. I kept looking for the mute button every time she appeared on screen.

Fans of the comic book genre will enjoy this, especially Deadpool’s deconstructing asides to the audience, as will those who like the more inventive uses of profanity.  There are a number of graphic gore scenes, somewhat less graphic sex scenes and the aforementioned language so keep the kiddies away.

Indian taxi driver.  Pizza guy threatening.  Blow job cocktails.  Cigarette lighter to face.  Limited bullets.  Exploding school foreshadowing.  Near drowning.  Gratuitous falling ships.  Sword play. Garbage truck riding.

To learn more about Mrs. Norman Maine, see our Movie Rewind introduction, visit her entire back catalog and follow her on Twitter at

photo by StuSeeger

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