Based on the play by Broadway star Jonathan Larson, Tic, Tic … Boom! is a musical exploration of the life, career and untimely death of the playwright. As a musical about a man trying to write a musical, musical numbers are essential to the success of the film. The film swings back and forth between Jonathan performing the musical numbers on stage and experiencing him experience the events that led him to write the song, leading to dynamic and memorable musical numbers.
From emotional and intimate numbers like “Why” and “Real Life” and fun songs like “Boho Days” and “No More”, to big, energetic numbers like “30/90” and “Sunday”, the film is filled with musical numbers that combine memorable songs with visually compelling images.
ten “To swim”
Suffering from the writer’s block, Jonathan tries to clear his mind by going for a swim. He expresses his frustration as he tries to swim faster and faster. But after slowing down, he is able to find his inspiration when he sees musical notes appear on the bottom of the pool.
While the song isn’t as memorable as some of the other numbers, the scene is incredibly interesting visually. The underwater shots are well done and Jonathan even manages to sing underwater. Viewing the notes also adds to the visual appeal of the musical number.
9 “Real life”
When Jonathan learns that his play has no future, he begins to feel like he’s running out of time. He makes the mistake of accusing Michael of not understanding this feeling, prompting Michael to share his HIV diagnosis. The two deal with this in the song as Michael seeks medical treatment while Jonathan tries to run away from his thoughts and feelings.
The song is relatively short but it captures the shock and pain of the moment beautifully. Despite their struggles, the two characters care deeply for each other and their hurt is visible in the number, causing others around them to cry as well. Considering Jonathan would go on to write one of the most influential stories about the AIDS epidemic, it was a pivotal moment that changed his life forever.
8 “Louder than words”
The show’s final issue ends the story, highlighting the decision that everyone must make about how they will live their lives. With a few occasional cuts to Jonathan to mend his relationships and pursue his dreams, the number mainly features Jonathan performing the song on stage.
It’s a powerful and effective ending that sums up the message of the film, especially after the narration of Jonathan’s impending death. He looks around the audience several times, hoping to see Susan. Her revelation on camera, but not to Jonathan, is a subtle and satisfying choice that adds to the emotion of the number.
seven “The bohemian days”
At a party at his home, Jonathan decides to sing along, thoroughly entertaining his guests. He sings about his bohemian lifestyle, making fun of his apartment layout, roommates’ revolving door, and unfulfilled expectations for his life.
While the musical number is fairly straightforward, Andrew Garfield’s great performance brings charm and energy to the stage. The song plays as a precursor to “La Vie Bohème” by To rent, showing that the writer struggled with these themes years before. Jonathan spends much of the movie stressed out and pressed for time, but this act is a fun scene that keeps him the life of the party.
Following the news of Michael’s diagnosis, Jonathan struggles to process the information. He finds an empty open-air theater and plays the piano while reflecting on his friendship with Michael and the limited time he has to spend.
The film highlights this moving song with a clip of video clips of Jonathan and Michael’s friendship, showing the deep history the two have together. It’s a touching and moving number that helps Jonathan come to his senses and understand how he wants to live the rest of his life.
5 “No more”
As Jonathan visits Michael in his luxurious new apartment, the two begin to sing about the difference in quality of life that Michael will experience now that he has moved from his dilapidated apartment to his new one.
The musical number is filled with fun visual juxtapositions, illustrating the massive upgrade that Michael is experiencing. It’s a fun song that includes a nod to the theme song of The Jeffersons. The issue further establishes the friendship between Jonathan and Michael while also highlighting the different paths they are currently on.
Stressed and overwhelmed, Jonathan tries to avoid telling Susan about her job offer. When that fails, the two find themselves in a fight that Jonathan later uses as inspiration for a song on his show.
The scene comes and goes between the fight and Jonathan and Karessa performing the song. The quick cuts, clever lyrics, and exaggerated performance of the song fill the fight with energy. The song also captures the emotion behind the fight perfectly, turning the subtext into lyrics. It’s a creative and compelling move that takes what could have been a cliched breakup scene and turns into one of the moments in the film.
3 “Come to your senses”
When the time finally comes for Jonathan to launch his new song at the studio for his play, Karessa performs the song to perfection but Jonathan can’t help but imagine Susan singing the song to him on the roof instead.
This musical number boasts some amazing vocal performances that bring the lyrics to life. While Jonathan has typically found himself dreaming about musicals, this number represents a reversal where he dreams of his real life in the midst of a musical, hinting at the growth he will experience as he goes. he will realize the people and things in his life that really matter.
As his mind races and many things vie for his time and attention, Jonathan finds himself imagining that the restaurant is full of Broadway stars rather than customers as he takes to singing.
While there are stronger songs in the movie, this musical number stands out thanks to the visual imagery and the incredible cast of icons that come together to sing the song. The issue features cameos from artists such as Andre De Shields, Phylicia Rashad and the actors responsible for some of the best characters in Hamilton in Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo and Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. For theater lovers, it is a special scene that brings together legendary talents.
The opening issue of the film introduces audiences to Jonathan’s world, showing his less than glamorous apartment, the restaurant he works in, his friends, the room he works on, and the countdown to his impending 30th birthday.
The musical number is energetic and compelling, grabbing audiences from the start and capturing the frenetic and personal spirit of Jonathan Larson’s original piece. The song immediately communicates the character’s sense of urgency and focuses on accomplishing something important. It’s a great opening act that communicates everything audiences need to know about setup in an entertaining and eye-catching way, setting the tone for the rest of the musical.
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