They kept us waiting right ’til the end of the year – but I think I might just have spotted the Worst Movie of 2017.
It’s called The Greatest Showman. It stars Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams and Zac Efron. And it purports to tell the story of that notorious huckster P.T. Barnum – only reinvented for woke modern audiences as a 19th century Social Justice Warrior bringing the joy of diversity and gender-fluidity to a delighted and approving world.
Look at the trailer (below, though be sure to keep a sick bag close at hand: this is not for the weak of stomach).
The soundtrack sets the tone. It was written by the same lyricist duo responsible for the emetic schmaltzfest that was La La Land.
Here is the chorus from the main song, “This is Me,” which makes no attempt whatsoever, either musically or lyrically, to engage with the sensibilities of the movie’s period setting. No, it’s all about feeling great about being a midget/bearded lady/paralyzed slave, because – hey! – which circus show freak wouldn’t be happy being exploited commercially by a smiling showman in a big top hat?
[Repeat warning: do NOT step away from the sick bag. This is NOT a drill.]
OK, those lyrics:
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am proof
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
What did Fox think they were doing buying up this tosh?
P.T. Barnum, it’s true, did demonstrate certain liberal sensibilities during his bizarre, roller-coaster career. As a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, he campaigned for black equality and against the death penalty. He was also a temperance campaigner. (Oh, and he never actually did say “There’s a sucker born every minute.” This phrase seems to have been invented by one of his jealous rivals.)
What he most definitely wasn’t, though, was the kind of SJW Willy Wonka that poor Hugh Jackman (whose career may never recover from this latest insult) has been forced to impersonate in this saccharine confection of a movie.
In 1835, Barnum launched his career in entertainment by purchasing Joice Heth, a blind slave touted as being the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. After billing Heth as “the most astonishing and interesting curiosity in the world,” Barnum put her on display in New York and took her on a small tour of New England. Visitors lined up to gawk at her withered body and hear her tales of “dear little George,” and Barnum helped fuel popular interest by spreading a rumor that she was actually an automaton controlled by a ventriloquist. The truth about Heth didn’t emerge until after her death in February 1836. During a public autopsy—staged by Barnum at the price of 50 cents for admission—it was revealed that she was most likely no older than 80.
Here’s PT Barnum, as reinvented in 2017 for this copper-bottomed turkey of an abomination of an atrocity of movie:
Every one of us is special. And nobody is like anybody else.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.