In the Heights, Hamilton connections form a Lin-Manuel Miranda Cinematic Universe
Musicals can be magic. Normally, that magic isn’t actual. Sure, it may appear like Fred Astaire or Ryan Gosling from La La Land are breaking the laws of physics within the cinematic worlds they occupy, however typically these are simply flights of elegant in the middle of a mainly sensible setting. Not the stories of Lin-Manuel Miranda, if you ask me.
Possibly the most outrageous minute from the brand-new movie variation of his musical, In the Heights, is when Benny (Corey Hawkins) and Nina (Leslie Grace) dance on the side of their apartment. It’s a scene that either moves you to tears or makes you grab a barf bag, however no matter how you feel, it’s magic.
And what if the magic in all of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical movies was genuine? What if these characters are controling our natural laws and are witches, warlocks, necromancers, and so on? Consisting of and specifically Abuela Claudia, who is plainly the most effective caster on the planet?
In a brand-new episode of Polygon’s Galaxy Brains, Jonah Ray and I are signed up with by comic and the host of the Hyphenated podcast, Joanna Hausmann, to untangle the Lin-Manuel Mirandaverse and choose whether Abuella can wield wonderful powers. Extravagant? Perhaps. However as Joanna sensibly mentions, the reason anybody may even discover a “Mirandaverse” in the very first location might be much more essential than it really existing. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation (which has been edited for clarity):
Dave: The death of Abuela Claudia is a huge plot point in the stage play and in this movie version of In the Heights. There’s also an essential grandmother character in Moana. Plus Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music for the ultimate space grandma herself, Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What’s up with this dude and grannies?
Joanna: He’s Latino! Latino culture is full of machismo, but it’s also a very matriarchal society. So grandmothers are perceived as people you venerate in the family, the people that need the most respect. They are like the gods, the demigods. That grandma is basically a demigod in Moana. In In the Heights, she is kind of a demigod as well. She is the mother of all. Not even mother. I don’t even know what she is. She’s beyond a mother.
Jonah: She’s the Virgin Mary. She’s never had her own kids, but she has actually all these children.
Joanna: Oh, bingo. It’s the Virgin Mary and Latin culture is very Catholic. So it all links back exactly to this sort of idea of the mothering perfect female that isn’t a Hollywood trope. It’s a trope within the Latino culture.
Dave: Would it be fair to say that Abuela is also magic?
Joanna: I think she’s magic because, like, who would want to spend time with a random person? There’s so many people that say, oh my God, I love Abuela. And in the motion picture, it’s like, OK, however what did she do?
Dave: She’s like The Godfather. She’s like Don Vito Corleone. Everybody is trying to get an audience with her all the time. “I don’t know what I should do about my bodega?” “Should I go to the Dominican Republic?” “Do you want to come with me, Abuela?” “Yeah, why not? I can put my feet in the sand and all that.” She does have, like you said, a demigod sort of vibe. She is the most important person in this community.
Joanna: And then once she dies, the vigil looks like a religious procession.
Dave: We don’t venerate older people in American society. Typically, we see them as a burden as opposed to a fountain of wisdom. And I think that’s really unfortunate because, boy, we could use some wisdom in our culture right now.
Jonah: I know, too, that they just found a lost George Romero movie from the ’70s called The Amusement Park, which is essentially about how elderly people are kind of tossed aside. It’s like a horror movie for old people where they’re just in this amusement park and it’s too much for them and it kind of escalates from there. But it is like a thing that’s been happening for an extremely long time and a culture that has actually ended up being so youth-focused.
For a deep dive into In the Heights, or to hear our episodes on A Peaceful Location Part II taking all the incorrect lessons from John Carpenter, Cruella’s Disney-approved punk goals, Josie and the Pussycats as an anti-capitalist work of art, the animated soul of Star Wars, and the pro-wrestling soul of Mortal Kombat, have a look at the Galaxy Brains feed, any place you get your podcasts.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.