While we haven’t really looked at musicals in the past here on Geeky Hobbies, I have always been a big fan of the genre. It is kind of hard to explain exactly why I like musicals but there is just something about them that are so enjoyable. When the real world gets you down it is just nice taking a short trip to a world where things are just more cheerful. Yes it is ridiculous that people randomly jump into song and start dancing. Musicals are so different from normal life though that they are nice distractions from your every day troubles. As I enjoy most musicals I am always willing to try out a new one. For this reason I was intrigued to try our Stuck as it seemed to have an interesting premise. Stuck does a good job creating some catchy songs and has some good character development, but gets a little too political at times.
We would like to thank Vision Films Inc, MJW Films, and Little Angel Productions for the screener of Stuck used for this review. Other than receiving the screener we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the screener had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
Stuck tells the tale of six commuters. When the subway breaks down these six strangers are trapped in their subway car. While these six strangers are just trying to get to their destination they are forced to confront their own personal troubles. As the passengers have different backgrounds this leads to them having preconceived thoughts on the other passengers. As they learn about each other’s lives they realize that everything might not be as simple as it first appears. Each of the passengers have to consider their impact on other people’s lives. This is one day that each passenger will never forget.
At its core Stuck is a musical. The movie also has drama and political discussion elements as well, but I would say that the majority of the film is a musical. Stuck’s music seems to be inspired by quite a few different genres, but I would say that a majority of the songs have pop and traditional musical elements. Like most musicals the characters regularly break into song to talk about their current feelings. Most of the songs come into play to tell the backstory and troubles that each character is dealing with. This is done through a combination of flashbacks mixed with your typical musical dancing and singing inside the subway car. As I am a big fan of musicals this is one area that made me interested in checking out Stuck. For the most part I really liked the musical aspects of the movie.
I liked the musical elements for two reasons. First I thought the music was quite good. Some of the songs were better than others, but I really liked the songs in Stuck. I wouldn’t say that it is one of my favorite musical soundtracks, but I could see listening to the music from the movie from time to time. In addition to the music being quite good, it actually does a really good job telling the backstories of the different characters. Basically each character has one or two songs which are used to show what troubles each character is dealing with. While some songs are upbeat and quirky, quite a few of the songs are quite touching and deep. These flashback musical numbers are shot really well and are probably the best parts of the movie.
In addition to the music I thought the acting was quite good. Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) is probably the main character of the movie playing a homeless man that basically lives on the subway car. All of the characters get their own time in the spotlight though and I thought all of the actors/actresses did a good job in the movie. I would say that some of them are better singers than others, but the singing is pretty good for the most part. When you add in the flashbacks all of the characters are interesting as you learn that all of them have their own troubles that they are trying to deal with.
There is honestly a lot of things that I liked about Stuck as it does a lot of things right. Unfortunately there is one thing about the movie that I really didn’t like.
In recent years there have been quite a few people that have disliked some blockbuster movies and television shows because they have felt that they have become too political. In some cases I can see what people are seeing as some films have been starting to add more political undertones to stories. In general I don’t really mind adding some political commentary as long as it is more subtle and doesn’t get in the way of the overall story. Some movies can go a little too far in this regard though where it takes you out of the movie experience. This is probably the thing that I liked least about Stuck as it is guilty of getting a little too political.
While Stuck is mainly a musical, it doesn’t hide that it is also a look at the current state of the United States. It isn’t afraid to open up a political debate. As the subway car is filled with men and women of different races, religions, and political affiliations; things eventually get political. Issues like racism, sexism and other hot button political issues are addressed in the movie. The movie presents both sides of the arguments and tries to show that people should take the time to get to know one another. These situations quickly devolve into yelling and arguing though. At times it felt like I was watching a cable news channel or was stuck in your stereotypical family political argument.
I am not against films that get political but these parts of the movie stick out like a sore thumb. Basically the movie breaks down like this. You have your typical musical moments where the characters sing and dance. Some of the songs are kind of sad but the movie still keeps an upbeat mood. Then you get into these fight/argument sections which totally kills the mood. The movie begins pretty upbeat for the first 15-20 minutes. At this point I was enjoying the movie quite a bit. The movie then jumps back and forth between the musical numbers and the arguing. While I liked the musical moments, the arguing took me out of the mood. Towards the end of the film it kind of ditches the arguing and the movie picks up again. Maybe it is just me but political arguments don’t really fit well with a musical. What I like about the musical genre is that it takes you away from your troubles in the real world. Then having the characters argue and fight about political issues brings you right back into the real world.
In my opinion it was such a shame that the movie decided to add these political argument sections. There is a lot that I liked about the movie. The musical sections are entertaining and the music is good for the most part. The acting is quite good and the movie is shot well. I was really liking the movie until I hit these political argument sections. The musical breaks were still good, but the arguing really took me out of the experience. I still enjoyed Stuck but I think it would have been better if these sections weren’t included in the movie or they were handled in a different way. Instead I wish the movie would have focused on the musical numbers and the characters’ backstories.
Ultimately I enjoyed my time with Stuck even though it had some issues preventing it from being as good as it could have been. The movie is not going to be for everyone though. People who hate musicals probably won’t like Stuck as while it has drama aspects as well I would still say a majority of the film is a musical. If you aren’t a fan of movies that mix in political commentary I don’t know if you will like Stuck. The arguing kind of distracts from the rest of the film but the musical elements are quite good. If you like musicals you should like most of the movie so I would recommend checking out Stuck.
Stuck is available on video on demand (iTunes, Vudu, Playstation, Google Play, Xbox, FandangoNow, and Cable Affiliates) on August 27th, 2019 and DVD on September 17th, 2019.