On music, an e-mail asked if I like musicals?
I loved musicals. Gene Kelly is one of my all time favorite movie stars. Of all the musicals made before 1970, my top ten favorite would be the following (order varies):
* Summer Stock
* An American In Paris
* For Me and My Gal
* The Pirate
* Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
* Funny Face
* Funny Girl
* Thoroughly Modern Millie
* Easter Parade
And that's just ten. I could name five other Judy Garlands, the Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly pairings and other Marilyn films, and I could name Pal Joey, West Side Story, Mary Poppins, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and probably 100 more that I love.
Very, very few.
In the entire 70s, these are the only musicals I feel that are worth watching for anything other than 'academic' interest, the only ones that are enjoyable:
* On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
* At Long Last Love
* New York, New York
Some would include Lady Sings The Blues and A Star Is Born. I wouldn't. Those are films about singers and contain singing. I don't see them as musicals. The Judy Garland A Star Is Born? Absolutely. You've got singing and dancing, musical numbers. Concerts don't strike me as musical numbers.
I like both of those 70s films but I see them as dramas with singing.
Some people don't like three of the five above. I think they're passionate and fun.
In the 1980s?
* Absolute Beginners
And that's it. Granted Victor/Victoria is one of the great musicals of all time and Yentl is art so that's something but that's it. If you included Popeye, Flashdance, School Daze and/or Footloose, I wouldn't argue with you and they have moments I just don't see them as top ten worthy even when there are only 3 on my top ten of the 80s.
* Stepping Out
* Strictly Ballroom
* Sister Act
* Cats Don't Dance
* The Full Monty
* Everyone Says I Love You
You can love Cry Baby or the first Hair Spray. They do nothing for me. Everyone Says I Love You has moments -- especially with Goldie Hawn -- and it always has energy so I have no problem putting it on the list. The Full Monty was a good musical comedy. Whoopi will probably never have a better role than Sister Act. She's also pissed off so many people with her stupid remarks (like rape not being 'real rape') that she'll never have that kind of moment again. Cats Don't Dance is a wonderful musical and it's animated. Darla Dimples is the best villain in a musical in years. Stepping Out gives us Liza in a musical and that's no minor thing. Like some of Judy's movies, the plot's really weak but the performances make up for it. Strictly Ballroom is a classic musical. But Trick is the best of the 90s and Tori Spelling is perfect in it. Everyone is but I never thought I'd like Tori Spelling in anything until that movie. This is a really great love story and Tori isn't one of the two in love. I had bought movies on videotape and then when DVDs came along, I didn't want switch. So I kept buying video through 96. This came out on DVD I think in 1997 or 98. Regardless, Sumner gave me a DVD player as a gift that year and Trick was the first thing I bought on DVD. For most of the year, you could watch that, Cactus Flower, Shampoo, Tootsie, Some Like It Hot or Duck Soup if you came over. That was my 'collection' the first year I had a DVD player.
[Kat note on Sunday 3-25, I had the title to Trick wrong. I have corrected it after C.I. mentioned it to me this morning while we're working on Third Estate Sunday Review.]
* The Big Gay Musical
* Moulin Rouge
* Hedwig and the Angry Itch
* Mama Mia
I think everyone on the list above is art. I think Mama Mia is one of Meryl's best performances. I didn't see it at the movies. I was busy. I finally got it on the road from a Red Box. And I was kind of ticked off to be renting it. Because I had been in San Francisco a few weekends prior and almost got it at Borders and Maggie said, "Oh, I hate that movie. I got it as a gift. You can have my copy." But she never gave it.
So I was going to return it to the next Red Box we passed. Instead, I ended up keeping it (they bill your credit card, if you don't know Red Box, I didn't steal it). Hedwig was amazing as well. Hairspray had John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Queen Latifah acting like they'd just discovered acting. I don't mean that as an insult, I mean they had so much love in their performances. I love Hairspray. I thought, after Moulin Rouge, that Nicole Kidman would be getting all these musical roles. Nope. The only part she did again was in Nine (she was miscast but one of the best things about the film). I do not like Dreamgirls or Chicago. Both are dead and lifeless and are the 'musicals for people who don't like musicals' musicals. They rely on 'drama' and 'seriousness' and they fail. (I actually enjoyed Dreamgirls onstage. I can't stand the movie.) The best musical of the last decade and one of the all time great musicals is The Big Gay Musical. The first time I saw it, I was so surprised. The second time, I tried to pay attention to the way the story was edited. The third time I looked at the way the movie was edited. I did that with about four other things before I finally felt, "Screw it! I'll never really get all that makes it so great, I just know it's a great movie."
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"