One of my lovely readers suggested I write about motion picture musicals to counteract the general mood of impending doom surrounding the Cat Lady as of late. I forget that not everyone is as immune to serial killers, apocalyptic plague and depressive fits of hysteria as I am, so I do apologize for any darkness I may have unintentionally spread. Let’s just say I was doing it in the spirit of National Suicide Prevention Day, which was yesterday. As in, see, it could be worse – no one you love has the plague, and no one you know has been dined upon by Hannibal Lector. You’re welcome.
Sorry if that didn’t make you feel better. Jokes in poor taste are my method of coping.
Shoot, it’s also 9/11 today, so we’re all a little morose from the perpetual reminder of the most catastrophic event in recent history.
So, motion picture musicals? Why yes, I would love to discuss that topic!
[I realize I may lose one or two (or ten) of you here, but tomorrow I will probably be back to my regular antics and offending everybody with a colloquium on communicable diseases and a complete inventory of my many phobias. But please stay, we're going to HAVE SO MUCH FUN!]
I am not an indiscriminate fan; in fact, I am very selective. I don’t like musicals for the sake of their musicalness – in fact, there are some that I actually loathe. I won’t mention them here, because I don’t want to cripple anyone’s emotional well-being; people can be really sensitive about their favorite (or most hated) musical. And this is a happy place.
What I like MOST about musicals is that people are going about their normal, day-to-day lives, and then SPONTANEOUSLY BURST INTO SONG. Yep. It’s that simple. I used to fantasize about this in high school; incorporating well-harmonized chorus and choreographed dance in between first and second periods. That is what recovering theatre geeks do.
Now I’m no expert on musical theatre or film, but I am the most deadly of art critics: the notorious English Lit major/Art History minor. Naturally, this fabled duo empowers me with the ability to be very critical of ALL art forms and defend my position in ways that cannot be argued with. I hate that I just ended that sentence with a preposition, but I really feel like had no choice. So even though I have friends whose thoughts on musical motion pictures are definitely worth more than mine, I have this forum from which I may freely peddle my opinions, and they are restricted to the Comments section. And that, my friends, is what I call ego run riot.
In no particular order, these are the very exclusive movie-musicals that are on my favorites list:
Fiddler on the Roof. Starts off knee-slappingly hilarious, then I bawl my eyes out by the time Hodel gets on the train to Siberia. Every. Stinkin’. Time.
White Christmas. Because my favorite drag show includes Danny Kay and Bing Crosby. They have such good chemistry. Not the sexy kind, the comic kind. Felt the need to clarify that.
Moulin Rouge. I am in love with Ewan McGregor. I also love Baz Luhrmann (sometimes. We’re more on-again-off-again, really). Also, who doesn’t appreciate a little Madonna/David Bowie adaptation now and again? Anyone who doesn’t, please go sit in the corner now.
West Side Story. This one I love more for the dancing and the score than anything else. As much as I adore Natalie Wood, sorry, I don’t buy her as a Puerto Rican immigrant.
Mary Poppins. C’mon, how can you not love the post-Victorian/proto-Edwardian socialist subtext?? Damn right I want to feed the birds! And JULIE ANDREWS. I need not say more, because that wins EVERYTHING.
Chicago. Manages to be gritty, sleazy, and magnifique all at the same time. I defy you to watch that and not walk away singing “All that Jazz.”
Beauty and the Beast. I did not say cartoons could not be on this list. It’s on here especially because Belle is my alter ego.
Sweeney Todd. Saw it in rehab (that phrase will never grow old for me), so it has a special place in my heart. I was initially skeptical, then realized, “Wow, this is very bloody. And musical.” And then I liked it.
I also have high hopes for Les Misérables. Probably too high. And they’re very fragile. As in, I will cut someone with a shiv if it’s not good. This Christmas we’ll find out…better hide all your shivs.
Also, I did not say “favorite musicals,” I said “favorite film musicals,” which is distinctly different. Otherwise, The Scarlet Pimpernel would skyrocket to the number one position. I’m still waiting for them to make it into a film. Or I’d settle for a Broadway reprisal. In Los Angeles. Douglas Sills isn’t too old to play the Pimpernel, right???
This is really poor quality. Someone, PLEASE make this into a movie. You’re welcome for the billion-dollar suggestion I just made. I even gave it for free, that’s how much I care.