Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Movies: Two Musicals!

Grease (1978) Randal Kleiser
It's fucked up that we just hand this movie to America's children without even thinking about what's on it. I'm no puritan trying to save kids from raunchy teen sex comedies or anything; I'm just more concerned about the fact that this funny movie is being wasted on ten year olds who just won't get it. For instance: there's a line in the "Grease Lightning" song where Travolta sings something like "You are supreme / The chicks will cream" and man, I just didn't get that. My ten year old brain reconciled this by deciding that the lyric was "every chick's dream" and that Travolta was a mush-mouthed singer. What I'm getting at is that this movie is worth a revisit as you get older, wiser, and more willing to laugh at how dumb teenagers are. I had a great time rewatching this and I enjoyed just how dumb and mean some of the songs were, and not in the way that you rewatch this movie when you're like 18 or 19 or 20 and you're obsessed by how "fucked up" everything you watched as a kid really was. (Yeah man I guess Rocko's Modern Life was fucked up. If you think about it, Fern Gully is pretty fucked up. Have you noticed how fucked up Land Before Time was, like as a concept?) The best part this time around was probably realizing just how cruel that "Beauty School Dropout" song is, and seeing Frankie Avalon just being a prick to Frenchie via beautiful, dreamy music. It's not a good movie, but it's the kind of movie that'll always be good for laughing at yourself and how dumb you used to be.

Les Misérables (2012) Tom Hooper
I was not prepared for how in your face this movie was going to be. Everything feels massive, and all the actors are just fucking belting out these desperate songs. It was pretty overwhelming, but for as many parts where it felt like I was knocked on my ass by the sheer force of will of this movie, there were long stretches where I could not be bothered to give a shit, particularly when Hugh Jackman is just sort of singing on his own and feeling sorry for himself. The best shit is when EVERYBODY is singing as if these songs could topple the Bourgeoisie and the Aristocracy and the King or whoever and anything in this whole goddamn universe that's ever made anyone feel like less than what they are, and when that happens, when all of these people are taking you through every point of the emotional spectrum, you kick yourself because all you can think about is how now you get why Hathaway got that Oscar -- she's the only one who was able to do exactly that without the entire French Revolution singing back up.

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