This week my randomiser gave me musicals. One of my least favourite genres, so I wasn’t expecting much of a good time. I got recommendations off two people – one who is a massive musical fanatic – and used that list of films to select what I watched this week. I tried to choose a range of different types of musicals and from different decades as well.
I got through quite a few this week, definitely having an easier time after I remembered how hot Gene Kelly was and then just kind of stuck to his musicals. I’m not a fan of happy, fluffy stuff. I find it fake and unpleasant. Not that I’m some emo kind of person, but I like deeper, darker themes. I do love quite a few musicals, but the South Park movie is my favourite musical so that probably shows what kind of stuff I usually like. I revisited two of my other favourite musicals, loving one a lot more than I had previously.
I decided to opt for a modern musical first up. I somewhat guiltily enjoyed this, although it was seriously problematic. It was quite musical-lite, there were only a couple of songs in it, but they were decent enough. Patrick Dempsey is a weak actor, but is a decent straight man here, and I thought James Marsden was the highlight. Amy Adams sometimes seemed forced, but mostly gave a fairly honest performance as the cheerfully innocent Giselle, though I hate that kind of character and I can’t stand Amy Adams so I really didn’t like her. I kind of liked the story, but I didn’t like how childish it was. Eg, Giselle had the mindset for a 5 year old and yet a grown man – a lawyer, at that – falls in love with her. Which is a bit pedo-y for my liking. I also didn’t buy that she would fall in love with him, for partly the same reason and there wasn’t really much more to their relationship than hers with Prince Edward. It was clearly aimed at children, but I think it would’ve been better had it been aimed at an older audience (like, closer to Kate and Leopold than Snow White). Despite these really annoying things, I still found myself enjoying it.
I like Pink Flamingos, but I don’t like any other Waters’ movies. This one wasn’t too bad though. I liked the way it evoked the 50s, and since that’s my kind of music, I enjoyed the music too. I didn’t think much of the story, which I found a bit lame. It had the typical weird John Waters sense of humour and the actors all put a lot of energy into their performances, but it just wasn’t my thing.
Anchors Aweigh (1945)
I then went back to the classic era of musicals. This was a pretty typical musical. I like Gene Kelly, so I’ll watch anything with him in it. Sinatra I find a bit dull. And Grayson was absolutely horrible. From her voice to her acting to her hideously lop-sided face. I liked a couple of the songs and it had a typical gleeful musical tone so it was a decently light watch. I liked that the leads were two guys so it was partly about their friendship rather than just being totally focused on the romance stuff.
Beyond the Sea (2004)
All the musicals so far have been quite different in structure. This one is more of a biographical drama with music rather than a pure musical. Whilst I like some Bobby Darin songs, I’m not particularly a fan and knew little about him. It’s a decent, if not bland, bio-drama. Kevin Spacey is good (and he’s tied with Alain Delon as my favourite actor, so I’m biased), although Bosworth is awful as usual. I think it gives a broad overview of Darin’s life. These films tend to be overly positive towards the person who is the focus which is no different here. The music is good and Spacey has a really great voice. But I don’t think directing is Spacey’s strong suit.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
After watching Anchors Aweigh, I’ve had Gene Kelly on my mind so I decided to rewatch this. I haven’t seen it in almost 11 years so I remembered very little. I loved it even more than I did then. As mentioned I usually hate musicals and overly happy things, but it’s just so genuine that it’s impossible to dislike. I love all the musical numbers, I love the songs, I love the dancing. I think all the actors are on point, though Debbie Reynolds is a bit of a weak link but she’s still ok. And Gene Kelly is just so hot.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Another rewatch since I was in the mood. I still think it’s a great film, but I don’t love it as much as I used to. The songs are staples these days and although I’m not a massive fan of any of the numbers, they are still fun to watch and hear. The use of colour is excellent and really brings the sets to life.
For Me and My Gal (1942)
Went back to the Gene Kelly stuff after that. It hasn’t aged very well. I’m not a huge fan of Judy Garland either. In Oz she’s tolerable, but I don’t particularly like her voice and she’s hideously ugly. She and Kelly didn’t really have much chemistry, though they danced and sung well together. The plot was pretty typical for its time and didn’t really do much else with it. Also when Jo got angry at Harry for not wanting to go kill himself in the war, so they could both achieve their dream of performing at The Palace and get married, I got annoyed and hoped that he would leave that cow behind.
Cover Girl (1944)
Super bland. The opening number was quite catchy but it was downhill from there. It felt wooden and stilted. The dancing and songs were dull (Gene Kelly dancing with himself was kind of cool though). The subplot about Rusty’s grandmother was terrible. The actors seemed uninterested. There was no energy, no life. It was very boring.
Best Film of the Week:
If I included rewatches, clearly Singin’ in the Rain. But going by first time watches, it would probably be Anchors Aweigh.
Worst Film of the Week:
Despite the Gene Kelly factor, it’s a close call between Cover Girl and For Me and My Gal. The latter was just too dated, the plot wasn’t very interesting and the musical numbers were pretty lame. The former was just bland with more lame musical numbers.
I’m taking a break from this themed week thing for a while to catch up on the Oscar nominated films, but my next theme is the 1920s so I should hopefully start that in a couple of weeks.by