Here at Renegade Cinema, yes, we love films that have testosterone and full blown Michael Bay pyrotechnics. We also love a good comic book film involving mutants with metal blades the size of Freddy Kreuger’s nightmares. We love all these things and much more. However, every now and then, even the toughest of Renegades needs a good musical.
This week, One Direction- This is Us hit theaters everywhere. So at first, I thought it would be fun to poke fun at the genre by listing the musicals we hated. Little did I know, the staff here at Renegade has zero hate for the musical genre. So, I bring you the Staff Picks for All-Time Favorite Musical!
Yes I have seen the original Mel Brooks film. But this one really resonates with me. It made me like Nathan Lane a hell of a lot more. The man is hilarious. And it has some excellent songs in there. And of course the song Springtime For Hitler is priceless. The whole film is hilarious.
I don’t much care for musicals, and I thought the South Park movie was pretty terrible, but Trey is such a fantastic writer that the songs make the film worthwhile. Everything from Quiet Mountain Town, Uncle Intercourser, and Blame Canada are songs I’d listen to on a drive, no problem. I really hope they make a film out of Book of Mormon. I’m sure it’ll be a real jawbreaker…
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – not much needs to be said; it speaks for itself.
It’s a tie between Sunset Boulevard and Wicked for me. I loved how Sunset Boulevard really played on the conflict between money and happiness. Plus, the music was excellent; tt’s highly underated in terms of Andrew Lloyd Webber. As for Wicked, it’s just a joy to see live. The music is excellent, and the story is quite unique in its own right.
Easily the worst musical I’ve ever see is “Gigi”. Turn of the century france is cheaply recreated in this musical about a wealthy Parisian who woos a middle class girl half his age, and who’s probably his cousin. This would all be fine if it were some fossian revisionist musical, however it’s played completely straight. The male lead, Louis Jouran, wasn’t able to sing so he talk songs all his songs — which are all terribly maudin anyway. Oh and the first scene is an old Parisian man watching little girls play in a park and singing the song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” — which is about how he can’t wait for them to grow up so he can fuck them. Seriously. If you don’t believe me watch it. Oh and it won 9 (9!) Academy Awards in 1959, proving that the Oscars have always been bullshit.
I guess my favorite clsssic musical would be The Music Man. It’s so earnest and corny, how could you not love it?
I’ve been lucky enough to see three of Broadway’s biggest shows while they were still there: Rent, Hairspray, and Phantom of the Opera. Hairspray and Phantom of the Opera both kicked several different kinds of ass. (PotR had a six-foot high wall of fire across the stage! You could feel the heat way up in the upper levels.) The music was great, but I can’t say that I really love the Hairspray movie, and I haven’t seen the version of Phantom with Gerard Butler. I also somehow missed the chance to see Les Miserables while it was in theaters. With all this in mind, I’m afraid that I’ll have to go with an old standby. “Singin’ In the Rain.” It’s a great, genuinely funny movie with excellent songs and impressive choreography. Apologies for the cheap choice!
I’ve been mulling this one over a bit…I was fortunate enough to see The Producers live during on off-Broadway tour, so while I didn’t get the full awesomeness of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (the production I saw featured Alan Ruck and Richard Kind and they were superb), I still laughed myself silly. The property itself is just so good that it takes a lot to muck it up — hence the film and multiple live interpretations.
But since we are predominantly a movie site, and I’ve never actually see the Mel Brooks film of the same name (shame on me), I’ll have to go with Grease. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John had tremendous chemistry, all the supporting performers were equally strong, and the soundtrack is a school time/summer gem. Go greased lightnin’!
If I’m going with my nostalgia, I’ve got to go with Bye Bye Birdie and The Music Man. I’ve been part of both through a local community theater and I’m not sure whether it was the charm of the stories or the repetitive nature of rehearsing the songs, but I’ll never forget the impact both have left behind.
Nostalgia aside, I actually think Les Miserables is the best musical I’ve seen in a long time. Sure that’s the all the rage answer because of last year’s excellent adaption, but I’ve found myself humming the songs to myself on so many occasions that I’ve purchased the soundtrack from both the movie and the latest Broadway run.
Moulin Rogue. I don’t care that it isn’t a “traditional” musical. I absolutely love this movie. The songs are fantastic and I actually listened to this soundtrack non-stop for a period of time. The cinematography and visuals were amazing, which is no surprise coming from Baz Luhrmann. The story was great and I thought Ewan McGregor was fantastic. I’ll be honest, when it came out, I was cheering for A Beautiful Mind to win the Oscar with Gosford Park as a close second. 13 years later and Moulin Rouge is my favorite movie that came out that year. There is NOTHING about this movie that I don’t like.
Most people think of a musical as playing by a certain set of laws. To me, I have a different perspective on what constitutes a musical. If a musical is a film where singing occurs all throughout, with an interesting story to guide the material, then 8 Mile is definitely within the category. The difference is, 8 Mile doesn’t get all showtuney and theatrical about it. It stays grounded as it tells the tale of an artist struggling to be heard within his own genre, while subtle rap battles and lyrical exchanges take place in between. There is also strong dramatic direction delivered by Curtis Hanson, who also made L.A. Confidential.