A fan of the movie musical

As most of you know, I was pretty pumped to see Mamma Mia this weekend as it opened in theaters from coast-to-coast. Several people asked me what I thought about the film. Of course, this is AFTER they realized I paid $7 to see a movie musical instead of Batman, but that’s neither here or there.

Did I like the movie? I give it an affectionate, “Meh.” Which translates into a B- in my book.

I love movie musicals. I grew up singing and dancing to Sound of Music, Bye Bye Birdie, Singin’ in the Rain, Grease…One and Two. Clearly I am hard core. I’m pretty sure that I am able to give an accurate position when grading current movie musicals.

It’s simple really. I ask myself, “Would I buy the DVD? Would I purchase the soundtrack?”

For instance, if the opportunity arose, I could have Madonna singing, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” in 2.5 seconds. Do I own the whole Evita album? No. Do I own the movie? No.

Here’s another example: Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring the effervescent Donny Osmond. Do I own the movie? Yes. HOWEVER…it’s in VHS format, which is a great big red flag that I don’t love it THAT much, or I would have upgraded to DVD by now.

You see where I’m going here? Donny and Madonna are certainly worthy…but I’m not a die hard fan of their musicals.

In the last 20 years, I think there have been five modern movie musicals that are worthy of both soundtrack and DVD purchase. It’s been extremely difficult and a little painful, but I have narrowed it down and they ARE in a particular order. Again…there will be no judging on this website. And please note that this does NOT count animated movies. We would be here all day if that was the case. Am I right?

#5: Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson singing, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” is one of my favorite songs. I also like how I am able to channel my inner black woman when I sing the closing “Dreamgirls” number. It’s amazing. Especially in my car. Trust me.

#4: Moulin Rouge
C’mon people. Ewan McGregor? “Elephant Song Medley,” “Come What May” and “Your Song.” One of the few movies that Nicole Kidman doesn’t get on my nerves. Definite plus.

#3: Chicago
I must have been brain dead when this came out, because I never saw it in the theater. But when I rented it for the first time, I believe I bought the CD and DVD the very next day. One of the few CDs that I enjoy every song. I love “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango” and “Mr. Cellophane.”

#2: Hairspray
Love the entire movie. Love the entire soundtrack. Everyone was perfectly cast. In fact, I think I prefer John Travolta as a large, curvy woman. And Michelle Pfeiffer hasn’t been THIS good since Grease 2. Oh yeah…I went there.

#1: Newsies
I know what you are thinking. “Seriously Lincee? You put Disney’s 1992 mega hit (in my eyes) as your first place movie musical in the last 20 years?”

My answer would be, “Heck yes!” But just to be sure, I called my friend Jill.

Jill: “Hello?”
Lincee: “I have a question for you. If you had to rank movie musicals that came out in the last 20 years, what would be…”

She answers before I have time to finish my sentence:

ANNIE! Oh I loved that movie. I remember…”

I interrupt her.

Lincee: “I know! It’s one of my top ones too, but the rule is the last 20 years.”
Jill: “Right. Annie. With Aileen Quinn? That has to be your number one.”

Lincee: “Annie came out in 1982.”

I believe Jill’s words were, “Shut up.” Or something along those lines.

Lincee: “Yeah. We are old.”
Jill: “Then I would have to go with Newsies.”

Thank you. A total unbiased opinion from an outside source. It has nothing to do with that being a perfect example as to why Jill and I are friends. I’m just saying.

I saw Newsies in high school. I fell in love with Christian Bale and am a complete sucker for boys dancing. I wore out both the cassette and VHS tapes. I can sing every song and have mastered a pretty decent New York accent as a result. It’s that good. Think about it…a cassette, a CD, a VHS tape and a DVD. Would I steer you wrong?

So where does Mamma Mia fit in? Definitely not a top five. I contemplated purchasing the CD, but I already have the Broadway version and ABBA GOLD, so there’s really not a need. And I don’t think I can stomach hearing Pierce Brosnon singing “SOS” again. I’ll probably squish it up in the Top 10 behind Rent, Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd for good measure.

What do you think? Did I totally miss the boat? Did you enjoy the movie? Should I give it another go? Did you rewind your VHS tape a million times when Christian Bale does a pelvic thrust while singing “Carrying the Banner” in the opening number of Newsies? Was that just me? Are there musicals that I left out? Are you going to judge me because I don’t care for Rent other than the song about five trillion twenty-one hundred six billion minutes?

Feel free to discuss below.


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