Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top 10 Musicals

Originally Posted: 17 April 2013

First off, I think just about anyone who knows anything about Musicals is going to completely disagree with 90% of my choices on this list, but I don't care. I don't have a music theatre background, so I think that when its in a movie, and not on Broadway or in an Opera, its more important to have great acting then perfect singing. Either way, please enjoy this weeks list; Top 10 Movie Musicals.

10.) Mamma Mia
Against all of my best judgement I love this movie. I don't know if its simply my love of ABBA or not, but the first time I saw this I spent the whole movie laughing. Is this a great movie? Absolutely not, but is it some of the most fun you will ever have watching a movie? Hell yes. The cast is incredibly impressive but Pierce Brosnan is absolutely embarrassing in this movie. I'm sure he's an ok actor in general, but I was really almost unable to watch him in this one. However the rest of the cast, including Meryl Streep,Amanda SeyfriedColin Firth, Stellan SkarsgårdJulie WaltersChristine Baranski, and Dominic Cooper, were really great. I thought the singing was also fantastic, Amanda Seyfried actually shocked me with her songs. Meryl and the rest of them were mostly just "alright" but none of them really sang any challenging songs so I think they had just enough singing abilities to pull it off. All of this exclude Pierce Brosnan who, again, was terrible in this movie. I love that it takes place in Greece, which is such a beautiful setting for the movie. This movie is so much fun, its super cheesy and hilarious. Caution, you may lose your ability to control yourself from singing ABBA songs.

9.) Moulin Rouge
I've only seen this movie a couple of times, but I think everyone knows the story. The first time I saw it I really didn't like that 85% of the songs are not written for the movie, and are already famous songs, but I soon decided that it was ok, and actually kind of smart of them because unlike other movie musicals that are based off of actual broadway musicals, no one going into the movie was going to know any of the songs that were written for the musical. The fantastic cast included Nicole KidmanEwan McGregorJohn LeguizamoRichard Roxburgh, and a random cameo from Kylie MinogueMcGregor does charming so well, I love him in really sweet, especially romantic, roles. Its impossible to not love him in this one, and I think both he and Nicole Kidman did a surprisingly amazing job at singing. A really classic love story that really anyone can enjoy. Its really fun and exciting, and heartbreaking at the same time. Plenty of drama to keep it interesting, not that it it could possibly get boring, there is so much going on in every scene. Baz Lurman does unbelievable job at directing this one. The film was nominated for 8 Oscarsand won 2 for Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction-Set Direction. So good.

8.) Les Miserables
Not sure how its possible but I've heard that a lot of people didn't like this movie. Those people are insane. It is incredibly long, but the story is sort of told in two halves, separated by about 10 years. There are also so many different story-lines that its really almost impossible to get bored along the way. The amount of action, war and slavery in this movie really makes me think that most guys will enjoy it, my brother did. The acting was absolutely unbelievable. Both Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were devestating in this movie. I cannot listen to Anne's version of "I Dreamed A Dream" without tearing up, and having to watch her in the movie singing it left me actually sobbing. I've heard Russell Crowe's singing being criticized  and I have to say that even though Russell is a good singer, his voice just wasn't strong enough to go up against Jackman's. However, I do not understand at all the criticism on Hugh Jackman's voice being criticized, I thought he did an amazing job, especially in his scenes in the beginning when he's crying and broken. Unreal. The rest of the cast included Amada Seyfried, Sacha Baron CohenHelena Bonham CarterEddie RedmayneAaron TveitSamantha Banks, and Daniel Huttlestone. All of their singing and acting was completely amazing, I actually didn't know that Sacha Baron Cohen or Helena Bonham Carter were in this movie until I saw it. I thought they brought the element of humour, and just general oddness that really lightened up the clearly dark movie. It wasnominated for 8 Oscars at this years Academy Awards and won 3 of them for Best Hair and Makeup, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hataway.
7.) Grease
Grease is the word. I think what makes Grease stand out from most other movie musicals is the number of subjects that it touches, it touches on teen love, heartbreak, growing up, learning who you are and not being afraid to show everyone, and even touches on teen pregnancy. I think just about everyone on earth has seen this movie, and if you are one of the 3 people who haven't you should change that immediately and get with the rest of us here on earth. The movie was released in 1978, but takes place in 1959 in California. It follows the lives of a greaser, Danny Zuko(John Travolta), and an Australian good girl, Sandy Olsson(Olivia Newton-John), who just spent the summer together in a sun-soaked romance. After separating for what they think is for good, they both find out that they are attending Rydell High. The story takes place over the course of the school year showing the ups and downs for teens in the 50s and follows the T-Birds which Danny is the leader of, and the Pink Ladies led by Rizzo(Stockard Channing). This movie showcases the best of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and is definitely the most famous musical in history. Everyone knows the words to "You're the One That I Want", "Grease Lightnin" and "Summer Nights". The movie was nominated for 1 Osar for Best Original Song for "Hopelessly Devoted to You"
6.) Chicago
Going into watching this movie for the first time I had no idea what it was about, so you can imagine my surprise when I realized I was watching a movie about a bunch of women in prison singing about why/how they killed their husbands. I really enjoy period pieces, so when singing is added to the 1920s I can't help but thoroughly enjoy it. The musical numbers are just so fantastic, between the singing and the dancing, you can't help but love this movie. The acting and singing is just so fantastic in this movie, which isn't overly surprising when you look at the cast; Renée ZellwegerCatherine Zeta-JonesRichard GereQueen LatifahTaye DiggsDominic WestJohn C. Reilly, and Colm Feore. I guess the main premise of this movie is that when on trial for the murders, their lawyer is trying desperately to get them off, they find themselves with a surprising amount of fame from the acts, which is what they've always wanted. The musical numbers are fantastic especially "He Had It Comin'" and "All That Jazz". It was nominated for 13 Oscars and won 6 for Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Deisign, Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Best Picture.

5.) Once
Once is a film about a busker and an immigrant sharing an eventful week in Dublin as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their story. They get to know each other and eachothers families over the course of the week. The story is sweet and the music is absolutely beautiful, bot the guy(Glen Hansard) and the girl (Markéta Irglová) are talented musicians in real life as well, so they worked very well together in the film. The movie only takes place over the span of a week, but I think they do a pretty good job at character development. You get to meet their friends and families, and learn about their dreams and passions. It has a really great soundtrack, and even won the Oscar for Best Original Song for Falling Slowly. Really lovely story, still haven't decided if I appreciate the ending or not, but the rest of the movie is worth it. 

4.) Sweeney Todd
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
This movie is so good. Its classic Tim Burton, but wit the twist of it being a musical. Johnny Depp plays Sweeney Todd, a character first developed in a book series called "The String of Pearls" in 1846. Some people believe that the character is based on a real person, but that is highly debated among historians. Depp plays him masterfully and despite the fact that he's clearly evil, and a serial killer, you really can't help but feel bad for him and almost be on his side the whole time. I think that Tim Burtondid a great job at making sure that the movie was gory  with lots of blood, BUT the blood is a weird bright red-orangey colour so it keeps if from being too disgusting, I'm not a lover of gore, so it made it easy to watch. Helena Bonham Carter was perfect, and the longer she and Depp work together, the more chemistry they have. They really work perfectly together. Despite the fact thatSweeney Todd is a murderer, he actually is not the villain in this movie, that role is left to Judge Turpin who is played by Alan Rickman who plays the part absolutely perfectly. We also get great performances from Sacha Baron CohenJamie Campbell BowerTimothy SpallJayne Wisner, and of course Ed Sanders who plays Toby. They did a perfect job of making London in the 1800s as gloomy as possible, making the film almost black and white, leaving colour for only the most opportune moments. The movie was nominated for 3 Oscars and won 1 of those for Best Achievement in Art Direction. 

3.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I have to say, the first time I saw this I didn't understand all of the hype around it at all, I left the film confused, but the one thing I knew for sure was that Tim Curry is absolutely amazing, and has the voice of the sexiest angel possible. After the first time watching, I downloaded the soundtrack and a few months later, I ent back and tried it again. This time, I finally got it. One of my favorite artists of all time, Meat Loaf, even makes an appearance in this one. Susan Sarandon is also randomly in this movie. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing with songs like Time WarpSweet Transvestite, etc. its impossible to not love this movie. I feel like this film is basically the epitome of the 70s. Full of sex and the most random storyline I've ever seen in a movie, but my god is it fun. I've never watched it with a group of people before, but I'm definitely trying to make that happen this summer and I'm going to find out the audience participation parts of it that happens in theaters and make those happen as well. I adore this movie, watching it is so much fun. 

2.) Phantom Of The Opera
Anyone who knows anything about musical theater or musicals in general are going to disagree with me 100% on this one, and I accept that and I also don't care at all. I LOVE this movie, and I honestly don't understand why anyone could not love it. First of all, Emmy Rossum is top-notch in this one. I have no idea if she has any opera training, but she must have because her voice is amazing, and I really think she is the perfect Christine. I have to say that Gerard Butler was probably a rather random choice as I would have assumed that they would use a more well-known actor, or a famous broadway performer since at the time he was almost entirely unknown, but I'm so glad they did use him because despite what other people think, I think he kicks-ass at this role. Music of the Night gives me cold-shivers every time I hear it. Minnie Driver is also AMAZING in this movie. I didn't even recognize her the first time I watched it, so unlike her other roles, but her voice is fantastic. We also see Patrick WilsonMiranda Richardson, and Ciarán Hinds. The movie was Nominated for 3 Oscars.

1.) The Sound Of Music
Not sure if its even debatable for this one to be #1. The Sound of Music is definitely the most famous musical of all time, literally everyone knows the words to My Favorite Things and Do-Re-Mi. The soundtrack also holds some classics like Sixteen Going on SeventeenThe Sound of Music, and my personal favorite, Edelweiss. This is my mom's favorite movie, and I remember her forcing me to watch it when I was younger, and trying to watch a 3 hour movie as a 7 year old is just not going to happen, so I actually hated it growing up. I decided to watch it a couple of years ago and give it a chance and my god am I glad I did. I honestly had no idea it had Nazi's in it, totally missed that entire point of it. Julie Andrews as Maria is absolutely perfect in this movie. At no point is there a chance of you not absolutely loving her. Christopher Plummer's character, Captain Von Trapp starts off as a bit of an asshole, but Maria softens his heart with music, obviously, and after that its pretty impossible to not adore him. I had no idea thatChristopher Plummer was such a hunk, his 1965 self is now one of my all-time crushes for sure. The cinematography for this movie is unbelievable. The opening scene coming through the mountains is absolutely breath-taking, actually, pretty much any scene where you can see the Swiss Alps is unbelievably beautiful. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 5 of those for Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Music, Best Director for Robert Wise, and Best Picture. If for some reason you have not seen this movie, stop whatever you're doing right now (presumably reading this list) and go watch it immediately. The list is done now, so I won't be offended. The coolest thing about this movie is that its totally based on a true story!

Honourable Mentions: Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Pocahontas, The Wizard Of Oz, Hairspray, Dream Girls, West Side Story, Mary Poppins, Funny Girl, My Fair Lady.

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