Post by Grand Inquisitor Post by larry legallo Post by Grand Inquisitor
I don't like musicals. I just can't get into them. I don't demand
Seeing that you're a Star Trek fan, I should hope not.
I get the feeling there's an indirect implication, apart from Star
Trek's lack of realism, going on here.
Post by larry legallo Post by Grand Inquisitor
but musicals are just hokey.
But Ghost of Mars is a cerebral feast?
So you aren't a fan of at least a few less-then-cerebral movies? I used
to be like that. I eschewed anything that wasn't on the level of
Kubrick or Tarkovsky (yes, I mention them a lot), but after a while I
softened and my understanding of the art expanded. I started liking
Star Trek, for one.
Post by larry legallo Post by Grand Inquisitor
I also don't see why people view musicals as being a part of cinema.
When it's filmed with a motion picture camera, and then shown to
people on a big screen in a movie theater, that makes it part of
I meant people act like musicals are intrinsic to film, as if they
somehow expand the limits of the medium, like Keaton did with film
comedy or Tarkovsky did with introspection and time.
I disagree, even the most complex Busby Berkely sequence is, to me,
nothing more than a stage act in front of a camera. I kind of like the
Harry Potter movies, but I don't treat them as serious movies, I treat
them like what they are, novels put on the screen.
i don like musicals either. in general anyway. now, i take this to
mean you don't like 'the musical' and isn't opposed to music, use of
music, or visual music.
i think in some way, the best of silents are musicals--as opposed to
'the musical'--in the sense that the image has an autonomy like music.
they are like visual sonatas or symphonies. they vibrate, grow, flow,
ripen before our eyes. it's no wonder that most silents were
accompanied by music. in fact, you should watch 'faust' with music of
your own choosing because that cheapass organ accompaniment on most
andrei rublev can also be appreciated musically and in the final color
sequence, fine art, cinema, history, religion, and music all meld into
dreyer's vampyr, why that's like the musical equivalent of some
symphonic movement which i can't recall. spooky sublime.
in fack, much of art can be expressed or appreciated musically, from
literature, paintings, architecture, etc. and music can be
appreciated narratively, visually, architecturally. listening to
symphonic music is like wandering thru a hall of sound and of course
there was spector's wall of sound.
and there are non-musicals with an almost musical quality, like ten
days that shook the earth, the icecapades in alexander nevsky, triumph
of the will, and olympiad. triumph of the will is like a mass
blood-n-iron musical rally and the images in olympiad soar like high
and there are concert films that do justice to music, like woodstock,
stop making sense, etc. whether you like rock or not is beside the
point. the filmmakers understood the nature, strength, quality of the
musical acts they were capturing and used proper visual schemes to
accomodate and convey its thrust and power. same can be said for
spaghetti westerns. the final shootout in good bad and ugly is like a
standing-still musical performance. and before that, tuco's wild
running about the cemetary is musicalish.
now, what about the 'musical'. i'm almost inclined to agree with you
because i can't stand the bulk of them.
i'm not talking of beautiful romantic stuff like umbrellas of cherbug
which i love with every cell in me body.
nor am i talking about hard day's night which i love too.
by 'musical' we mean the hollywood musical and their copycats. i find
most of these cheesy, kitschy, phonyass, annoying, insipid, dumbass,
repetitious, and boring. now, i'm not gonna knock astaire who was a
great dancer. and i wouldn't mind watching some of his dance numbers.
but most of his movies are repetitious to a fault, and minus the
dancing they give us just alot of boringass gabbing.
and there are musicals which have a great number or two but are
surrounded with fillers. they are like rock albums with one or two
great songs with rest being crap.
take showboat. i love 'ole man rivuh' but rest makes me sick.
take oklahoma. has two great numbers but alot of dull insipid ones.
south pacific? saw some snippets and don't wanna watch it.
and hybrid musicals oftentimes confuses the plot or lose themselves in
showboating. take cotton club which has some great numbers but what
does the story have to do with the music and the music with the story?
it uses the music as an excuse to make a gangster movie and vice versa
and fails as both, ultimately.
west side story has some great music and great dancing but here the
problem is not the music but when they don't sing and dance. then it
just goes dull.
sound of music is sound of muck.
but i love some musicals. singing in the rain is a pure joy and not
least because it laughs at the musical, at itself. it celebrates
kitsch as kitsch with no pretension of respectability whatsoever. and
it's got great music, fun story, engaging characters, and lots of
goodies. and if you think 'broadway melody' sequence is not cinematic
you need glasses or brain surgery. this is much more than merely
recording of a stage production. it's the perfect harmonization of
performance and cinematic possibilities which is so different than
today's mtv style where the visual style totally embellishes over the
singing in the rain is also great because it's smartly aware of the
weaknesses of the musical genre. there's better pacing, snappier and
wittier dialogue, visual finesse, perfect timing in dance and
nondance, etc. it's a fine-tuned music box, a movie that captures all
the essence of greatness of musicals while dispensing with all the
irrelevant bulk and fillers. unlike most musicals, it never stalls or
stagnates. it's light as air and keep hopping and zipping forward.
i also love seven brides for seven brothers and not least for its
enlightened politics. great athletic dance numbers, lots of fun
songs, and good humored ribbing and winking throughout.
and there are musicals which i grudgingly like...
hair and jesus christ superstar cuz i saw them at an impressionable
age. hair, which i re-saw, hasn't stood the test of time(it was
actually dated when it was made), and things that once cracked me
up--black boy/white boy, i got my life--just irritated me. i still
like 'aint got no', 'how can people be so heartless', 'let the
sunshine'. and the farmboy acidtrip is too funny as a concept to
dismiss. but i wanna know why twyla tharp is held in such high esteem?
her choreography is the worst shit in the world. martha she aint.
not that martha would have choreographed hair but twyla is the billy
joel of dance.
absolute beginners has one stunning scene but is mostly crap.
now, the musical reached its kitschy apotheosis in Bollywood. some of
these are so outlandish that you can either go insane, laugh oneself
silly to neardeath--usually me--, or find them oddly fascinating for
but bollywood musicals spell out the problem of the hollywood musical.
it's a genre that relies too much on artifice, glitz, slickness,
plasticity, cosmeticism, gauchery.
it's not so much the music and dancing i don't like as the phony way
they're conceived and presented. heck, i wouldn't mind watching a film
about 5 beautiful women in the open fields amidst trees, a stream,
mountains, etc. whirling and leaping and dancing and emoting. but
hollywood musical owes to much to broadway with its low-middle brow
appeal aching to be high-middle brow respectability. it be kitsch, and
kitsch, whether broadway or commie rally, aint sugar in my coffee. and
i say this despite the fack that i don't drink coffee. love the aroma
now, why do i dislike musicals generally when other genres are equall
sorryass in bulkish terms? yes, most most westerns and noir and drama,
etc suck too. but the difference music really bores into you. it
affects you directly and totally. if a western is none too good, you
can ignore it while you watch it and enjoy the general formulaic plot.
but when music is bad or even just mediocre, it's irrating as hell.
suppose 'paint your wagon' was just a western. it'd be an okay
forgettable movie. but with music, it's an unforgettably painful
and precious few musicals have great music. and if the music aint
great, it's bad, like what that cop said in reservoir dogs: if you
aint a great actor, you a bad actor.
but wizard of oz, singing in the rain, seven brides, some of west side
story, etc are wonders to behold.