Ah yes, movie musicals. Sounds like a good idea for another list! We had to make it a duet though, because we’re sadly lacking in the amount of musicals we’ve seen, which is odd, because we both heart them quite a lot.
Sweeney Todd: I’ve never seen this play but I had heard a very vague description of the plot prior to seeing the movie. As you know, I love dark, disturbing tales and, in my opinion, Johnny Depp can do no wrong. So when I saw the trailer for this flick, I knew, for me, it was a must-see. Depp and his leading lady, the always-engaging Helena Bonham Carter, played their roles with passion and intensity and sang their songs charismatically, giving the already heavy story even more depth. I loved the somber tunes and the dreary London scenery. And the bleak finale rounded out this heart-wrenching tale perfectly. (N.)
Grease: This movie is practically a classic, as far as I’m concerned. Much to my mother’s dismay, I went through a phase in middle school during which I watched this awesome flick every afternoon after school. I couldn’t say how long this lasted, weeks or months, perhaps, but I never seemed to tire of it. It’s a simple enough story but the characters and the music give it vibrancy and humor and make it oh-so-enjoyable. (N.)
Sound of Music: The grandaddy of all musicals, and one of my favorites. Yeah it’s cheesy, yeah it’s 60s, but the Austrian countryside is stunning, Captain Von Trapp is the original DILF, and the music, oh sweet lord, the music. Does it get any better than Julie Andrews, putting one arm in the air and the other around her head, hitting those notes in “Do Re Mi”, on the steps of the Mirabell Gardens of Salzburg? Plus, this is aired every Christmas, so it’s built into my psyche to provide extreme levels of comfort, security, and happiness. (A.)
Moulin Rouge: I swoon at the very mention of this film! I love, love, love this movie. I’ve always been a Ewan McGregor fan and seeing him sing his heart out only cemented my good opinion of him. He was so charming, so sweet, so utterly adorable. And he could actually sing! He and Nicole Kidman had beautiful chemistry and all of the side characters were wonderful. The true star of this movie, however, was the music. I loved the play on pop culture with ironically adapted songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the hilarious near-spoof of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” One of my favorite songs ever, and favorite scenes ever, came during the narcoleptic Argentinian’s rendition of “Roxanne.” God, it give me chills thinking about it. And “Come What May,” sung as a duet with such fervor by Kidman and McGregor, made this a love story of Casablanca caliber. (N.)
Beauty and the Beast & The Little Mermaid: The two greatest Disney musicals, in our humble opinions. Everything about these is enchanting. “Be Our Guest.” The castle, the magic, the gloomy, ominous woods, the French countryside. The underwater scenes, Prince Eric (you studly animated hunk, you), Urusla (one of the GREATEST Disney villainesses), “Under the Sea”, “Kiss the Girl”, “Part of Your World.” These movies are INCREDIBLE. Just thinking about them, as I am writing, is making me giddy. I’m sure I sound like a senior citizen, but they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Tale as old as time, indeed. (A.)
Mamma Mia! & Across the Universe: These get lumped together because they are both mediocre films, but the vibrant visuals and excellent musical source material null and void the mediocrity. Who doesn’t love the Beatles or Abba? (Don’t answer that, actually). I happen to love both, and watching Meryl Streep and the rest of the cast clearly have the time of their lives gyrating on a dock in the Grecian sun while belting out one of the happiest songs ever written (Yeah, I mean “Dancing Queen”, so screw you) could fill even the darkest heart with joy. Aside from Pierce Brosnan essentially defecating all over the disco joy that is “S.O.S.” – seriously, it sounds like someone is brutally torturing a moose – both soundtracks are golden. Universe, especially, has some beautifully trippy scenes and unique takes on absolute standards. I’ve never seen Mamma Mia! the musical, or the Cirque de Soleil LOVE show but both are on my bucket list, and until then, these’ll work just fine. (A.)
~~Nikki & Annie