Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I Clearly Cannot Be Anti-Musical Because I Spent My Entire Austrian Vacation Watching The Sound of Music.

2.1 stars.

I can already foresee the deluge of hate mail. "You're anti-black movies!" "You're anti-musicals with SUBSTANCE!" "How can you not like the amazing songs in Dreamgirls?" It's not that I'm anti-Dreamgirls - it's that I'm anti awarding acting accolades for musically-themed endeavors that mistake singing for cinematic quality.

Dreamgirls is not technically a bad movie; I found it rather enjoyable. But it's enjoyability stems from factors that should automatically eliminate it from Oscar contention. The story is thin, the acting is overrated, and like many musicals, though certainly not all of them (see title), the random songs interspersed throughout the movie weaken the overall plot, not strengthen it. For instance, arguably the best song in the movie is the one Jennifer Hudson belts out in the middle, "And I'm Telling You, I'm Not Going." She's an amazing singer, and definitely one of the few highlights of the movie was watching Beyonce pretend that Hudson's superior singing voice didn't bother her. When Jamie Foxx tells her towards the end that the only reason she replaced Jennifer Hudson in the group was because her voice was bland and better suited for mass consumption, you can legit SEE Beyonce trying to remember that it's only a movie and her character's supposed to have a good voice, but not the best voice. Poor, poor Beyonce. Not a particularly good actress, and just a pretty good singer. At least she CAN sing. Jay-Z just raps.

Destiny's Child apparently aren't the only recording artists releasing songs with the same word repeated at least twice in the title.

The Jennifer Hudson situation is a grave one and needs to be discussed at length. Jennifer Hudson is not an experienced actress, and it shows. She's not BAD, but she's not playing a particularly in-depth character that requires thespian abilities. Hudson was hired because she has a great, great voice, and the compliments regarding said voice are totally deserved. I don't think I have ever been in a movie theater where people in the audience actually CLAPPED following a song. I DID clap during American Pie when that Willow girl from Buffy said that incredibly crude statement about her flute and nether regions, but that's because I was 14 and was beyond immature and wholeheartedly appreciated a profanity-laced curveball thrown at me. This is clearly no longer the case. I am oozing maturity.

Heh. Poop.

But the general population is confusing Hudson's superior singing talent with acting talent. It's an understandable mistake. The entire movie hinges on the songs, and she sells them like the wolf. If Oscars were given out to people who merely stood out from the rest of the cast, Vin Diesel and Chance from Homeward Bound would both be polishing off their statuettes as we speak. Perhaps there ARE some Academy voters out there who think like that. It's sort of like the baseball MVP debate. Do you give an award for Most Valuable Player to someone who merely collects impressive statistics throughout the year on a mediocre team, or do you give it to someone who doesn't have the same numbers, but was playing on a better team? I think you give it to the person in the better movie who has to rely on, I don't know, their ACTING to generate Oscar buzz. Shoutout to Rinko.

"What's the matter Sassy, wake up on the wrong side of the litter box?" Best Michael J. Fox movie EVER. With the exception of Teen Wolf.

Because the movie so obviously depends on Jennifer Hudson's character Effie, Beyonce gets little face time and no legitimate personality until she decides to storm out of Jamie Foxx's Boogie Nights lovenest and bring Effie back for the Dreams' grand finale. Which is totally the right move, but Dreamgirls would have been a lot more interesting if we actually got to find out what Beyonce was thinking as she slept her way to the front of the group, Foxx style. Early in the movie, Beyonce has a 2-minute scene in which she announces that she would never just start boning random guys, and then within about 15 minutes, oh wait, she's aiding and abetting Jamie Foxx's hormonal needs. Beyonce? Did your slut awakening speech get cut in post-production?
As an aside, I thought Jamie Foxx was much better than Eddie Murphy, who was playing what appeared to be a character that's exactly like Eddie Murphy, minus the Gary Glitter leisure suits. We cannot confirm this until we speak to Scary Spice.

"You dumped GIRL POWER? Zig a zig AH."

Weenie Enema is initating a letter-writing campaign to get the Spice Girls to do a reunion tour in our apartment. Does anyone know if they take Pepsi as legal tender?

Looks like they do.


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Chloe said...

As someone who went into Dreamgirls with very little concept of what the movie actually was or was about, I had some major problems with it. For example, the fact that they didn't make it clear until about a third of the way through the movie that it was a musical. The first several songs are just performances, and then they randomly start singing that crappy "we are family like a tree" song to each other. I had a laughing fit in the theatre that was due to the combination of the new musical aspect and the wretchedness of the song. Also, that "I ain't going" song was so over-the-top long that I thought people were clapping just because it was over. There were about five points where I thought she was done and then she just kept going. Basically I thought this movie was unintentionally hysterical. The first three songs and Eddie Murphy were the only redeeming factors. Eddie got soul.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger e.e.grimshaw said...

I wouldn't go as far as that. Dreamgirls was never so unspeakably crappy that I felt compelled to laugh out loud at the absurdity of it all. But, I think the point about the movie having difficulty defining itself as a musical is at least debatable. The problem with that argument is that this is a situation where most if not all the people who went into the theater KNEW it was a musical. Also, there are a lot of very good musicals that quite successfully manage to incorporate "performances" into the storyline without taking away from the non-singing aspects of the plot. For instance, in The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp kids have a few performances that are necessary for the development of the story, as do Captain Von Trapp and Maria. But the difference between the two musicals (besides the fact that The Sound of Music, in my opinion, is FAR superior and will stand the test of time) is that the very first song in The Sound of Music (the title track) establishes it as a musical, whereas, as Chloe points out, you don't have gratuitous singing in Dreamgirls for a significant period of time.

I DO agree that the "I Ain't Going" song is a tad overrated, at the very least. The actual song itself was not what impressed me - it was Jennifer Hudson's voice. I also think it was too long, but that's partly because, again, I wasn't really all about the song in the first place.

Chloe and I are apparently going to have to agree to disagree on the Eddie Murphy aspect. She thinks "Eddie got soul," but I suspect Eddie has something else.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Supremes didn't scream!"

-Paul Smith


Post a Comment

<< Home