movie musicals

July 8, 2007 at 4:05 am (hear, watch)

I love musicals. That’s the first important point. I love them when I go see them live, or listen to the albums, or watch movie musicals (except the movie of The Producers–that was awful). I was raised on The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, and The Music Man. I also get really sad whenever I watch a musical because my dream job is to star in a musical (on Broadway, but really community theater would be cool too), except I can’t sing, dance, or act…

Anyway, part of what I love about musicals is their over-the-topness. One of my favorite musical scenes ever is the “Roxanne” tango scene in Moulin Rouge that intercuts among multiple characters, locations, and songs. (You have to watch all the way to the end to get to the full frenzy.)

Last weekend I saw the Irish movie Once, which is the antithesis of any elaborate or expensive or complicatedly choreographed musical. Music plays a huge role, but no one bursts out into song unnaturally. The two main characters are The Guy, a street musician, and The Girl, a Czech immigrant who plays piano in a music store for an hour a day. They team up and (pardon the expression) make beautiful music together. Unfortunately, I saw the film in a theater with bad speakers, but the songs are gorgeous (and written and performed by the two stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Hear some of them here). Anyone who just can’t buy “normal,” “cheesy” musicals should check out this low-key but affecting movie (see the trailer below. It gives away one plot point that I wish it didn’t, but trailers have the unfortunate habit of doing that).

As a side note, watching this movie I discovered that I now understand Spanish better than heavily Irish-accented English.

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