Author Topic: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017  (Read 924 times)

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 17061
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 04:58:16 PM by oldkid »
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27106
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 11:38:03 PM »
If you'll allow me to break the laws a little...

We watched The Young Girls of Rochefort in my school film club today. Reception was... mixed. It was our first musical and one of the five of us had a very negative thing going in. He was not convinced. Super well shot, he said, but couldn't get into any of the characters since they were always so happy. I think that speaks a little more to him watching the movie with a grudge, because there's definitely a good deal of unhappiness in the film, even if it is covered over by surface joy. That's part of why I like the movie so much. There's sadness in the world, but never enough to keep people from singing and dancing. That aligns with my world view, and it's nice to spend time in this little town. I also love how all the guys in the film hold pointy things in the middle segment, after the murder is discovered. They're all possible suspects!

I showed them the factory song from Dancer in the Dark after to show how great Deneuve still is. And then I showed them the "I Got Rhythm" scene to show them when Gene Kelley was good (he's definitely the weak link here, unfortunately, though I do like his first dance sequence which has quite a few callbacks to An American in Paris in it).
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27743
  • Marathon Man
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 11:40:17 PM »
Yay! I'm always ready with a list. I don't have a specific plan of attack, but I'm in the mood for...

Bird
Bollywood
Dick Powell
and Deanna Durbin

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 17061
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 12:29:59 AM »
Of course we can start musicals anytime!  It's always the right time for music movies!
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27106
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 12:38:13 AM »
Across the Universe

Rewatched this one earlier this week, too. What a mess. I can't figure out why half of these things exist except to check a box. If it's not obvious names to signal that there will be certain songs at some point in the film or silly Bono seemingly buying into his ego, I can't help but roll my eyes at a lot of this film. The worst might be the Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix characters, who don't really need to be in the film and don't add to much except to give the audience a jolt of recognition. They don't feel like real characters and that damages the later scenes where their relationship is supposed to make me.feel something.

But also, there are two scenes that move me to tears and a few others that work really well for me. The first 40 minutes or so are solid all around (I love "Come Together" and basically anything to do with Maxwell going to war), but I never shook this sense that the film ignores a whole lot of social and political stuff while also trying very hard to be about them. The "Let it Be" scene is a perfect example. In it, a young black boy is killed during a riot, though we don't see how. The second half of the (absolutely beautiful version of the) song happens in a black church and sees the guy who will become the Jimi Hendrix stand-in mourn his brother while a choir sings the song. The emotions get to me because the music and visuals are so powerful, but the message is all wrong. "Let it Be" is a song about, well, just letting things happen in the belief that things will get better. But that's not at all what was going on with this population at this time, and certainly not in response to what seems to be state violence. Though I've teared up twice at this scene now, it feels ultimately empty because not enough attention is paid to the social context and how it fits in with the song outside of aesthetics. That begins to feel exploitative.

By the time the second scene that has made me year up twice, it is again let down, though this time for a different reason. I'm no purist really, I think you all k ow that by now, but I've got a problem with cutting so much out of "Hey Jude" because it loses some of the power of the song. The part that gets me is when Maxwell does the yelling thing that Paul does in the song about halfway though the na na na part. In the film, he vaults to the top of a fence and stretches his arms out to the advancing Jude, who's retuning to the US for the end of the film. It's a glorious moment and the perfect expression of that part of the song. But in the Beatles' version, that's the middle of the second half of the song. The expression of joy is the kicker, sure, but it is carried though the rest of that repetition. The song loosen​s up there. In the film, it just freaking ends. Moment of joy, pure love, and then a car ride. Bleh.

This movie could have been a masterpiece, or at least a messterpiece. But it misses some of what makes the songs so good and then misses a lot of the real feelings and context around the social stuff so the mo.ents that work feel like diamonds in the rough rather than highlights among goodness. It's too bad. I'll watch it again in another decade.

C+
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

DarkeningHumour

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 8358
  • When not sure if sarcasm look at username.
    • Pretentiously Yours
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 09:56:50 AM »
Sing is definitely a possibility for my list. I don't really have any other ideas right now.

Samurais and musicals. It's going to make for an eclectic month.
Society is dumb. Art is everything. - Junior

https://pretensiouslyyours.wordpress.com/

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 10396
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 03:48:06 PM »
Is the Musical the best genre to show the range of reactions from viewers, because of it's heightened emotional objective, expressed through song and dance?

I'm intrigued by your reviews, Junior. You had the opposite reaction to The Young Girls of Rochefort and Across the Universe, than I did (thank goodness for West Side Story!). TYGoR left me so cold and uninspired, yet AtU left me exhausted and exhilarated from the roller coaster ride of emotional triggers. Manipulative? Yes, but that is the nature of the genre.

Let the Musicals begin!
"Don't be shy. You learn to fly and see the sun when day is done. If only you see."

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27106
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 04:06:15 PM »
I love being manipulated by musicals. Usually, though, that manipulation happens in a way that increases the emotional depth of a scene or song. I'm thinking of something like "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" or the ballet at the end of An American in Paris. Both tell more about the romantic relationship than dialogue or regular action might have because they happen through expressive dance. The "Let it Be" scene is the opposite. It undercuts the emotion that should be there by telling us (and maybe the characters?) to let this kind of violence be. It glances at addressing one of the biggest injustices in American history and turns it into something less than a tragedy because we don't see the violence and the real emotional reaction is lessened through a bad choice of song. The song that is there is executed brilliantly, and so I still get a bit of what I feel the scene needs, but its place in the film becomes less about the violence against black people during this time and more about giving the (badly drawn) character a reason to set off on his own and join our band of merry artists. That's the bad kind of manipulative, where it pushes the character along through song rather than letting him express his deep sadness with it. It just doesn't work for me, or not as well as it should.

But yeah, we'll always have West Side Story, which does all of this stuff expertly.
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 10396
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 04:23:42 PM »
There was so much more potential with Across the Universe, because of what did really work in it and because of the song library itself. Clunky narrative to fit the songs in, held it back, along with sprawling "artistic" choices.

I wish Taymor had allowed in some other voices, to sharpen her story. She should have consulted with you! :)
"Don't be shy. You learn to fly and see the sun when day is done. If only you see."

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 17061
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 05:49:42 PM »
The great deed of Across the Universe is that it made almost everyone forget Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band from 1978.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

 

love