Song & Dance

Song & Dance: Introduction

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in Song & Dance | 0 comments

Song & Dance: Introduction

“Off to the movies we shall go, where we learn everything that we know, ’cause the movies teach us what our parents don’t have time to say.” – South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut I have my parents to thank for my eclectic taste in movies. If you’re thinking it’s because they themselves must have diverse tastes and that must have rubbed off on me, you couldn’t be further from the truth. You can always count on my dad to be watching spy movies and Bond marathons, outdoor adventure programs...

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The Lion King (1994)

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The Lion King (1994)

Disclaimer: Some violence and an ultra-scary villain. The original plan and storyboards for the opening of this Disney sensation called for a dialogue-heavy introduction. That is, until Hans Zimmer unveiled his musical interpretation of The Circle of Life – a theme that repeats throughout the film. As the sun rises and the screen scrolls through vast and beautiful landscapes, hordes of animals journey to a great peak, where the heir to the throne will appear. The score builds slowly as a...

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The Little Mermaid (1989)

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The Little Mermaid (1989)

Disclaimer: Some disturbing sexual implications. With The Little Mermaid, Disney introduced the world to a new kind of animated feature and ushered in an era of modern classics that include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin. At the time, The Little Mermaid seemed comparable to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, not for classic film status, but for beginning a string of incredible animated films (Pinocchio, Fantasia, et al) known for impeccable visuals and smashing soundtracks. Not...

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School of Rock (2003)

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School of Rock (2003)

Disclaimer: Some swearing and lewd behavior, but it’s only rock ’n roll (and I like it). Just as Baz Luhrman managed to make Shakespeare trendy among teens again with Romeo + Juliet in 1996 (a nearly impossible task), the team behind School of Rock refreshingly gave angst-filled youths of today musical perspective in an age when pseudo-punk and emo rock took over. Quite simply, this film placed rock ’n roll back where it belongs – on top – showing kids that the best way to “stick it to the...

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The Sound of Music (1965)

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The Sound of Music (1965)

Disclaimer: Ridiculous sing-a-longs, a cheesy plot, and Nazis. You gotta love musicals. How can we forget The Sound of Music? It’s the type of film that seeps into your unconscious whether you like it or not. Anyone could likely belt out some lines to My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, and, of course, the title song. The incomparable Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the songs for this musical production based on the true story of the Von Trapp Singers, which...

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A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

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A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Disclaimer: May induce wild screaming or even fainting. After they saw The Girl Can’t Help It and some of the low-budget attempts from America, The Beatles knew a rock movie could be done. They just hadn’t seen it done particularly well. If they were to be attached to a moving picture, the boys insisted on a top-shelf director and writer. What resulted was the greatest rock ’n roll movie of the time – and arguably second best in history (to This is Spinal Tap, of course) – a film that changed...

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Fantasia (1940)

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Fantasia (1940)

Disclaimer: Sequences involving evolution, an asexual fairy, centaur and cupid nudity, killing involving some nasty predators, and a cameo by scary old Satan. As we all know, the music that plays in motion pictures is directly inspired by the moving images on the screen, often following the content and tone. We picture something like Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, in which Neil Young played electric guitar while the film played in front of him, or the members of Pink Floyd when they put together...

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The Music Man (1962)

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The Music Man (1962)

Disclaimer: A wholesome small Iowa town is infested with, if you can believe it, a con man, billiards, Wells Fargo Wagons, and Balzac. Eegads! Though I love it, at two-and-a-half hours The Music Man drags longer than most adult viewers can stand, let alone kids. The film slows with the half-dozen love ballads, dance sequences that go on far too long, and even the barbershop quartet that breaks up the action like a Greek chorus. Still, I can’t deny my love for this Broadway musical adaptation....

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Billy Elliot (2000)

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Billy Elliot (2000)

Disclaimer: Some young boys swear and drink. And what’s worse (are you ready for this?) is that one of them (are you sure you can take it?) prefers dancing to sports. Billy Elliot is not for everyone. Only the rare breed of man, woman, or child brave enough to admit a fondness for the occasional feel-good tearjerker or classic musical. Only for the kind of person not afraid to confront gender roles and rethink what it means to be “a man.” Only for the people who think it’s a crime that there’s...

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Disclaimer: If you think you can handle a cheesy musical, just do me a favor. Fast-forward through the first hour. Seriously. You’ll thank me later. (And beware of the creepy Child Catcher – a bit scary.) Anyone who thinks they can make a children’s movie with a running time of two-and-a-half hours needs to be smacked upside the head – or worse. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is guilty of this cinematic sin that stretches thin even the attention spans of adults, let alone kids. Despite this fact, the...

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Annie (1982)

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Annie (1982)

Disclaimer: A few swears, some drunkenness, and a nonsensical plot. My favorite moment in Annie comes about halfway through, when the cheerful orphan tricks her billionaire host into taking her to the movies. “It’s probably better not to know what you’re missing,” she says, claiming to have never seen one. After a drawn-out song and dance, the orphan, mogul, and his secretary head out to Radio City Music Hall for an evening show of the romantic tragedy Camille. As we watch the final moments of...

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Song & Dance: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Song & Dance | 0 comments

Song & Dance: Other Recommended Titles

Bugsy Malone (1976): In this Prohibition-era gangster flick, the dames are taller and have lower voices, and for good reason: all the actors are kids. Scott Baio and Jodie Foster lead the way in this enjoyable film marred by poorly lip-synched musical breaks. The King and I (1956): Another Rodgers and Hammerstein story about a governess, this time surrounding an innocent white lady and the aggressive King of Siam. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944): While World War II waged forth, Vincente Minnelli...

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