Brittany Ashley

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Everything posted by Brittany Ashley

  1. This entire week I have been thinking about what we (the notes) mean when we call the 60s a disruptive decade and that the musicals were disruptive. I like words and the use of the word "disruptive" intrigued me. The word literally means "causing or tending to cause disruption;innovative or groundbreaking" Some synonyms are rowdy,unruly, disorderly, wild, undisciplined. Some antonyms are calm, well behaved, well mannered, appropriate, peaceful. But this isn't English class. When we began the 1960s on Monday I found this word a curious one to use. I knew the studio system was engaged in steeper decline. I knew television had sealed the deal as far as competition with motion pictures was concerned. I knew the Production Code was buckling under with increased lack of power,control and relevance. I know studio executives themselves were either dying or losing power (and relevance). I knew the studios were mining the teenage market with their stars with people like Sandra Dee; and with that ideas,examples and meaning of what it mean to be "a star" were changing with the demographic changes. And I knew none of these things and more were just bracketed to the 1960s. These changes, declines, loss of relevance, impermanence, and even deaths began in the 1950s, if not earlier. I always considered the 60s and evolution (some may say a devolution) of what was already happening in years prior. So that what we see/saw in the 1960s was just a natural evolution of what typically happens in life. Things change. New ideas and new technologies come in. New modes of thought and new tastes. I didn't see these things as necessarily disruptive; rather evolutionary. But then I began questioning why the use of that specific word was used in the context of the changes the movie industry (paralleling society at large) and not evolution. Because the industry did evolve over time. What "Hollywood" (both the actual,physical place of the industry and the concept) was or meant in 1918 was completely different by 1928. Which was different by 1948, which was different in 1968 and so forth to 2018. A whole century of change has occurred and the breadth and knowledge of this is stunning. The common refrain from scholars, film historians, business experts etc always comes back to "adapt or die". This is true and there are countless of examples of successful adaptations and extinctions. But these are also disruptions. Change is scary. Change causes anxiety because what comes next is unknown. Change causes upset. Change has consequences. But people eventually get used to it,get over it, learn to accommodate it, and adapt their business to it (or not). People don't like change because we seek comfort and familiar patters. Change by nature is disruptive. Thus, evolution is always disrupting something. Changes destroy what was once safe and known. Change pumps fresh blood into old systems. Change nurtures new ideas. We need both a measure of stability and disruption;so in life, so in industry. The 60s, like every decade prior to that, caused disruptions in what/whom appealed to audiences, what/whom executives had to cater too, content was seemed appropriate for audiences, how businesses were run, and what could be considered a musical. Stability and comfort doesn't last for long. For the time that these "understandings" last and are agreed upon by both audiences and the industry (filmmakers and the execs), everyone is pleased and placated. Things are good. For the time that lasts, for ever how long it is, that is what/how it is. Until the next wave of change comes crashing down and things are thrown out of wack in the clash of turbulence and undertow.
  2. 29 year old here. This is one of the instances I think it would have been good to have a Millennial represented. I watched musicals as a child whether with my (Boomer) parents or at school. So I have always been aware of musicals and liked them. And of course I grew up with the Disney movies. I remember being a little kid and my mom just putting on a VHS The Little Mermaid or The Wizard of Oz while she did other things so I could be entertained. So I think Dr Ament is right that Millennial and younger even have always been exposed to them and because they have been so integral in put childhoods, it is natural creatives and directors of that generation would be interested in them. I remember a lot of excitement when Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Hairspray came out. I was in high school and remember people of all ages being in the theater.
  3. Couldn't it be both though? Musicals and art/movies in general reacting to the times but are being affected by the times as well. Also, how were the Beatles considered old fashioned? I have never heard that they were considered old fashioned.
  4. This is interesting thank you. I know for Moana they set up a special research group (don't remember ehat its called) taking from anthropology, historians, Polynesian scholars, learners in that community etc to make it a real authentic film. There was criticism from Lilo and Stitch from the Polynesian/Hawaiian community so when planning Moana, Disney's team set this research and development group up. LAS was in 2003 and the world has changed as far as representation for non-white and historically marginalized peoples and calls for authentic diverse stories from different cultural communities. I liked both movies but I'm not Polynesian so I can't really comment on their critiques as far as stereotypes and representation goes (that was one of their issues with the earlier film). I commend the company for doing that. I wasn't aware of any Coco controversies but that makes sense the production ran into some. But I am glad that Disney saught input from the Latinx and specifically Mexican community like they did with Moana.I asked my Mexicana friend if she liked the movie and if she felt it represented her culture authentically and she said she felt it did and was happy Disney chose Dia De Los Muertos to center a story around. Tahnks for the articles! I will read them when I get some time!
  5. Couldn't agree more! Love that you used that specific song in you title lol. Much appropriate!
  6. I have not seen the Beach films...I have BP recorded on DVR but haven't gotten around to it yet. But with this class I am more interested (I used to just skip over this movie when it would air; corny title). But judging from your comment and the blurb about this film, I'd say it is pretty disruptive for the reasons you listed. I know that there were movies exploring teen sexuality - A Summer Place with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue which was a couple years before the beach movies that involved this theme. But you raise some excellent points. The teens in movies I can think of from the old studio days did not engage in sex or have that as a major theme in the films. I don't know the Warner's equivalent to the Andy Hardy series was but I watch those films now and think how Mayer/MGM wanted to represent idealized teenage life. Adolescent reality, in any generation, is not Andy Hardy. This may be campy now but back in the early 60s, I imagine there being some controversy. Speaking of which, the fact Annette Funicello being in it. I am a little bit familiar with her work for Disney and I am curious as to see how, if and to what extent she shed her America's Sweetheart persona she had with Disney for these movies.
  7. The Artist dance scene in the finale is also inspired by this number
  8. I think this is a really interesting proposition. Any movie is a product of its era and how good or bad that is gets judged by the contemporary time (unfairly or not). I read this and my first thought was Rose Marie which we talked about very early on. I can't see any of the Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald movies being made in any other time than what they were-mid to late 30s. Their operatic singing and the specific type of musical the and y made was wildly popular but fell out of favor and today people seem to have strong opinions about them, the movies or just can't relate. Those musicals were a product of the Code (something which I actually don't have a seething hatred for) and could have only been made in that context. Those musicals were a product of the 1930s and could have only been made in that context and &tc. Those musicals were the product of the studio they were made at (MGM) and could have only been produced at that place. Their musicals definitely couldn't have been made during the pre-Code era or their earlier years of the decade and by the 40s, they began flopping as audiences were ready to move on from that formula. I guess it also dovetails into the concept of timelessness and what makes art timeless or not. What appealed to mass audiences 80 years ago and what worked decades ago won't now. Cabaret I haven't seen in many years but it left an impression on me and you make some excellent points in referring to it. Thats an interesting question-even tho the Code ended in '68 would audiences been receptive or ready for that type of thing? Hard to say. I definitely don't see it being made in 1960 eventhouh there were artists and individuals and creatives willing to push the envelope and question traditions and bring marginalized groups to the forefront. I can't think of any other time than the late 60s and early 70s that the film could have spoken directly to. Cabaret is of its era in terms of the issues it was speaking to to a 1970s audience and when it was made but I can watch it in 2018 and still "get it". A lot of it is very relevant to today because some issues that were relevant to the 70s are happening today. Even the issues of the 1930s the movie brings up are relevant to today. But then again, going back to Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald right quick, there isn't anything in those movies that can speak to a 2018 audience or that would appeal to a 21st Century audience. I personally am a fan of them and their movies and like/appreciate them for what they are(were), but those are movies that are right for that era and can't transcend it. So maybe this all comes down to the content of a film and its storyline? Its message?
  9. Great point! I posed something like this in the 1940s lectures. The criss cross of genres at express what people apparently were feeling about their times. I contrasted musicals and film noir. Totally different genres expressing different sentiments but co-exist never the less. It would be the same story for the 60s and how art parallels the times.
  10. Agreed with everything u said but this stuck out. I can (and I have using this term) excuse alot but the true story of PT Barnum is so bad and to know they glossed over it is something I cannot abide. And I can deal with a lot
  11. Absolutely! You really lay this out really well. "Critical Mass" is a great word to use because that is exactly what happened. Musicals and the creatives involved in them were experimenting, questioning the old ways of doing things, testing new innovations. Just like the youth were doing at the time and reshaping and re-framing their world.When we look back, it does seem like this decade in particular matches seamlessly genre and the larger social, political, and cultural context it exists in. Great question you posed. I would have to think about it some more but I would say the arts don't exist in a vacuum. Artists are influenced by the times and the tenor of their times and their art is impacted by it. But the times are also influenced by the art and the reaction to it. So its a bit of both ? This cycle (I don't know if thats the best word to use). I don't really see it as coincidental but the art and the times feeding off each other. I can't think of any other genres honestly. Because when I look at the "industry" and where it is it seems still dominated by certain specific genres ie the superhero/intellectual property films. However, there have been exceptions. I'm not a fan of this genre or know much about it but I would consider the movie Get Out a disruption in the horror genre. The movie centers around racism and racial issues but was a commercial and critical hit. The screenplay was nominated for an Oscar (I don't remember if it won).The movie uses the horror genre to expose with and the nuance of race but balances it with humor. It makes you think but keeps you entertained. As far as musicals, its a genre that is open for disruption as new creatives come in and are given opportunities. We are at a place now in society where we are taking (slowly but surely) voices of marginalized groups seriously and are wanting to see different groups represented in musicals. Its not very recent but Dreamgirls from 2006 is based off Motown/The Supremes and was a successful hit. Hairspray from 2007 tackles race and integration in a story set in the 1960s. This was a hit as well. So here we are a decade later, I can see more examples of this sort of disruption becoming more frequent and expected. We briefly spoke about Disney and animated musicals. Moana (2016) and Coco (2017) are very recent examples of movies that are culturally respectful (Polynesian and Mexican respectfully), authentic and well researched but are accessible to audiences outside of those cultures. Both films were commercial and critical hits and were nominated for Oscars in their years.
  12. Well said. I wrote on another post that I do like this movie. Emma and Ryan I don't have strong opinions on but I found them charming and likable. I like the music. I'm not a dancer, can't dance, and know nothing about it technically so I have no criticisms on the dancing.Still, I feel like something is missing in the plot and story. It seems like LLL was conceived as a nice throwback to the musicals specifically and the mood generally of classic films. The "mood" in this case reflects some kind of mythic Los Angeles as a city and Hollywood as a concept as well as the film business. One of my fave songs Another Day of Sun sums this up. I like nostalgia and I don't have a problem with tributes. But I feel like the plot needed more. I get Mia and Seb's relationship and their conflict and the characters represent nostalgia. He for jazz and she for movies. It would have been nice if the movie wasn't really about this relationship and more about questions of nostalgia, what does the golden age of anything (her for movies and he for jazz music) really mean for the characters and for the film as a whole. Why did Damien (I can't remember the last name but hes the director i think) choose to portray a mythos of LA , and Hollywood? That's one of my questions. I'm not against romance and relationships.I like Seb and Mia as a couple. And I can't think of many current films that have love stories in them. But there's a lot more potential to mine and explore themes and interrogate old Hollywood nostalgia that feels wasted. In my opinion, these are themes and questions that could better be better served with a different plotline. Tipping your hat to the past is nice, throwbacks and tributes are nice. But still. There is much more storywise that could have been explored, even within the context of Seb and Mia's relationship. Its kind of the critique and annoyance I have with The Artist, to digress a bit. I definitely see and appreciate the ambition of making a silent film in the 2010s. But I feel like that movie, though I like it, is too much of a nostalgic, memory lane fest of 1920s Hollywood & storywise, its basically a rehash of Sunset Blvd, Singin in the Rain, A Star Born, and to a lesser All About Eve. There isn't thing new being presented. There's aren't any new takes or insights about the technological shift from silents to sounds. Nothing in the story previous films didn't do or cover better. This frustrates me because making a silent movie of all things in 2012 is different. There has to be a reason. What does this say about technology and consuming movies in the 21st century? Why did they even choose to make a silent movie in this century? What's the point of doing that if you're not going to pose these questions and present them in your story? Like LLL, it feels like a waste of concept and story. Weaving nostalgia and tributes and throwback sensibilities falls apart if the story is not more substantial. You can make a fun and feelgood movie while still saying something about the past and TA and LLL don't really get into this as much as I would like. I like and appreciate LLL's finale fantasy sequence because it clearly takes inspiration from An American in Paris among others just like I like and appreciate fact that the lead actor in TA resembles Douglas Fairbanks. But what's the point other than recalling the past because there's something about it you like?
  13. MTE. Its a pleasant film alright but I didn't think it was that good. As far as all the accolades heaped upon it. Maybe because its about Hollywood and its said Hollywood loves movies about itself. It's a rosy, nostalgic view of the industry too which "They" might be responding too. Maybe its because it is an original story with original music.
  14. I like this movie. I have the DVD and watch it sometimes. I think is a breezy and lighthearted tribute to the old Hollywood musicals (the fantasy ending reminds me of the ballet in American in Paris and parts of the Broadway Melody in Singin in the Rain). Its definitely a feel good film. It encapsulates the mood or rather the idealized mood of olf Hollywood; a celebration of the mythic Hollywood. I do enjoy it. Its a throwback to those kinds of uncomplicated musical and romantic comedy movies that were made then. I really like the music! Fabulous songs!
  15. We only scratched the surface! Honestly any decade, including this one/the 00s, needs at least a month devoted to it. Theres just so much that can be covered in real depth and insight!
  16. 1.Streisand's rendition feels very tender and sensitive. She is being vulnerable in singing about love and companionship. It feels very honest ans human, with a touch of sentimentality. If she sang the song more theatrically, the tenderness and vulnerability would be lost. Streisand expresses the song's meaning with softer singer which is much more effective emotionally to the audience than if she were singing the song more expressively. 2. At first the characters are close together around the lamppost. This is before the singing. They have clear romantic chemistry and attraction. The bit of dialogue about feeling lonesome whether because you are busy with work speaks to this and sets up for the song and Streisand's performance. Throughout the song, Streisand moves further away from Sharif (walking up the street and up the stairs) but he is still looking at her with affection and interest even as she sings and is facing away from him. This reflects their relationship to each other and their feelings 3. The fact that Streisand walks away from Sharif but he does walk after her when she sings "we travel single".She turns to look at him while continuing to sing. The stop walking right when she starts to sing the chorus. It feels significant because she is now expressing her emotions and by stopping, he can fully pay attention to what she is saying ("people who need people are the luckiest people in the world"). By her stopping and standing there but not facing him, you can feel her sense of longing much more sharper. Then when she walks up the stairs singing to him, it reflects the emotional honesty of the song.
  17. I havent seen any musicals on Netflix. I got The Music Man from them but that was many years ago. They might not have it still. In general there is a severe lack of classics on Netflix (streaming is much worse).
  18. I would like a second course to go more in depth with some of the topics we covered. The Pre Code era,Ww2, etc
  19. 1. It seems like Cukor's theme is about someone trying to fit into certain high class standards of behavior and culture even though that isn't who they are naturally. But I am struggling with identifying his film making techniques. I don't know what they are or what to look for. But he keeps the camera on Audrey Hepburn's face so we can see her crying and sympathize with what she is going though and saying and feel her frustration. 2. At first Eliza is crying and visibly upset with Higgins when she throws his slippers at him. But eventually the emotions change to her expressing more frustration with herself, not so much with Higgins. Eliza is going though different emotions and is having trouble with her self confidence so Hepburn portrays her as that. Rex Harrison is gruff and somewhat rude but his character is a professor and is tender towards the end is more encouraging to her. Cukor just lets it all happen naturally and it feels non judgmental. 3. At first Higgins came off as insensitive and condescending but became more encouraging towards Eliza in what he said and coming over to her by the window to offer support. It helps that Cukor's direction isn't judgmental and there is a sensitivity with it.
  20. I had this thought too. Certainly Disney made animated musical...I was thinking specifically of Fantasia. And later on The Beatles's Yellow Submarine. I figured animation is a different art form maybe thats why its not covered in this course thoroughly
  21. Brittany Ashley

    shop tcm

    I assume it means you buy a couple things at once
  22. 1. I would say the fact that over time, there isn't or wasn't necessarily one specific way to be masculinity or for a man to express themselves as a man or an individual. Or that their masculinity It almost seems that the male representation often has to do with what "people" wanted from their movies (and stars to an extent) at a given time period. For example Fred Astaire's sophistry and high class with the ballroom/formal dances he performed with Ginger Rogers. The romantic aura fit with the escapist fanstasyland quality their movies had that appealed to a Depression weary audience. That was a masculine ideal (the leader in dance, courtship and romantic pursuit of a woman) that worked well for its era and the type of movie he was in with Ginger. But now it seems that the individual man is himself and doesn't necessarily have to conform to a set standard of manhood or have his performance "speak to" any larger cultural sentiment about gender. I watch Ryan Gosling in La La Land and I just see a talented and charming man. He is a male but he is himself, an individual, and his character in that movie is someone who is passionate about jazz music.He concerns himself with music, not so much defining or conforming to any specific representation of manliness or masculinity. 2. In both clips he genuinely engages with the community of people he is singing to and singing about. He is appealing to their sensibilities (the small town Midwestern conservatives) and their identity/culture (Gay Paris). He isn't really from those communities but he is able to "speak their language" authentically and respectfully. He is appealing and likable. A real people person. 3. I have not seen Robert Preston in anything besides The Music Man and that was many years ago so I can't comment.
  23. Brittany Ashley

    DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #13 (From GYPSY)

    1. The scene reminds me somewhat of the backstage musicals with Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland only because they are children in the entertainment business and are auditioning for some kind of show/performance. Their mother has a vested interest in her daughters being chosen above the girl in the balloons (the favorite of the producers). This is a set up that feels familiar to me from movies past (prior to the 60s). The little girls are talented and cute There have been talented cute kids in musicals before like Shirley Temple so this also felt familiar. I have not seen this movie but based on the background information given, I know the movie is about a famed stripper/burlesque performer so this scene shows what she was like as a child, why/how she got into show business. Knowing this, the "disruption" would be in the content and story of the film. The CODE was disintegrating in the 60s which made it possible to make a movie about Gypsy's story and have it be an "Acceptable" story to base a musical around. 2. I have not seen Rosalind Russell in many films but from what I have seen, she was very deft with the fast talking/doing multiple things at one combination along with excellent comedic timing. This seems to be her signature so when she showed up, I knew what to expect and she did not disappoint me. Since she was a professional, I can see that she was able to hit her marks and (I don't really know how to explain)perfom the deft fast talking/timing she was known for. 3. Since I know the film/story is about a burlesque performer even though this scene portrays her as a child, I can't help but hearing or reading sexual innuendo into the song. When I hear "let me entertain you/let me make you smile" I think of the acts of stripping and burlesque. I think about what kind of entertaining strippers do-they use their bodies and sexuality to entice,arouse and amuse. So in the context of this scene, I felt uncomfortable associating adult sexuality and adult entertainment with a child innocently singing and dancing to a song about entertaining people with song and dance. But I suppose this was the point. Using something typically innocent and childlike (entertaining children singing) but infusing it with mature innuendo and implications isn't disruptive. I was reminded of "I Want You to Play With Me" from The Great Zeigfeld, a post-Code MGM film. But Luise Rainier was a grown woman and future burlesque star Gypsy Rose is being portrayed when she was a child called Louise. Mixing children and sexual innuendo would be new and disruptive.
  24. I went to the link to access the Boutique but I got a page saying PAGE NOT FOUND. I don't know what the problem is and how to fix it. Anyone had this problem?
  25. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing

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