Pastiche

Most disliked musical or musical number

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There seem to be musicals that are favorites of many people.  But what about the musicals you can't stand, or even individual musical numbers?  And why don't you like them?

Okay, I'll start:

Musical I can't stand:  Hello Dolly:  So ponderously awful, I feel like I'm watching it half-speed.   One redeeming quality is the costumes, but if this is on I usually turn the channel. 

Musical number:  In Gigi, the number "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" before she goes out to start her career as a mistress, where she's singing to her cat.  Her poor drugged-to-an-inch-of-its-life cat.  I've read the cat had to be sedated because it couldn't stand Leslie Caron, but it's upsetting to watch.  Also it's a mystery why Louis Jordan was chosen as the lead because he has appeal of a turnip, maybe that's intentional so Chevalier wouldn't be upstaged.   

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Have you ever seen Joan Crawford dance { or should I say stomp } in Dancing Lady?  Horrible!  Also, she acts too cutesy .

Favorite Musical Numbers:  WOW!!  So many to list but Eleanor Powell  out dancing Fred Astaire in Broadway Melody of 1940 is a treasure.  Especially in Begin the Beguine.  But, I have to mention my all time favorite, Cyd Charisse in ANYTHING SHE DID!!!!  Especially in Singin in the Rain, the Gotta Dance sequence.  Couls watch it over and over.

Speaking of Hello Dolly, can you believe Michael Crawford's  singing voice compared to now?

 

 

 

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I am so glad you asked:

Most disliked musical numbers:

-"Heavenly Music" from Summer Stock.  This has to be the absolute worst musical number that Gene Kelly has ever done.  The song is irritating.  Gene and Phil Silvers' yokel act is tiresome after like 1 second.  I absolutely loathe this song and number.  The only redeeming part of it are the dogs at the end.  Supposedly, Judy Garland was supposed to appear in this number as well but she called in sick and the crew decided to go on without her.  I think Judy knew what she was doing and feigned illness to get out of having to appear in this routine.

-"Triplets" from The Band Wagon.  This whole song is strange and I just don't enjoy it at all.

-Jeannette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy/Kathryn Grayson... anyone who sings operatically doesn't do it for me at all.  When Grayson sings in Anchors Aweigh, I either skip ahead or use that time for a bathroom and/or snack break.

Disliked musical films:

-South Pacific.  As much as I like Mitzi Gaynor, I cannot stand this movie.  It's a total bore and I hated the strange colored filters that were placed over some of the scenes.

Disliked dancer:

Joan Crawford in (I think) Dancing Lady.  She is a terrible dancer.  She just clomps around.

Ruby Keeler.  She is an awful dancer as well.  Much like Joan, Ruby just clomps around on stage.  She reminds me of me when I do my tap dancing impression.

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53 minutes ago, Pastiche said:

There seem to be musicals that are favorites of many people.  But what about the musicals you can't stand, or even individual musical numbers?  And why don't you like them?

Okay, I'll start:

Musical I can't stand:  Hello Dolly:  So ponderously awful, I feel like I'm watching it half-speed.   One redeeming quality is the costumes, but if this is on I usually turn the channel. 

Musical number:  In Gigi, the number "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" before she goes out to start her career as a mistress, where she's singing to her cat.  Her poor drugged-to-an-inch-of-its-life cat.  I've read the cat had to be sedated because it couldn't stand Leslie Caron, but it's upsetting to watch.  Also it's a mystery why Louis Jordan was chosen as the lead because he has appeal of a turnip, maybe that's intentional so Chevalier wouldn't be upstaged.   

I liked Gigi, I cannot remember the cat, however.  I did not care for Maurice Chevalier's "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" song.  Maybe in 1958 it was fine... but in today's climate, it just seems weird.

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What a great question!

First, I must qualify myself: I’m a long-time movie fan. But I’m also a musician who has performed in over 200 stage productions in one capacity or another. Here we go.

Least favorite musical? Easy. Bye Bye Birdie. The stage version is marginally better, but having music directed it once (as a favor to a friend), I just really don’t like the show. And I’m sorry...Ann Margaret, whom I really do like, is just too old to play Kim. 

A complicated musical for me is Carousel. I think it’s some of the best music (if not THE best) in the R&H canon, but the show...I just really don’t like the show. And the movie version is much worse than the stage version, but it’s the book of the show I really don’t like. I know, I know...it’s a product of its time.

Least favorite songs for me...agree about “Say a Prayer for me Tonight” (which I think was originally written for My Fair Lady, wasn’t it? I can’t remember.), but I put two others in a tie for this one—“My White Knight” (okay, only snippets are in the movie version of Music Man, but I don’t like the song that replaces it, either! Haha!) and “Something Good” from Sound of Music. 

Looking forward to this class!

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41 minutes ago, rosalind steel said:

 

Speaking of Hello Dolly, can you believe Michael Crawford's  singing voice compared to now?

 

 

 

I've always wondered about that. My first exposure to him was Phantom (I didn't know until much later that he was in Hello Dolly). I was never able to find anything through Internet searches. What happened? Did he take singling lessons from a master between Dolly and Phantom? The two voices are worlds apart!

I'm also wondering if he's lost much of his vocal range now due to age. On the Phantom 25th anniversary production where all the previous Broadway phantoms appeared together, he was the only one who didn't sing.

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My least favorite musical is Annie Get Your Gun.  I think the movie should have ended with Annie Oakley winning the competition and remaining a celebrity instead of losing just so she could be with Frank Butler at the end.  I also can't stand any musical movie with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  The music is atrocious and the actors are incredibly annoying.

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Least favorite movie musical: Oklahoma. I love, love, LOVE the music, but the movie was very long and boring. It moved so slowly, and while the ballet number was beautiful and I am normally a fan of more classical styles, it just lost my interest. 

  I also didn't really care for Funny Face. It has its good moments, but it was rather psychedelic for my taste. 

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I have trouble liking Fiddler on the Roof.  I like some of the songs, but have never managed to stick it out through the whole movie.  Usually I fall asleep.

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Being a musical lover most of my life, I have seen countless musicals both on stage and on screen.  I am most disappointed when I love the stage show and hate the movie.  

Musical I Can't Stand:  Grease - hate the music, the storyline, and the actors.  Dislike the stage version even more.

Loved the Stage Show, Hated the Movie:  Man of La Mancha (Sophia Loren is a horrible Aldonza);

The Wiz (fabulous on stage, dismal as a movie. This is what happens when you place star names above creativity);

Musical Numbers I Can't Stand:  Anything Russell Crowe sang in Les Miz

 

 

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1 hour ago, BlueMoods said:

I've always wondered about that. My first exposure to him was Phantom (I didn't know until much later that he was in Hello Dolly). I was never able to find anything through Internet searches. What happened? Did he take singling lessons from a master between Dolly and Phantom? The two voices are worlds apart!

I'm also wondering if he's lost much of his vocal range now due to age. On the Phantom 25th anniversary production where all the previous Broadway phantoms appeared together, he was the only one who didn't sing.

 

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I can't think of any musicals that I can actually claim to hate. And a number of them I've come to appreciate with time. I think WEST SIDE STORY is overrated as an entire film but I love segments of it. It's one I need to reevaluate with time.

Interestingly enough the first time I ever saw THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW was at Ball State the year after it was released. The SCGB (Student Center Governing Board) showed it for Halloween my freshman year. I hated it at the time but have learned to love the music and appreciate the film. Wanting to be involved I was able to join the board as Film programmer and did that the next three years there until I graduated.

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2 hours ago, Emily F said:

Least favorite movie musical: Oklahoma. I love, love, LOVE the music, but the movie was very long and boring. It moved so slowly, and while the ballet number was beautiful and I am normally a fan of more classical styles, it just lost my interest. 

  I also didn't really care for Funny Face. It has its good moments, but it was rather psychedelic for my taste. 

I agree with you about Funny Face.  I don't know if I've ever made it to the end.  It's included in the TCM's new book "50 Must-See Musicals" and I have to ask:  Why?  Also I don't care for Daddy Long Legs.  I don't mean to be mean about Fred Astaire, however, because he is one of my all-time favorites.

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Since I like to complain about really terrible movies, I decided to throw in my two cents on the subject of least favorite musicals! First, I'll react to the comments because I do find them both revelatory, amusing and entertaining to read. I'm sorry if I break someone's heart with my opinions, but I do agree with some of my fellow cinephiles's complaints.

4 hours ago, Pastiche said:

Musical I can't stand:  Hello Dolly:  So ponderously awful, I feel like I'm watching it half-speed.   One redeeming quality is the costumes, but if this is on I usually turn the channel. 

Ah, Holly Dolly! The very same musical that ended the bankability of old-school musicals! I actually have never seen it aside from clips of it in Wall-E, aka my favorite Pixar movie. Unlike WALL-E, I'm not entranced by Holly Dolly because it sounds like nails being scratched on a chalkboard. Thankfully, I did happen to encounter a hilarious skewering of it on a fellow blogger's blog; here it is for your reading pleasure: http://myloveofoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2012/08/hello-dolly-1969-gene-kelly-blogathon.html 

4 hours ago, Pastiche said:

Musical number:  In Gigi, the number "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" before she goes out to start her career as a mistress, where she's singing to her cat.  Her poor drugged-to-an-inch-of-its-life cat.  I've read the cat had to be sedated because it couldn't stand Leslie Caron, but it's upsetting to watch.

I'm genuinely heartbroken that they had to sedate the cat in order to film the sequence. Animals should never be purposefully harmed for anyone's entertainment, especially when you can achieve the same effect using animation or special effects. I truly hope that the cat turned out to be alright. 

3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I did not care for Maurice Chevalier's "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" song.  Maybe in 1958 it was fine... but in today's climate, it just seems weird.

We can all agree that Gigi's opening song hasn't aged well in today's #MeToo climate.... ? 

3 hours ago, beaglemusic said:

Least favorite musical? Easy. Bye Bye Birdie. The stage version is marginally better, but having music directed it once (as a favor to a friend), I just really don’t like the show.

Fun story: I used to like Bye Bye Birdie before I too was involved in a stage production of it. While I did have a blast acting it - I was in middle school when I played the mayor, I grew less fond of the book as we rehearsed it. Some of my fellow actors had great difficulty relating to the characters or to the attitude of the time. We were true troopers and managed to deliver a great production [for a middle school production], so thankfully I look back on it with pride even though I too really don't like the show that much nowadays. 

1 hour ago, SueK said:

Musical I Can't Stand:  Grease - hate the music, the storyline, and the actors.  Dislike the stage version even more.

 

I wish I can write offensive language here because I despise Grease, especially with its pregnancy cop-out and horrific sexism. I don't understand why Grease has become a cult classic as I hate it with a burning passion. However, since I'm stronger than Grease, I won't resort to using foul language whilst describing that truly awful pile of garbage. 

 

1 hour ago, SueK said:

Loved the Stage Show, Hated the Movie:  Man of La Mancha (Sophia Loren is a horrible Aldonza);

The Wiz (fabulous on stage, dismal as a movie. This is what happens when you place star names above creativity);

Musical Numbers I Can't Stand:  Anything Russell Crowe sang in Les Miz

While Pauliene Kael would vehemently stand up for Sophia Loren's performance in Man of La Mancha, I can't defend Russell Crowe's terrible performance nor can I fathom why The Wiz turned out to be a terrible film adaptation! I agree with SueK's sentiment: Hollywood, please DO NOT place star names above everything else! Your production will greatly suffer from it! All three films are ruined by exploiting star power over using creativity- I personally think Man of La Mancha is the least awful adaptation of the three because it wasn't as pretentious or boring as the other two were. I'm in fact reading Man of La Mancha's book because the movie piqued my interest. However, as a fan of both The Wiz and Les Miserables, I'm horrified by the completely awful travesties that Hollywood did to them! I need to take a momentarily break before I can sanely reveal my least favorite musical...

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4 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I am so glad you asked:

Most disliked musical numbers:

-"Heavenly Music" from Summer Stock.  This has to be the absolute worst musical number that Gene Kelly has ever done.  The song is irritating.  Gene and Phil Silvers' yokel act is tiresome after like 1 second.  I absolutely loathe this song and number.  The only redeeming part of it are the dogs at the end.  Supposedly, Judy Garland was supposed to appear in this number as well but she called in sick and the crew decided to go on without her.  I think Judy knew what she was doing and feigned illness to get out of having to appear in this routine.

-"Triplets" from The Band Wagon.  This whole song is strange and I just don't enjoy it at all.

-Jeannette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy/Kathryn Grayson... anyone who sings operatically doesn't do it for me at all.  When Grayson sings in Anchors Aweigh, I either skip ahead or use that time for a bathroom and/or snack break.

Disliked musical films:

-South Pacific.  As much as I like Mitzi Gaynor, I cannot stand this movie.  It's a total bore and I hated the strange colored filters that were placed over some of the scenes.

Disliked dancer:

Joan Crawford in (I think) Dancing Lady.  She is a terrible dancer.  She just clomps around.

Ruby Keeler.  She is an awful dancer as well.  Much like Joan, Ruby just clomps around on stage.  She reminds me of me when I do my tap dancing impression.

I saw South Pacific on Broadway as a kid and loved it.  So you can imagine how disappointed I was with the movie version.  I don't care for Mitzi Gaynor (think how much better Shirley Jones would have been as Nellie!) and Rossano Brazzi's singing voice had to be dubbed (they couldn't find any singing actors for the role?).  It was filmed on one of the most beautiful islands on earth and the cinematographer muddied it up with different colored filters for each song, as I recall.     

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Triplets from Band Wagon...not cute. Fabray is  sweet but Fred looks silly. The song costumes and "choreography" is childish. Still up there on my top musical list. Like a record not all are hits.

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3 hours ago, Sarah Last said:

My least favorite musical is Annie Get Your Gun.  I think the movie should have ended with Annie Oakley winning the competition and remaining a celebrity instead of losing just so she could be with Frank Butler at the end.  I also can't stand any musical movie with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  The music is atrocious and the actors are incredibly annoying.

I agree with you on the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy statement.  I have tried several times to get through one of their movies.  I just can't do it.  It's awful.

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Least Favorite Cinematic Musical: Moulin Rouge! (2001) 

It's a nauseating experience that's not only pretentious but unintentionally ridiculous; also filled to the brim with actors who can't sing or dance, unbearable editing, insultingly cliched storytelling, and terrible directing. I never cared for Baz Luhrmann's films- his legitimately nonsensical films give a terrible name to artistically inspiring movies everywhere. His entire filmography destroys something I love by replacing its soul with frenetic bombast and suffocating attempts at being hip with audiences: Romeo + Juliet spat at William Shakespeare's grave by not understanding his immortal love story, Strictly Ballroom defecated upon feminine films by recycling laughable cliches, and The Great Gatsby forever ruined my reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel by unintentionally highlighting all the negative aspects that I despise, such as its sexism. However, Moulin Rouge hurled a nuclear weapon at two of my loves: musicals and Impressionism/Post-Impressionism art; at least, his other films never dared to insult more than one passion of mine at the same time! This is seriously one of my least favorite films of all time to the point that I internally scream with revulsion each time someone mentions its hideous name in my presence.

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Honestly, I don't get why An American In Paris won Best Picture. I don't think the plot is very good. And I doubt that Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron will ever win awards for best chemistry. They were better in other musicals separately, but not together in this one.

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I agree that the movie for Man of La Mancha is dreadful! The music is great but they should have chosen actors who could handle it.

Mama Mia was a wonderful play, but the movie?! Could they have made worse choices for some of the leads?! And now they’re making another one!!!

I am also not a fan of Paint Your Wagon.

I also find it interesting to see Sean Connery try to sing in Darby O’Gill!

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I HATE the film Chorus Line. Who decided that the song, What I Did For Love, was about a man - really, just pathetic!

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6 hours ago, beaglemusic said:

Least favorite musical? Easy. Bye Bye Birdie. The stage version is marginally better, but having music directed it once (as a favor to a friend), I just really don’t like the show. And I’m sorry...Ann Margaret, whom I really do like, is just too old to play Kim. 

I like Bye Bye Birdie.  Though I haven't seen the stage version to compare it to.  I do understand that the film was re-written to focus more on the Ann-Margret character because she was an upcoming new star at that time.  I read that Dick Van Dyke who was in the stage version, was unhappy that some focus was taken off his character and given to Ann-Margret.  I'm a big fan of Ann-Margret, so I didn't mind her being the main focus of the film.  I really like the "Lots of Livin' to Do" song.  Paul Lynde is hilarious, though I think he plays himself in every movie he does--which I don't mind, because the "Paul Lynde" character is so funny.  I thought that Ann-Margret could do better than Bobby "golly gee" Rydell, is a little too square for me, but I guess he makes a good contrast to Conrad Birdie. 

My main issue with Bye Bye Birdie is the casting of Conrad Birdie.  That actor was just too old and he's not cute.  I don't know why the girls would be going gaga over him.  Too bad they couldn't get Elvis.  I think that's who the filmmakers originally wanted.  I'd even take James Darren or Frankie Avalon or Fabian or maybe even Ricky Nelson.  I do love my 50s/60s teen idols (okay, Darren is my favorite because he's so cute).  Rydell is okay... but he's not my favorite. 

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From reading these comments, it's very interesting how people perceive the same film.  I love Funny Face.  I love the songs, Audrey's fashion photography sequence, Audrey's wild dance at the bohemian beatnik club (This sequence was used in a Gap commercial in the early 00s if I remember right.  Her dance sequence was set to AC/DC's "Back in Black."  I quite remember enjoying that commercial (which I can't say about many ads).  Kay Thompson and Fred Astaire's "Clap Yo' Hands" song is so much fun.  My only complaint about the film is that the ending scene with Audrey in the wedding dress is so hazy and blurry that for years I thought I had a bad copy of the film until I realized that all copies were that way.  

I don't have any issues with Grease, I like the songs.  The actors are too old and I'll agree to that point.  Rizzo's pregnancy storyline is kind of lame, I will agree to that as well.  My big question about this film is why is poor Sandra Dee picked on as some goody two-shoes? Much like Doris Day, Dee has somehow acquired the label as the eternal virgin.  In A Summer Place, Dee ends up a pregnant teenager; in Gidget, Dee wants a boyfriend, but I think her underlying goal is to get some action before returning to her senior year.  She does lament that she's still "pure as the driven snow" at some point in the film.  In Doctor, You've Got to be KiddingDee is an unwed mother with three possible baby daddies.  She's not this vision of purity that Grease holds her up to be. I'm sure more people know the name "Sandra Dee" from the "Look at Me Sandra Dee" song, I'd be surprised if they even knew that she was a real person. 

I love An American in Paris.  It's not my favorite Gene Kelly film and Leslie Caron isn't my favorite dance partner of his, but I love the dancing and the songs and even the big Gershwin ballet at the end.  I also love Oscar Levant and Georges Guetary in the film.  Guetary's "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" is one of my favorite numbers in the film.  Levant's dream where he imagines himself as all the parts of the orchestra is fun as well. The best part of An American in Paris is this:

 genekelly.gif?w=212&h=297

I will agree wholeheartedly on Jeanette MacDonald being awful.  Her singing is so shrill.  In San Francisco, she sings and I kept hoping that either a wall would fall on her during the Great Earthquake or that Clark Gable would punch her in the mouth and put us all out of our misery.  

I am not a big fan of Buddy Ebsen's dancing, like in Born to Dance for example.  He's just too dopey for me. 

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