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Joshua Goodstein

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  1. I really liked La La Land but I didn't like the music. Justin Hurwitz's instrumental score was great but the actual songs are all the typical bland Pasek/Paul radio playable songs with a tenuous connection to the plot. Other than Mia's audition song towards the end it sounds like a jukebox musical. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are both passable singers but mostly skate by on the merit of their overall performances. Their dancing isn't particularly good either, and it's just disappointing that none of the featured and ensemble singers were particularly strong either, I guess it was so they didn't outshine the leads.
  2. The first ones to come to mind are "As Time Goes By" and "Die Wacht Am Rhein/La Marseillaise" in Casablanca.
  3. It's interesting that you bring this up, since the music for Disney's Beauty and the Beast was expressly written in a more theatrical style, which is why the music and even the structure of the story changed so little when it was adapted for Broadway in 1994.
  4. I love Bernadette's Rose specifically because she doesn't chew the scenery, it makes Rose feel more like a real, complex person as opposed to a Saturday morning cartoon villain which is what I felt from Patti LuPone and especially Bette Midler which is why I don't particularly care for their interpretations.
  5. Tessie, Mazeppa, and Electra are always poor singers in every version of the show. I'd also have to disagree with you on Rosalind Russell. Her singing was dubbed by Lisa Kirk but it still had to sound like an extension of her speaking voice and I don't find it to be pleasant to listen to. I much prefer Imelda Staunton and Bernadette Peters in the role. Imelda's performance was even professionally recorded and available to rent on various streaming services. I highly recommend watching it, it's my favorite overall version of the show.
  6. I'm probably in the minority on this, but I don't find Jerry Mulligan likable in the least. He's rude, opportunistic, and a stalker. His constant ear to ear grin only makes him come off as smarmy. If I hadn't already known of and enjoyed Gene Kelly in other films before seeing this one I would probably just be put off from watching any of his other movies, and even having known of him before just made me see elements I hated from this character seeping in in other movies. The insincere plastic smile that looks more like he's posing for a toothpaste ad than feeling actual human emotions and the condescending attitude are big ones. At least in Singin' in the Rain these traits are minimal in comparison and aren't romanticized like they are here.
  7. I think Into the Woods did a really good job of translating the stage show into a film, albeit one with some significant structural problems. Granted, it did have a much stronger cast than Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music.
  8. I haven't been able to catch the tour in person but the production it's based on is wonderful and Elena Shaddow is about to take on the role of Anna. She's a really great singer and actress as is Laura Michelle Kelly who's doing it now.
  9. I have seen Song of the South a few times and it's not nearly as bad as people say it is. It's honestly way better in terms of portrayals of African Americans than most films coming out at the time. It's not particularly sensitive by modern standards, but even within the Disney canon there are far more offensive portrayals of racial minority groups (like the native tribe in Peter Pan) and James Baskett is incredibly charming as Uncle Remus. It's worth watching if you can find it just as a form of cultural study, but the live action bits that take up the majority of the run time are pretty boring. The animated bits are wonderful though. I really wish Disney would just suck it up and release it to home video with a documentary in front examining the cultural impact and how the portrayal of African Americans in Hollywood movies has changed since the 1940's, similar to what they did when they released all of Disney's World War II propaganda shorts on DVD.
  10. Since as we enter the second half of the course there are far more movie musicals that are adaptations of stage musicals than there were in the '30s and '40s. I just thought it would be interesting to see which film adaptations of stage musicals the people in this class think surpass their source material and which fall a bit flat in comparison, as well as for movies that got turned into stage musicals. For movie musicals that are better than the original stage productions, the only one that really stands out to me is West Side Story. There are others that I really like but still wouldn't consider superior to the stage shows, namely Into the Woods, The King and I, Hello Dolly, Little Shop of Horrors, My Fair Lady. Into the Woods' film version loses out for me mainly because of a few poor casting choices and structural problems that come from having to take what is effectively 2 different 3-act stories separated by a passage of time in the form of an intermission and mash them together into one 3 act screenplay. The King and I loses out a bit because of how the climactic scene was toned down, and Little Shop of Horrors for making Seymour too sympathetic. Hello Dolly and My Fair Lady I would say are about equivalent depending on who is playing the roles in whatever stage version you're comparing them to. I was very disapponted in the film versions of Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Les Miserables, and Cabaret. Sweeney Todd for the lackluster performances (both in singing and acting) and the drastic tone shift without changing the material to fit the new tone; A Little Night Music for its bad vocals, incomplete themes (that were complete in the stage version), and alienating cinematography; Les Mis for its rushed pacing, lazy restructuring, and poor vocal performances; and Cabaret for casting a good singer for Sally Bowles which undermines the entire purpose of her character in relation to the themes of the piece and for cutting out all the subplots from the stage version and replacing them with worse subplots.
  11. Just to add something about West Side Story, the film version goes even further with the theme of prejudice and racism than the stage version did because of the changes made to the lyrics in the song "America." In the stage version the lyrics were about how bad Puerto Rico is and how America is so much better, but the movie changed it to be more about the discrimination faced by Puerto Ricans in New York City. That's just one of quite a few changes made in the translation from stage to screen that make me prefer the film version to its stage counterpart (although the main changes that make the movie better are structural changes and order of the songs rather than the themes and characters).
  12. The Last Five Years is very underrated, both the stage and screen versions. It's better suited for the stage and the movie has some noticeable technical problems but the movie version is well worth seeing if you can't get to a production of the stage show since the performances are great and the material is pretty much unchanged. It's on Netflix if anyone here wants to see it.
  13. I love so many of the movie musical stars who came from the theater like Julie Andrews, Lea Salonga, Liz Callaway, Alan Cumming, Bernadette Peters, Donna Murphy, Paige O'Hara, Jodi Benson, and Susan Egan. Amy Adams is another brilliant actress who doesn't get enough credit for her musical chops. She was wonderful in Enchanted and made a wonderful Baker's Wife in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Into the Woods. Catherine Zeta-Jones is also great, and the only real triple threat working in Hollywood this century. Jake Gyllenhaal and Imelda Staunton haven't done any film musicals, but they're both wonderful actors who have done great work in stage musicals as well. Staunton has played Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Mama Rose in Gypsy, and Sally Durant Plummer in Follies. I was lucky enough to see Jake Gyllenhaal as Georges Seurat in last year's revival of Sunday in the Park with George, and he was truly revelatory in that role. Marni Nixon is also noteworthy for providing the singing for so many wonderful characters in film like Maria in West Side Story, Anna Leonowens in The King and I, and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
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