Monday, September 1, 2008

I can't explain it, but I loathe movie musicals


So T. and The Wife are watching Sweeney Todd right now. Whenever people are talking, and NOT SINGING, I wander into the room and it looks really great. I mean Burton knows what he's doing, the makeup and cinematography are intriguing, the sets, etc. And then, the singing starts. I just have to walk away, I literally can't stomach it.

I don't understand where this reaction comes from. It applies especially to good old American musicals, with the modern orchestration (especially the lilting flutes -- my GOD that drives me nuts). The crescendos, the singing... the whole thing makes me want to earp.

My earliest memory of this allergy is when I was in elementary school, home sick from school to be exact. I had the tube on, was flipping channels, and I saw these 4 cool gangsters walking down the street, with their collars flipped up, their hair done up -- and I sat back to watch. Suddenly, they all hit some pose, full on jazz hands, and began to sing. It was West Side Story. I ran up to the tube and turned the dial. I was appalled.

So this has been with me for somewhere around 3 decades.

I'd love to know the root of it. If I figure it out some day I'll share with ya'll.

Enjoy being a hater,

Bp

ps/addendum: This sentiment doesn't seem to apply to live musicals. Again, a mystery.

20 comments:

Tony said...

The only musical I can handle is Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog.

Chuck Butcher said...

It may be a sad commentary on my age, but about the only movie musical I ever liked was...

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Anonymous said...

You know, I have exactly the same reaction and I'm of an older generation. And I live with a wonderful woman who dearly loves these things! jdm

Anonymous said...

PS: Neither one of us could get through the first ten minutes of "Sweeny Todd" though. And two of our favorite actors as well! We spent a nice evening reading. jdm

Shocho said...

I used to hate musicals until my lovely wife showed me some terrific ones. All That Jazz was the one that turned me around. I also recommend West Side Story and Chicago.

eStu said...

I can take musicals or leave them. I thought Sweeney Todd was dreadful, however. The much-praised Steven Sondheim score was boring, and the script somehow fails to capitalize on a perfect story for melodrama (or black comedy).

And, as much as I like Johnny Depp (whom my dear wife says bears an uncanny resemblance to our friend and blogmeister BPaul) I found his performance uninspired (and his singing lacking).

Did I mention that I didn't like the film?

eStu

PS: Hi John, long time no see...

Katye said...

Now even on his worst nights of not sleeping he doesn't look THAT haggard!

Sheesh Colleen!

Bpaul said...

OOF! Way to turn around a compliment Wife.

Man...

msherm said...

I hate musicals as well but actually enjoyed sweeny todd ok, but yeah musical movies and TV is not for me. I can handle live stuff alright but it's not my first choice.

Maybe the root of your displeasure is that they suck?

A.Stock said...

never have you nailed my thoughts so accurately. There are so many examples of movies I've enjoyed right up until they ruin it by breaking into song. And even though I consider myself a musician, I just can't take musicals either.

BP, it must provide some reassurance that you're normal if everyone else you know (barring your immediate neighbors) loathes musicals too.

One exception for me was Moulin Rouge. I'm not sure why i draw a distinction on that one. But the rest of the lot of 'em ruin a perfectly good story.

BP: you're a great guy and i can't say enough nice things about you, but i'm having a hard time seeing the Dep connection.

Anonymous said...

Musicals cannot carry a plot. I like a good story in my movies and having somebody randomly break into song and dance just wrecks any developing thread. As you can tell, I do not like ..... wait .... I completely, utterly revile musicals. Period. No need for excuses. That being said, wanna not watch a musical together?

Chuckiesue

Tate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

Maybe it's a different thing when you know the musical from the inside out. I've done pit orchestra on a number of them, and I loved it. Granted, I'm less enthusiastic about those that I haven't been involved in...so...yeah.
I'm not sure where I was going with this, other than to say that Fiddler on the Roof rocks. Yeah.

A.Stock said...

In response to Tate's comment above:

BP's neighbors are also my neighbors (since I live on the same block). The afore-mentioned neighbors have loaned my wife several movie musicals over the years, despite my [quite vocal] dislike of them.

Trust me when i tell you that my earlier comment wasn't made from the perspective of the stereotype driven straight male. It was made from the perspective of a guy that has had to suffer through a musical every few months, every time my wife borrows one. (she makes me sit through the first few minutes each time "just in case" I change my mind. It's sort of like my mom forcing me to eat a few bites of okra "just in case" i liked it back in my childhood...and I never grew to like okra either.)

The gist is that his neighbors like crap musicals. And they happen to be gay. But I never actually associated the two items together; you did that.

And if the movie-musical VHS collection wasn't bad enough, you should see their CD collection. Holy stereotypes batman!

Tate said...

yes it was explained, i still am tired and get tired of stereotypes.

i have deleted my comment.
Bp been great reading this, i feel that it is time to sign off. I seem to get too worked up lately over things.

Bpaul said...

You're always welcome here Tate. We all have stuff that gets us worked up, it's not a problem.

Bp

eStu said...

Chef Colleen insists that I make the following clarifying statement on her behalf:

"I have thought the BP looks like Johnny Depp from the moment I met him (BP -- I have not met Johnny Depp).

I did not intend to suggest that BP looked like Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. The similarity is in general."

Signed,

Chef Colleen's press secretary

A.Stock said...

I should clarify something. When I said:
"The afore-mentioned neighbors have loaned my wife several movie musicals over the years, despite my [quite vocal] dislike of them."

When I said 'them', i meant musicals, not my neighbors. I have overall very positive feelings about my neighbors.

And Tate, don't leave on my account. I think there was a mis-communication in our previous dialogue. I"m pretty sure no harm (or sterotypes) were used in the making of this blog.

Bentley said...

i hated, HATED this movie.. I hated Chicago to..

It's funny, locally people i saw this with loved it (except Mel). I was ready to walk out about 15 minutes in..

I Think what bugged me most was predictability.. and once i started watching it i wanted it to be over..

It takes a special type of person to like musical movies, and those are usually people involved in musicals themselves :P

One Mule Team said...

Me too.