If there’s any type of movie I’d say that best reflects my idea of Hollywood, it’s the big grand musical. Now I’m fairly aware that saying that sounds very gay, which I’m sure makes my homophobic girlfriend cringe. But hey, I’m not gonna lie. Big grand musicals are the epitome, to me, of what a ‘spectacular performance’ is. There’s great music, terrific melodies, and basically actors interpreting what they feel through feats of song and dance. Any story of great romance, deep despair, hate, fear, or anything for that matter, is made more meaningful and dramatic via moving performances filled with music and dancing.
Thus, I still remember happily the few magical musicals I chanced upon at a young age, such as Oklahoma, South Pacific, the King and I and other Rogers and Hammerstein classics. Then there’s Oliver Twist (which had me saying ‘Please Sir, may I have some more?‘ over and over again), Annie and My Fair Lady. Until today, when I type on a keyboard to test it, I usually write ‘The Rain In Spain stays mainly in the plain‘, rather than the standard ‘The quick red fox…‘.
But (I’m almost apologetic to admit due to their near boilerplate commonness) the ones I particularly remember best are The Sound Of Music, whose 2 songs ‘I Have Confidence‘ and ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain‘ I used to sing to myself (if I could remember the lyrics) whenever I took on a job interview; the less common Fiddler on the Roof, whom I admired for its ability to present a political view whilst providing pure musical enjoyment, and finally, Grease, for taking you to a certain place and time, in this case the late 50’s America, with its terrific songs, performances and costumes that added a hundred more colors to the standard boy meets girl.
And due to the fact it had almost the same location and time of Grease, I approached Hairspray, justifiably or not, with that as my barometer. I love Grease, I loved John Travolta’s oozing, greasy masculinity and Olivia Newton John’s openness and virginal innocence, I loved the song ‘Greased Lightnin” and hated it when they cut that song out from the TV version of the movie, and I have been waiting for a long long time to watch something of anywhere near the calibre of those three. It was therefore with great anticipation that I waited on the promises made by Hairspray.
And my conclusion?
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