Episode 28 – Movie Musicals Part 1
Why Watch That
Music has a special ability to connect us to the world and bring more clarity to our lives. Musicals have a way of instantly changing the playing field by adding music to a story. That combination heightens the impact of the events in musicals as they unfold before our eyes. In this episode, the Critic and the Referee discuss their favorite and not-so-favorite movie musicals. This episode will take you on an emotional journey, just as musicals do. Enjoy!
West Side Story – an American musical that is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s. This musical explores the rivalry between the Jets (Polish-Americans) and the Sharks (Puerto-Ricans), two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. A young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. This sparks romance and conflict.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – a 1971 musical that tells the story of Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), as he receives a Golden Ticket and gets to tour Willy Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) chocolate factory with four other children from around the world. (***Definitely Watch – Critic & Referee )
Grease – a 1978 American musical film that centers on two teens Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and a vacationing Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) who meet during the Summer of 1959 and fall in love. But after Sandy’s parents decide not to go back to Australia, they unexpectedly discover they’re now enrolled in the same high school, and try to rekindle their romance.
Little Shop of Horrors – a 1986 American musical comedy about Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), a nerdy florist who finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant that demands to be fed human blood.
Oliver! – a 1968 British musical drama about an orphan named Oliver (Mark Lester) who runs away from an orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.
Annie – a 1982 American musical film set during the Great Depression that tells the story of Annie (Aileen Quinn), a mischievous orphan from New York City who is taken in by America’s richest billionaire, Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney).
The Five Heartbeats – a 1991 musical drama that follows the three-decade career of the R&B vocal group, The Five Heartbeats. This film depicts the rise and fall of a Motown inspired soul act through the eyes of the film’s main protagonist, Donald “Duck” Matthews (Robert Townsend), who serves as this film’s narrator.
Carmen: A Hip Hopera – a 2001 musical film based upon Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera “Carmen”. Carmen Brown (Beyoncé Knowles) is a seductive, aspiring actress who mistakenly causes trouble everywhere she goes. She gets involved with Sgt. Derek Hill (Mekhi Phifer), who is engaged to a cocktail waitress, Caela (Reagan Gomez-Preston), but soon cheats on her with Carmen and finds himself in a world of trouble.
The Wizard of Oz – a 1939 American musical fantasy film about a young farm girl named Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) who lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas during the early 1900s. During a tornado storm, she is swept away to a magical land and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard (Frank Morgan) to ask him to help her return home.
The Wiz – a 1978 American musical adventure film that is an adaption of “The Wizard of Oz” that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience. This film chronicles the adventures of Dorothy (Diana Ross), a shy Harlem, New York, schoolteacher who finds herself magically transported to the Land of Oz, which resembles a fantasy version of New York City. Befriended by a Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), a Tin Man(Nipsey Russell), and a Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross), she travels through the land to seek an audience with the mysterious Wiz, whom they say has the power to take her home.
Critics childhood favorites
(Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Wiz, The NeverEnding Story)
Quote of the Episode
“West Side Story was Millie Vanillied up and down…” – The Referee