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What's Wrong With A Musical?

This isn't particularly Aspergery, it isn't particularly Dadish either, but these are my thoughts having just watched a movie musical.

It bemuses me why some people don't like movie musicals. What's not to like?

The list of reasons people say they don't like movie musicals isn't particularly long.

1. It's not realistic. People don't just burst into song.

2. The singing isn't good.

3. I don't like the songs.

I can't think of any more. So I'll address these points.

Number 1. It's a movie. Realism is in, I'll concede. However, in a world where the top grossing movies include a story about a magical school and the wizards and witches that go there, a road movie, where two little half sized creatures destroy a precious object crafted by an evil angel (or dark lord) whilst being chased by a wizard, mean looking grunting creatures, talking trees and the undead figures of kings and a space epic where good guys use mind tricks and supernatural powers in order to defeat the bad guys who also use mind tricks and supernatural powers but whilst feeling angry, realism isn't really the point is it. So why can't you get past people singing. Try listening to what they say in the song. Maybe come to terms with how people can use music as a language. After all, we revel in the song singing powers of our musicians. Why can't actors use song to tell stories. Also, one afternoon with my wife and daughter and you'll see that people do just burst into song randomly.

Number 2. Again, I'll concede that some of the singing in movie musicals can be dubious. I'll go so far as to say that sometimes I personally wish that Hollywood producers wouldn't use 'names' to sell a movie musical. There are really talented people out there who are just so awesome at acting through song it'll blow your mind. The amount of people who could have done a better job than Russell Crowe in Les Miserables is huge. And I like Russell Crowe. What a talented actor. A little inward when it comes to singing is all. So I get it. The singing standard can be lower than desired. You could argue this is offset by the surprise when you hear the Anna Kendricks of this world. More importantly however, I think if you're overly worried about the quality of the singing, you might be missing the point of a movie musical. I remember a conversation I had with a friends mum years ago about Topol's performance in Fiddler on the Roof. I was listening to the soundtrack and she commented on how awful his singing voice was. That film won 3 oscars, nominated for another 5. Topol lost out to Gene Hackman in 'The French Connection' for the best actor gong. It was irrelevant that his singing voice wasn't CD quality. He was acting. He happened to be singing. It still is in my mind, a career defining performance for Topol and an incredible movie. Please watch it. It has so many messages for our times.

Number 3. I can't really convince someone if they don't like something. I'm not likely to be able to change your mind if you don't like a specific genre. However, consider this. I don't really like disco music. It's all a bit samey to me. So when a disco track comes on at a party, do I walk out of the room saying I don't like disco? Or do I get up and dance to the song? I'm more likely to get up and dance. It's similar with musical theatre/film musicals. You may not like the songs in the movie, but the story could be incredible. The way they are shot could be absolutely beautiful. There is a huge depth to the songs in musicals. They drive the story, or make comment on the state of affairs. Listen to them.

In summary, give movie musicals a go. It's not a in vogue genre at the moment. But they have always been there. There are better singers out there. There are more realistic ways of telling the stories. There may well be songs you prefer. Since when was any of that an excuse not to listen/watch a story?


©2016 by Greg Last - Asperger Dad