I love laughing at a good comedy movie; I love being scared during an excellent horror movie. I love having my mind twisted in a great thriller and being able just to see things go boom in an action film. But there is no comparison to the feeling that comes over the soul when watching a movie musical. From the first note, people will be belting out the tune whether it is from an animated movie or live action. A musical just seems to speak to the part of the soul that needs attention sometimes. It’s almost like the attention of a cat. Sure, they can virtually take care of themselves, but every so often, they want some soft, gentle pats on the head. The same thing can be said for musicals, and that is why today we are going to count down The Top 10 Movie Musicals. And before I start the list, here are the requirements. The movie has to be live action. Adding animated movies would not be totally fair. And in a move that will surprise no one but my wife’s aunt Shannon, no sequels. Sorry, but no Grease 2. (Can you believe someone actually likes that movie?) Now to the list.
It may be that I lived so close to the Kansas border when growing up or actually seeing the museum in person, but “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is nothing but cornfields. The Wizard Of Oz is one of those movies that will be shown to each generation and rightfully so. The film follows around a young girl named Dorothy and her little Dog too. The neighbor and all around terrible person is bitten by Toto who may or may not have missed the rains in Africa. The Sheriff shows up to get the dog and takes it. But ultimately the dog escapes, comes home, there is a tornado, and magically everything is suddenly in color. She also crushed a witch with her house. Damn, those are some great drugs and anywhere else Dorothy would be charged with witchslaughter but not in Oz. Not to mention she steals the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes. What are the odds of landing on someone with the same shoe size? While in Oz, Dorothy is going to try to meet The Wizard to go home. She meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and Lion who is cowardly. Thank god there was no sort of love angle happening. The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Man wants a heart, and the lion wants courage. And all of this happens while singing catchy toons. Dorothy after meeting the most powerful man behind a curtain clicks her heels together and is magically in black and white again. And she can keep her dog. It is a weird movie, but the music will always be part of each generation making the movie find a home on this list.
It’s the movie that made you want to tour a chocolate factory in hopes that tiny orange people would a sing a song about you messing up. There is something special about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and something very creepy as well. Gene Wilder is brilliant as Wonka. His mannerisms and each way he delivered lines sends the viewer into a world of pure imagination. But, besides that, the concept is really impressive as well. A giant contest to tour this chocolate plant which seems more like a theme park attraction would make any kid want to eat mass amounts of chocolate. Each scene has something memorable in it. The launch of the Golden Ticket idea, Charlie’s grandpa’s legs magically are healed with the good news of chocolate, to the spoiled rich brat wanting an Oompa Loompa now, Violet as a blueberry, and even Wonka’s entrance into the movie is that of legend. Much like Oz, this movie will be one that will be around forever, and that is a good thing.
I tend to put off certain things until they become uncontrollable. I will let dishes pile up until they become unbearable at time. I will forget to eat, and then I could eat an entire pie. But the one thing I tend to put off longer than anything is getting a haircut. However, if I were to get a haircut on Fleet Street, chances are that it would be the last haircut I would ever get. Sweeney Todd is a musical about murder and cannibalism. Because when I think show stopping dance numbers that put a smile on the face, those are the first two topics that come to mind. But Tim Burton knocked this one out of the park. And the movie has the perfect cast. Helena Bonham Carter is perfect in her role as Mrs. Lovett, but the stand out is of course the illegitimate child of Burton and Carter before divorce, Johnny Depp. He brought the character to life in a way that many other could not. But I am still a little hesitant about eating a pie anywhere close to a barber shop.
I am not sure that I can type in an accent, but I will try my best for the musical in the number 7 spot. The word that comes to mind for this musical is iconic, and the story even inspired one of the biggest pop culture movies of all time, Pretty Woman. But I have to ask, does the rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain? My Fair Lady plays follows a phonics professor and taking a bet that he can turn anyone proper and enter flower saleswoman Eliza Doolittle. Higgins decides to see if he can turn Eliza into a proper woman to show off at clubs that probably go fox hunting. But in the end, he ends up falling in love with Eliza, and the two live happily ever after. But due to the story being embedded into pop culture, this musical deserves a spot on the list for that alone. Plus, the song “A Little Bit of Luck” happens to be one of the catchiest songs in the history of musicals. And I forgot something, Audrey Hepburn! Do I need to say anything more?
I am not good at taking care of inside plants. I always worry if they are getting enough water, or too much water. If I need to give them plant food, or if they are getting enough sunlight. However, I am pretty sure that taking care of a man-eating plant from outer space would not be that difficult. Little Shop of Horrors sounds like something that would be shown during a double feature with a gory slasher flick, but instead it is a musical about love…..and a man eating plant named Audrey 2. Seymour the lovable nerdy florist, who is in love with a woman named Audrey. Seymour finds a new mysterious plant and names it after Audrey, way to think outside the of the petal. Rick Moranis is wonderful as Seymour and Steve Martin is perfect as the terrible dentist. I really do hope Hollywood does not remake this at any point in the future.
I was never a good dancer. I, in fact, have the moves of a cube in an earthquake. With that being said, I think I am a tad bit jealous of the moves that Tracy Turnblad was able to show to get on The Corny Collins Show. Hairspray is set in the 1960s and is set around the story of Tracy trying to become one of the Nicest Kids in Town by being a dance on the show. However, in the mean time she runs into the musical equivalent of the Plastics, Amber who will stop at no cost to try to get her thrown off the show. But during this time, Tracy and her best Penny learn that life has a lot twists and turns. Including watching people they care about be discriminated against. Tracy goes on a mission that it is not fair for the black kids to only have one day. And with the help of Seaweed, Link, Motormouth Maybelle, Edna, and Penny, Tracy is able to teach Baltimore a very important life lesson that “You Can’t Stop The Beat.”
Our next musical is going to come out of left field. In fact, our next musical is a movie that needs to be on your must-watch list. Intrigued? You should be. See our story follows a German immigrant living in Kansas. But instead of a tornado taking them to a magical land, it is about someone who had a botched sex change operation. John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch may be one of the most underrated movies of all time. The movie follows Hedwig and her transformation into society as a woman and as an American. She falls in love with someone who decides to steal all of her music and become the biggest name on the rock scene. She follows his tour with one of her own, happening in seafood restaurants. But the music from this movie is that of art. And Origin of Love is the perfect example of this. If you love musicals, this needs to be in your collection right now.
Winter, Christmas, A Cow Jumping Over the Moon, ACT UP, Fight AIDS, and possibly the best soundtrack in the history of movie musicals. Of course, we are talking about the movie Rent! Right from the moment the movie is on the screen, you know you are going to be on an emotional roller coaster. “Seasons of Love” is one of the most powerful songs in the entire movie and will give you chills when it is reprised later in the film. However, the thing that sets Rent apart from other musicals is instead of having one main story; it follows the stories of 6 different characters. Maureen, the bisexual with a passion for the theatrical, her lover Joanne the struggle of admitting that she is in love with a woman to her family. Angel, the street musician / Drag queen who suffers from Aids. Angel finds Collins, her love interest, beaten on Christmas Day. Mimi who is addicted to heroin is also a stripper. Roger is a struggling Rockstar who is HIV+ and finds love in Mimi. And last but not least, Mark. A filmmaker who decides to film his friend’s ups and downs. Rent will tug at the heartstrings, and at times make you laugh and become angry. There is a reason that the Broadway show is still one of the best. But two more movies beat it out for the top spot.
I think if you were to Google the term Cult Classic, one movie is going to pop up in that search. Only one movie will illicit fan participation, throwing of rice, and being show with water guns. Plus, you get to yell “asshole” at a half-naked Barry Bostwick. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been around since 1975. The movie is about a young couple traveling to meet the Professor who introduced the two of them in his science exam it. But Damn It, Janet. They break down in front of this weird castle which happens to house aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. But as the two are stripped down, while others are doing a dance ritual called the “Time Warp”, we meet Dr. Frank N. Furter. And this transvestite built him a man, a strong man. The kind of man who will cuddle you tightly at night. Dr. Scott arrives and we are treated to maybe one of the best scenes in movie history with all of them saying each other’s name. The movie did not do well in it’s initial run, but once it became part of the midnight movies, the film took on a brand-new life. Now, across the country movie theaters will show Rocky Horror to hordes of people in costumes and enjoying a fun night. Now, the music, just as iconic as the movie itself. From “The Time Warp” to “Damn It, Janet” audiences are treated to music that will be stuck in your head for days. The only thing left at the end of the film is not wanting anymore meatloaf.
The top spot goes to the musical that made it fun to be part of a gang, is that the word? Is gang actually the word? That can’t be right. Actually, Grease is the word. I am not sure in our lifetime, or anyone else’s that a musical will come along that is loved by so many and rightfully so. The cast is utterly perfect; the music will leave you with chills that multiply and cause a person to lose control. Each scene in the movie Grease, music or no music is cinematic gold. The story follows the T-Birds and their leader Danny Zuko. The female equivalent to this is the Pink Ladies with leader Rizzo. But once a new girl starts a Rydell High, things become a little shaky for Danny. Sandy is your traditional girl next door, and once it is found out that she and Danny did a little something down by the dock, the dynamic changed. All puns aside, Danny and Sandy fall back in love and go together like Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. And fly off into the sunset. But besides that one story, we get Frenchie with her decision to drop out of Rydell and go to beauty school. Kenickie the race against crater face. Rizzo possibly being pregnant and hating on Sandra Dee. Plus, the music, I am pretty sure a lot of people across the country know the words to almost every song in this movie. And after all these years, Grease is still the word, and I am not sure I would have it any other way.