I wanted to say since 2000, but somehow it didn't sound right in the title and if I open it up to "of all time" this'll get dirty. I promise to revisit this list in the future with a more open criteria and not limit it to just a period of less than 12 years.
Anyways, with the release of Rock of Ages
-- a film I'm doing my best to ignore -- I thought instead of spending the weekend staring a Tom Cruise
pretending to be a rock god I could reminisce about the last decade plus of musicals that I actually love.
I love musicals. It started about 2002 and ever since then I've discovered that the brand of whimsy usually offered by a musical just happens to do it for me. I even sat through Rock Star
because I was looking for some nice songs, but let's not talk about that now.
10. Across the Universe (2007) (dir. Julie Taymor)
While the musicals I love the most define themselves through original music I've come to discover that the use of known songs to evoke a story/emotion can be just as good. So which catalog would be better to raid for a musical than The Beatles
? Not only is the music brilliant (obviously), but the way that the writers of the film are able to interweave them into the plot in such a way that no scene really feels like a standalone moment to revel in.
Favourite musical moment? "Happiness is a Warm Gun"
9. Dreamgirls (2006) (dir. Bill Condon)
While I've enjoyed many years of Beyonce
bashing I can't deny her this film. In addition to the emergence of Jennifer Hudson
this movie remains in the back of my mind whenever I consider musicals of the last few years. I may not be one of those championing Eddie Murphy
in this one -- no real reason either way -- I still consider this one of the better musicals.
Fav musical moment? "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going"
8. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) (dir. Joss Whedon)
As a massive Whedon
fan I guess this list couldn't come and go without me mentioning this project. Some may dispute it's validity as a film, but damn y'all for saying that.
It was such a surprise to see this tiny "free" online project going so big and eventually being released on DVD and Blu Ray and doing so well. The strongest element not just being the writing, but also the musical productions. The comedy rings true and it'll forever be remembered in the history of the internet as a platform for creative content I feel.
Fav musical moment? "On The Rise"
7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) (dir. Tim Burton)
I, like many, have shifted over the years with Tim Burton
as a filmmaker. However, before he turned the bend from being worth looking out for to being downright annoying he gave me one of my favourite musicals in Sweeney Todd. Funnily enough I didn't quite fall in love with the movie initially, it wasn't until a few extra viewings that I started to enjoy it a lot more.
Fav music moment? "Pretty Women"
6. Hairspray (2007) (dir. Adam Shankman)
The odd moment where someone will notice that I started the list bashing the film that's being released this week while praising their previous film, which was a musical in the same style except in the 60s. Let's just say I was just as reluctant to see this film as I am to see Rock of Ages
, which is actually the fact that I use to give me hope that by the end of this year I'll see Rock of Ages
, just not in the theatre.
Somehow the whole thing just worked. Even having John Travolta
in drag didn't hurt the film. Everyone in the case just committed to the big whimsy treatment of racism and coming of age story which took me by surprise.
Fav musical moment? "Run and Tell That"
5. Chicago (2002) (dir. Rob Marshall)
When I was referencing to 2002 being a birth of my discovery of my love for musicals this is the film I was talking about. I may agree with a lot of the complaints that it might've not deserved the Best Picture Oscar, but which year do we not make the same complaint? I love the classic style while at the same time interweaving a normal narrative film structure with the 'other' musical style breaking out into song style of filmmaking. I almost want to say this movie brought musicals back into the zeitgeist so that we ended up getting all these other great films.
Fav musical moment? "Mr. Cellophane"
4. The Muppets (2011) (dir. James Bobin)
Last year was, as I called it, the year where cynicism died. Maybe I'm right or wrong, what I do know is that music by Bret McKenzie
written for The Muppets
was so gloriously brilliant that any flaws that the film manages to keep hidden because of how much it makes me smile and laugh uncontrollably.
Fav musical moment? "Am I Muppet or a Man?"
3. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) (dir. John Cameron Mitchell)
This is one of those movies which I love the music a lot more than the movie, and the music is so great that it found a way to exceed all the previously mentioned films in this list based on the criteria of the list. If you love the rock opera style that's been gone for so long then this is a movie for you. The songs are more interested in bringing character development and exposition to the forefront of the film with such great description and composition that I couldn't hate it at all.
Fav musical moment? "The Origin of Love"
2. Moulin Rouge (2001) (dir. Baz Luhrman)
is, I believe, the king of whimsy of the directors now working. So when you hand him a musical set in Paris about a writer and a dancer falling love during the production of a play about a sitar player falling in love with a courtesan -- it's like Inception
all over again, story within story within story within... -- we get so many feelings of meta and the romantic feel never dies.
Fav musical moment? "Roxanne"
1. Once (2007) (dir. John Carney)
I can't tell you the last time I fell in love for a movie as deeply as I have with Once
. I remember being home sick one day from school (I was still in school) and seeing this screener on my shelf. I had no idea what it was, or what to expect. I popped it in, which began a month long challenge to see how many times I could watch it until I got bored. The answer was the number is unreachable. I believe I watched the film at least twenty times that month alone. It is still my go to movie for when I'm not feeling well.
Fav musical moment? "Say It To Me Now"
What're Your Favourite Musicals Since 2000?