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“