The first thing you need to know before we proceed is that I am unapologetically and unashamedly gay for musicals. I love them. I love the pageantry, the dancing, and most of all, I am a sucker for the music. I have always secretly said to myself “Every message is better when delivered through song.”
I can prove it. Let’s put my theory to a test:
Boss: “You’re fired. Clean out your desk and get out of here.”
Now, that same message through song (to the tune of “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story)
Boss: “You are fired! Oh so fired,
You are fired, I hired a dud!
And I’m tired, of you dragging our brand through the mud.”
Doctor: “I’m sorry to inform you that your wife has cancer. She has 3-6 months to live.”
Now, that same message through song (to the tune “Little People” from Les Miserables)
Doctor: “It looks like she has cancer but it isn’t that bad,
You’ve still got six months with her so you shouldn’t be sad.
So just be glad the cancer isn’t contagious too.
Cause cancer would be much worse if it happened to you.”
Daughter: “Dad, I’m pregnant. There is no way of knowing who the father is. Since I’m only 15, will you raise the child?”
Now, that same message through song (to the tune of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King)
Daughter: “AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII am knocked up, and I dooooon’t know the dad!
(Ooooooh who is that son?)
AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII am knocked up, and I thiiiiiiiiiink I’m too young!
(Ooooooh won’t this be fun?)
You’re the father even though you’re grandpa…
You’re the father even though you’re grandpa…
You’re the father even though you’re grandpa…”
See? I think I’m right. So it is totally manly and awesome how much I love musicals. And show me a better musical than Les Miserables. You can’t! I dare you to try.
I have been listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack since my parents stole the original London recording from my grandma’s house when I was nine. I literally have every line of every part memorized. If I had any shred of a singing voice, I could be the understudy for every member of the cast, male or female, young or old.
It is safe to say I had pretty lofty expectations going into the movie version of the musical. So let’s just get this part out of the way and I’ll tell you that I loved it. I walked out of the theater crying like the leading lady in a Mexican Soap Opera.
The thing with Les Miz (as we theater fags call it), there are no “filler songs.” There’s nowhere to hide and sort of collect yourself between big numbers. Every single song is a mother effin Blockbuster.
The cast is good. Wolverine does an excellent job as Jean Valjean. For the first time ever, I believed the scene where Valjean lifts the cart off of the dude and everyone makes a big deal about how strong he is. On stage, the lead role of Valjean is typically played by some wafer-thin theater sprite, sashaying around the stage like he just won first prize in the Vienna Boys tap dancing contest.
But Hugh Jackman is a brute, and when he bulges his eyes out and lifts up that cart…man, you believe it.
Russell Crowe is a good Javert. His sings like a post puberty teenage boy trying to get a good grade in his choir class, but it is not so bad that it is distracting. The bonus is that Russell Crowe was meant to play that part. There is a scene where he rides up to an inn on his horse and barks, “Where is the girl, Cossette?” in his classic Russell Crowe growl. He was so intimidating that I actually shouted at the screen and told him which way she went. I was promptly shushed.
Sacho Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are excellent as the Thenardiers. I was expecting Borat to overdo it and be a little too over the top…but pleasantly surprised at the subtle humor they mixed into their parts while not attempting to steal each scene. The real scene stealer in the movie is the kid who plays Gavroche. Amazing job. Loved him.
And finally, the talk of the town is my old nemesis Anne Hathaway. She already tried once this year to ruin a movie for me as Catwoman, so I gritted my teeth, ready for her to pull a double header on me in 2012.
She blew it away. Yes, she overacts. Yes, did all the right things to get her Oscar (which she will no doubt win). She went ugly. She shaved her head. She cried and sued a lot of snot close-ups. She wailed. She went from beautiful Anne Hathaway to toothless street walker in about ten minutes. And when she sings “I Dreamed a Dream”…nigga, you feel it.
I’m sorry I had to end with the nigga, but it really is the only way I could express how amazing that scene was for me. If it makes you feel any better, I said it like a rapper would. And remember, the truth that once was spoken: Every message is better when delivered through song. Good job, Anne.
Go see Les Miserables. Meanwhile, Part 2 of “Doug Goes to the Movies” will be coming in the next couple of days, as I recently saw Quentin Tarantino’s newest movie, Django Unchained.