Media Update 6/9/2016


Legally Blonde: The Musical

It has been a while since I watched Legally Blonde or its sequel. They’re both great movies and I consider them to be well-written movies about a main character (and some minor characters) finding their inner strength and exceeding everyone’s expectations. I consider the movie to be one of the first feminist movies that I watched and was conscious of. I think a lot of people consider Legally Blonde to be kind of a girly movie and I can see where they would get that. However, this is way more intelligent than your average chick flick or dick flick for that matter. The main character is Elle Woods who goes to law school for all the wrong reasons but proves to herself that she’s stronger and smarter than anybody thought including herself. She also changes the lives of several people around her who are able to find their voices as well and better their lives. On a side note, in no way am I belittling somebody who chooses to be a fashion major or women who go out for their MRS degree. The musical does an excellent job of adapting the movie and the recording I watched had a very dynamic and talented cast. The show is high energy and the music is incredibly infectious. The musical numbers also play around a lot with conventional musical structure. There are a lot of interesting things done for the sake of comedy or storytelling. For the most part, the musical stays faithful to the movie as an inspirational tale of law students banding together under the command of one plucky young lady. There are a lot of interesting, thrilling moments that work just as well or better in musical form. Check the whole thing out on YouTube while it lasts or catch a stage version.


State Fair

When I was in high school, our drama department always did a certain kind of musical. We didn’t do anything that would need an electric guitar but plenty of piano-driven, cute musicals. We did old time musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes and Once Upon a Mattress. When it comes to that type of musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein are probably the most well-known team. They created musicals like The King and I, Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music. They specialize in some of the catchiest tunes around and lyrics that are pretty easy to remember because they flow well. I had heard of State Fair but I never had a chance to see it before now. As you’d expect the music is really good and very much like many of the musicals of its time. The first thing that struck me is that one of the main characters depicts the specific ennui and restlessness of being young perfectly. The story follows two young siblings who are both having trouble with their love lives back in their small time. Things start to change when they travel with their parents to the state fair and they each meet somebody who represents something completely new. The subplots have to do with the fair activities of livestock and cooking competitions which allow for more comic relief. The story is actually really interesting because I could not tell exactly where things were going and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Long time readers know that I have a soft spot for upbeat classic movies and this was definitely one of them. I definitely recommend this for musical lovers.


Shrek: The Musical

I remember when Shrek came out. At the time, it was an innovative look at fairy tales at the time with a slightly new take on The Tiger’s Bride. It basically added some heart and pop culture references to the classic transformation tale but the performances and heart pulled it off. It would end up being one of the last good movies for both Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. I saw an ad for the musical when I was up in New Jersey and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. When the musical popped up on Netflix recently I had had time to let the idea percolate and I thought why not? So, the modern music like Smash Mouth is obviously replaced with show tunes which actually fits the story better. The visual design and script hit a lot of the same points as the original. I thought it felt more mature for a little bit but instead, I decided that it’s simply less juvenile and yes there’s a difference. Some of the songs are catchy but the lyrics are actually really fun and creative. The main difference from the original is that there seems to be a lot more exposition. We get more of Shrek’s, Fiona’s and Farquad’s backstories and the dragon talks now. In general, characters felt more developed and motivations were clearer. Both are refreshing and add to the story. The new jokes land a little better than some of the ones they replaced. There are also some really innovative special effects that were cool to watch. The actors are unknown to me but it felt like they put their own spin on things and didn’t just copy the movie too much. Check it out if you’re interested.

 

Music of the Week:

Slaughter – Spend My Life
The Jesus And Mary Chain – Head On
Creature – Pop Culture
May May- When I Enter Your Mind… (RIP Muhammad Ali)
Madeon – Pop Culture

Weekly Updates:

– I am loving season 2 of Person of Interest
– I finished watching season 1 of Better Call Saul and it destroyed me
– I got back into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries this week
– So many movies in theaters I want to check out
– So many things on the docket in coming weeks to talk about
– Youtube will definitely make another appearance soon
– Muhammad Ali meant a lot to me. But still we move on.
– Check out I Am Ali on Netflix. It’s great.

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