As there has been some discussion recently in the blogging community about songs from musicals (and yes, it probably was me that started it, and yes, it was me who actively encouraged it) I decided to tackle this issue head-on. Granted it will be more like a head-on car crash but hopefully we can all use jesus as an airbag.
What is a Musical?
This is actually quite complex to answer. A musical is a film or play where they use music or songs instead of talking - that would be the simplistic explanation. However, it becomes more complex depending on how the music appears and why. I don't have a huge issue with musicals if it's Opera, a damn fine art form, or musicals based on musical themes - a fairly legitimate aim. No, I am talking about the attempt to turn some bullshit 'non-film' into a film using music where the music doesn't fit - e.g. I don't know that many street gangs who would dance at each other as in West Side Story - in real life, expect guns, knives and lots of dead people. And while I'm on topic, phrases like "I'm gonna smoke you dude" uttered by big black hard bastards in New York, will not produce the expected reaction if you say it in the red-light part of Amsterdam.
What is a Decent Musical?
One in which the music is part of and intrinsic to the plot. For example, The Blues Brothers (featuring a number of famous artistes parodying public perceptions of themselves), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (one of the finest musicals ever made) with a quite ludicrous plot but a brilliant pastiche on horror movies, science fiction etc. If you've never attempted "The Time Warp" - you haven't lived and songs like "T-t-t-t-touch me, I want to be dirty" - class!
What is a Shite Musical?
Any where the script is shite or the actors are shite or the plot is thinner than a gnat's penis and more often than not, they are all mixed together in a turd-soup. The theory I suppose is that, in a vain attempt to make some money some idiot decides that the cast will sing their dialogue. Yes, you read it right, sing the bloody dialogue. I don't now which moron came up with the concept but trust me, when I knock the bearded one off his throne and I become Goth, that moron is first to be shot, or turned into a pot plant. So, effectively we have a shite script, a shite cast - all thats needed now are some puke inducing songs and hooray, one huge globule of faeces to dump on an unsuspecting world.
I think probably the first musical I saw was Mary Poppins. So let's confirm - Dick Van Dyke (who couldn't do a cockney accent if you shoved Big Ben - the clock, not the porn actor, up his arse), Julie Andrews (who can't do any accent other than 'plum in the mouth' English) - yep, that's the cast then. So some bright spark decided that a nanny who could fly using her umbrella, could jump into grafitti and make it real etc was cool. Man, that dude must have been tripping when he agreed to that. So now we need some shite songs - covered. "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" - yeah right. "Truly Scrumptious" - fuck me, they're making words up now.
The Sound of Music - yep, Andrews at it again being a nanny and talking/singing in a silly voice again. This time, no flying though, now she can escape from the Nazis by dancing across a mountain. Bitch! Steve Mc Queen couldn't escape and he was on a motorbike and a damn sight fucking cooler (when he wasn't in the cooler, for being cool). "I am 16 going on 17" - okily dokily but 16 what - tons? feet? shags? - give us a fucking clue. "Doh, ray, me, fart" - what a crock of shit.
Conclusion Musicals suck. Don't take my word for it though, watch the 'King of Rock and Roll' Elvis (not to me btw) in GI Blues and tell me you believe. Watch Judy Garland say "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" - fucking hell, I've never been to Kansas but I know it's not full of witches with houses on their head, munchkins who sing songs for no reason and a yellow brick road! "We're off to see the wizard...." is just another way of saying "We're off to do a line of coke now".