Right off the bat, I must say: While I love music in film, I don't like most of the musicals out there. Try as I might, most just inspire me to daydream through the musical numbers. But those that capture me, I adore. I never get tired of the rapid wordplay from Pirates of Penzance. I love most of the music in Moulin Rouge -- especially the inclusions of Lamb's "Gorecki." If it's done right, I'm a fan forever (Evil Dead: The Musical).
Surprisingly enough, there are two films that came out in the last year that I really dug, even though they really didn't hit the mark with fans. They came, they danced, they crooned, and they fell flat. I sat down to watch both of these expecting disappointment, and in one case, I was digging it from the first minute, and the other, I just couldn't stop giggling. In a very brief journey back in time, I give you: Across the Universe and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Across the Universe
This production was plagued from the get-go. Even though Julie Taymor wonderfully adapted Shakespeare with Titus, it seemed as though no one was on the same page when it came to Across the Universe. She fought the studio, and quickly, the film got that "art" stigma that made many wary of it. But in actuality, while not the impressive feat that Titus was, Across the Universe is a sweet, Beatles-filled romance that can very easily be enjoyed in the rush of song bursts and jaw-dropping visuals.
The film is strange, fantasy-filled romance that follows the appropriately named Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) as they meet, fall in love, and travel through romantic struggles against the backdrop of the turbulent, political, and drug-filled 1960s.
Aside from "I've Just Seen a Face," which just bothers me all sped up, Taymor beautifully matched the music to stories, serving the visuals she's known for with the memorable music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. If you've ever spent a moment listening to a song you loved dearly, and imagining the story behind it -- your mind painting visuals and creating the characters who could have lived it, this is really the film to see.
Since this movie is a veritable pu-pu platter of discreet references, just follow the link to learn more.
That bowling scene that is just darned speedy.
Is there anybody going to listen to my story?
I want to hold your hand. ...my favorite of the bunch
It might be a bit much to do the whole movie, but what about a little Sgt... Like, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"? You might recognize the guy on the right. He's been greasy in Grease.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
It started off on a gold path paved by the likes of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, alongside films like Superbad and Knocked Up. But where these Judd Apatow-linked creations all soared above the $100 million mark, John C. Reilly's Dewey Cox faltered at $20.5 million worldwide -- no matter what positive reviews came out, or how much John did his thang.
No, it's not really like the other three, but ol' Dewey Cox deserves a moment to shine. The movie has it's weak points, and falters here and there, but it's a spoof, and one that's monumentally better than most of the films that have littered that genre lately. There's a number of fun and catchy tunes, great performances, and moments filled with laughter, whether it's machete fighting, sexually suggestive lyrics, or one insanely funny interlude with the Beatles.
Could you pick out all the musicians spoofed? Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Queen, Meatloaf, David Crosby, Jim Morrison, Don McLean, Elvis Presley, The Cars, The Ramones, Nelly, Tim McGraw, Brian Wilson, and Stevie Wonder...
Jack White as the lip-curling Elvis.
Jewel talks about Dewey Cox.
And because Walk Hard couldn't exist without him:
Johnny Cash and "Hurt"