July 15, 2003

All the Elements

Last night, Cinecultist met her two musical mad friends at the Film Forum for a Freed double feature. J had promised some tempting things to lure CC to the cinema -- technicolor, MGM, Vincente Minnelli directs, Fred Astaire dances. It all sounds like Yolanda and the Thief could be a light, magical feature and a nostalgic evening at the theater. Instead, it was seriously painful.

When we thought about it later, really it was a case of extenuating circumstances outside of the movie's or my friends' responsibility. Smashed next to an anonymous armrest hogger on one side, forced to turn self into a human pretzel to try to find a little space, rolling the eyes at the three obnoxious girls in front of us who kept giggling and cheering at random parts ("the Babysitters' Club," JH called them), CC could not help but be a bit perturbed. Then the plot of this movie -- wherein crook Astaire travels to imaginary Latin American country and wooes a naive heiress by pretending to be an angel -- just got odder and odder. And the music sort of sucked. If a musical has no real plot but a bunch of hummable tunes, and a few choice dance numbers, CC can forgive. This thing had an extended dream ballet that wanted to be Dali surrealism meets An American in Paris inventive but instead was hackney and lame. Ooh, the heiress wears garlands that look like gold coins, we get it, 'cause she's rich. Even Freud couldn't have interpreted this one. We took off after the first movie, unable to stand it any longer.

Enough snark for one day, but don't let this review dissuade you from attending some of the other Classics of the MGM titles, or even musicals in general. Like any genre, there's a few stinkers in with the gems. Singin' in the Rain (a personal favorite) plays this weekend, Gigi runs on Sunday and we're set to try again with the musical friends at a screening of Meet Me in St. Louis next week on Thursday. That one has Judy Garland in it, guaranteed to be a winner.

Posted by karen at July 15, 2003 9:52 PM