'Fame' And The Future Of The Movie Musical

I’m not a fan of musicals. In theory. When I start thinking about filmed stories that ask me to be emotionally invested in people who inexplicably burst into song, my brain gets cranky like a baby who hasn’t had its nap. Why are they bursting into song? Why are all these songs so obnoxious? Are these people talking to themselves? If so, why do other people know the melody they were singing during the reprise later? Then my brain starts angrily waving its arms until it gets its bottle, which, as I overextend this metaphor past the point of comprehension, is a genre movie of some kind.

In practice, I always end up enjoying musicals, especially movies. I loved “Moulin Rouge” for its bombast and excess. It’s hard not to enjoy at least a few Disney classics, like “Aladdin.” Musicals in contemporary settings tend to lose me though. “Fame” would seem to fall into the category of too-modern musicals for me, but it does interest me. How many remakes of film musicals are there? And say it’s successful. Know what that will mean? More film musicals and more remakes. This could be good and bad. Here are some wishes for the future of screen musicals.

Two Musicals That Should Be Remade


On the subject of Disney musicals, I think it’s high time we get ourselves some live action adaptations of these. CG effects have gotten affordable and sophisticated enough to properly render a giant Genie and a decent Argrabah. Plus, the cast is almost entirely human, so we wouldn’t have an astronomical number of obnoxious, computerized talking animals. We would only have a parrot with the voice of Gilbert Gottfried. What’s not to like?

“Phantom of the Opera”

For the record, I detest Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Phantom of the Opera”. Maybe it was the frequency with which I was forced to listen to the soundtrack by my father and stepmother growing up. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s long and boring. Regardless, eff that musical. This is why I think there should be a brand new “Phantom of the Opera” musical movie, that is written and directed by Sam Raimi as a horror comedy. That’s right. Chew on how righteous that would be.

Two Musicals That Never Need to Be Remade

“Singin’ in the Rain”

As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much the only movie musical that ever needed to exist. It’s fun, Gene Kelly ruled, Debbie Reynolds ruled twice as much and it works as both raw entertainment and a metatextual commentary on musicals and movies, how the two arts inexorably warped one another. Remaking this movie would be like re-painting “The Sistine Chapel”.

“Mary Poppins”

If the universe could only have one musical, “Singin’ in the Rain” takes that spot. If there can only be two, “Mary Poppins” is the only other choice. This is another movie that represents a fundamental shift in how people entertain themselves, a bridge between the ways of old (song and dance) and the almost impossibly new. Here is a woman who can fly and dance with impossible creatures. It is also one of the most joyful works of art made in the last hundred years. It would be impossible to add anything to this film.

One Idea For a Brand New Musical Movie

“Evil Dead”

Speaking of Sam Raimi! For anyone out there who may have missed one of the scant few productions over the past six years, there is indeed an “Evil Dead” musical. An awesome musical that captured the righteous good times of its film inspiration while leaving its audience covered in blood. With movie making becoming increasingly about the theatrical experience, its time for studios to start thinking about more ways to thrill than 3-D glasses. Imagine it: a ride that’s both movie, musical, and haunted house all at the same time. Hell yeah.