Let’s start with musicals because I’ve been talking musicals all week with one of our readers.
1. Jesus Christ Superstar (1973): Ironically, I didn’t like this one the first time I saw it. But something about it compelled me to watch it again and I was hooked. This film features a fantastic 70’s rock soundtrack, some true subtlety of message, and the most kick ass tasseled jumpsuit EVER! Moreover, the track “Could We Start Again Please” is one of those rare songs were you can honestly feel the emotion behind the song.
2. Grease: (1978) Grease is the word baby. This is an awesome musical that combines 1950s style music with a hint of the 1970s (two strong musical eras). The songs work both as straight forward “wholesome” songs for kids and Mormons, and yet have a well-hidden, extremely dirty undercurrent for everyone else. The story is very relatable to anyone who has dated, and it’s just all around strong.
3. Cabaret (1972): The film surrounding the music in this one is interesting. It provides an interesting look into swinging Berlin in the 1930s just as the Nazis are starting their rise up, and one of the pro-Nazi songs (“Tomorrow Belongs To Me”) gives an incredible mix of beauty, strength and creepy. Beyond that, the songs seem to walk through the various sexual perversions, but they are very funny and entertaining and I would love to have seen this club in real life. Plus, there are some shots of German beer here that just make my mouth water.
4. Xanadu (1980): Ok, shoot me. This one tanked in theaters, but I really enjoyed the whole idea as a kid and I thought the music was super strong. Over the years, my appreciation of the film has only grown. ELO’s work in particular is amazing – some of their best. Gene Kelly can still dance like a mad man, and I love the mix of old and modern in the scene where they present the clashing visions of the club. Interestingly, I read recently that this film has had a recent revival among gays. Huh.
5. Sound of Music (1965): Great songs, great story and Julie Andrews is adorable. What more can you want? I watch this one every year.
6. The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (1982): Texas has a whorehouse in it, God have mercy on our souls. Man, watching Charles Durning dance a little sidestep still makes me smile. And Burt and Dolly were just so right for each other.
7. South Park (1999): Yeah, strange. It took me a while to realize not only that this was a musical, but it just happens to be one of the strongest musicals in years. “Blame Canada” in particular is a truly classic musical song. And of course, who doesn’t bust a gut at the “Uncle F***er” Song.
8. Moulin Rouge! (2001): This one cheats and that bothers me, but still I enjoy the constant medleys of hit lyrics. The couple original songs are good too and the versions of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” and The Police’s “Roxanne” are awesome.