Thursday, December 27, 2012

Les Miserables- Dying Alone, Thanks

First of all, Merry Belated Christmas to all of you non-Jews!

Just so all you guys know, the rumors are true: My family spent the holiday eating Chinese food and going to the movies. We've been doing this every year, and lately, because the film industry has been so adept at churning out high-quality pictures, it's always been a struggle to choose what to see.

Not this year. I'd literally been counting down the seconds until December 25th ever since it became the assigned release date of Les Miserables. There are no words to describe the levels of anticipation that have been building in my brain for this movie (unless you use the word "psychotic," perhaps). When I was a kid, I saw the Broadway stage production literally 12 times, a few with the original cast. I own the OG soundtrack on iTunes and the 25th Anniversary Special on DVD. I still know all the lyrics to every single song, and in which order they appear in the show. Nothing brings out my inner (and outer) Jazz Hands! more than Les Miz, except maybe Tommy, although that's more a celebration of The Who than anything else.

Christmas Day arrived, and I texted my brother to tell him that my dad and I were going to see the movie (I hadn't yet checked with my dad, BTW; I just assumed that the world revolved around my plans) and inquired as to whether or not he would like to join us. He eloquently responded with "No. Gay."

My dad and I tried three separate showings before we found one that wasn't sold out. It's good to know that the film was so insanely popular because between that and The Walking Dead, I'm going to have enough metaphors for my sex life until 2014.

Dad and I bought our tickets and I almost danced into the theater. God, no wonder I'm single. No one ever hears my people sing, if you get what I'm sayin. And you guys always get what I'm sayin.

I'm here all week! Alone.
As a film in general, it wasn't perfect. I'm not totally biased, and I did have a few issues:

1) Amanda Seyfried. Her acting, like the rest of the cast, was excellent, but she can't really sing. It kind of took me out of the movie.

B) The track they added in to get that Best Original Song Oscar was stupid. It sounded very Disney and didn't fit in with the rest of the music at all.

DEER CHIHUAHUA) Eponine had very well-manicured nails for a poor 19th-century French girl. I guess hair and makeup missed that one.

That being said-

This was one of the best movies I've ever seen. Putting away my inner theatre geek and squealing fangirl, everything about it was phenomenal. Set design, costumes, hair and makeup, everything. I'd heard negative reviews about Russell Crowe, so I was apprehensive about him coming in. Did he have amazing vocal capabilities? No. However, the way he played the role of Javert and handled the musical style really let him nail the character. He should stick to playing dicks; it's what he does best.

I'd also heard some backlash regarding Eddie Redmayne, who plays Marius. Those people are obviously high, because he was fucking fantastic and deserves a career out of this. Hugh Jackman is incredible too, and while he probably won't win the Oscar (Daniel Day-Lewis made a movie this year, so universal law dictates that he must win all the awards), he should at least get a nomination. Every time he did something awesome, which was frequently, I wanted to yell out, "Fuck yeah! Wolverine!" He's a classically trained Broadway actor, and he really shows it here. 

I was very, very satisfied with the casting of Eponine. "On My Own" is arguably the most popular and well-known song in the show, having also become the most annoying because every girl on the planet has sung this at least once in the shower without even knowing where it originated. This role was the most followed on the Internet, with everyone from Lea Michele from Glee to Taylor Swift (ugh, NO) said to be auditioning for the part. Whoever they chose would have a HUGE surge in their career, so I was thrilled when they went with Samantha Barks, a trained stage actor and singer who played the role in the London production and the 25th Anniversary concert. She more than holds her own against A-list film actors.

And then, of course, there's Anne Hathaway. They should have had a guy walk up to her during the film, into the screen, holding an Oscar, and say, "here you go, Miss Hathaway." Everyone else they nominate in that category is pretty much just because they have to write other names in. If you didn't feel at least something when she busted out "I Dreamed a Dream," then you are clinically dead.

Also this dude is in the movie. 

As soon as I got home, I immediately got on Facebook chat with Melbs from A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings to squee about it. I sent her that link and we agreed: "Oh. HELLO." Gina from This is Not Your Blog let me know that she would not have been opposed to the costume department taking some very modern liberties. "What? It was a tough battle and their shirts blew off." Les Miserables: The Michael Bay version.

What makes the direction of Les Miserables especially memorable is that Tom Hooper, a former Oscar winner for The King's Speech, decided to have his actors sing their numbers live on camera. That seems incredibly arduous and challenging, even to the stage actors he cast as leads and cameos. I mean, shit, I don't even like posing for my friends' Instagram.

BTW, as soon as I saw Tom Hooper's name attached, I had a minor brain fart and thought, "Tobe Hooper? Like, Texas Chain Saw Tobe Hooper?" How great would it be if instead of dying from consumption or at the barricades, all the characters in Les Miz got hacked to pieces by Leatherface? I would totally watch that.

Gangnam Style
The entire time we were in the theater you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. No one talked, texted, nothing. You could hear people sniffing and sobbing. Dad got a little choked up. On my own end I counted about seven ugly cries, and I knew exactly what was coming.

Also, I kept poking Dad in the arm while I played Spot the Cameos and told him random facts about the show. ("It's the original Jean Valjean!" "She was Eponine in 1987!") There were a bunch of times where I caught myself singing along, out loud. I'm surprised there weren't more of them, considering my dad informed me later that I was lip-synching all the lyrics throughout the entire film. At the end of the movie a few people clapped but I was the only one who gave it a standing ovation like a loser. 

Party of One
As far as adaptations go, except for a few minor changes that have nothing to do with the outcome of the story, this is probably the most faithful rendition of any medium I've ever seen on film. I was praying that this wouldn't turn out like the Rent movie, which was horrible, but apparently I had nothing to worry about.

I will definitely see this at least two more times. I'm hoping I can find a Rocky Horror-style sing along, with props. I'm going to make my own musket and barricade so I can avoid interaction with all other humans.

FYI, here is a hilarious review of Les Miserables with even more musical stylings. If you didn't feel old before, I guarantee you will after this:

A Les Miserables Review In The Form Of A SmashMouth Song

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I really cannot wait to see this film. I stupidly promised my friend we could go together when her exams finish, but that means I have to wait two whole weeks.

Eponine also has very well plucked eyebrows for a girl who probably didn't own tweezers. Damn it, I'm totally going to be looking for stuff like that the whole way through the movie now.