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RSS icon Comments on Dreamgirls: No Big Whoop

1

You're wrong about the music. It's easy to be jaded 25 years later, and especially easy given the overexposure to the Dreamgirls juggernaut of late. But the Kreiger/Eyen score -- even in its truncated film version -- collects clever pastiches of various Motown styles (Smokey Robinson, Supremes, Aretha, Jackson 5, BB King, etc.) and connects them with a series of musical motifs. It's a massive accomplishment, and the genius of the score continues to unfold on repeated listenings.

That said: Beyonce's new song doesn't feel like it fits in with the rest of the score, and the film's orchestrations are inferior to those on the original cast recording.

I know Dan is a big show queen, so borrow the OCR from him and see if that doesn't change your mind a little bit. (Or better yet, the full-score concert version with Audra McDonald, Lillias White and Heather Headley.)

Posted by GrammarCop | December 26, 2006 10:39 AM
2

It might be good "showtune" music, but girl groups made some of the most exciting rock n roll ever, and there's not a hint of that in Dreamgirls.

Posted by David Schmader | December 26, 2006 11:10 AM
3

No one in the industry seems to remember what pre-70's soul/pop was like, no matter how ubiquitous the hits still are to this day. You can't put a bunch of girls in wigs and 60's dresses and let them run through vocal scales for 3 minutes in every song. Total garbage. It'd be nice to see someone get it right for once, sounds like this film isn't the it.

Posted by Dougsf | December 26, 2006 1:03 PM
4

when do we get the Savage's take on this, as resident Stranger showtune queen? he did one for 'Chicago'...

Posted by michael strangeways | December 26, 2006 1:53 PM
5

I'd love to read Nipper's review on this as well.

Posted by Dougsf | December 26, 2006 2:29 PM
6

I don't know how Savage will like it, but it will make Nipper want to die and/or kill.

Posted by David Schmader | December 26, 2006 2:44 PM
7

I was at the Ziegfeld in NY--it's been playing there for like the past week or so--and while I think the movie's great, the hands-down best part of going has been the audience. Older folks reminiscing sweetly about Michael Bennet, and the original stage production; it's really wonderful to hear.

If you want true girl group-ness, this ain't the movie for you, but the stage show never promised, or provided, that either.

Posted by Boomer | December 26, 2006 3:26 PM
8

Agreed somewhat on the music. Otherwise, as another gay man, I must express my disappointment in you, David. I should drive down to The Stranger offices and ask the interns to dose up your staff coffee pot with some phenethylamine and Prozac. That movie was more entertaining than a rabbit licking honey off a jackass and you all are just a syndicate of haters.

See'usly.

-Trevor

Posted by Trevor | December 28, 2006 7:34 AM
9

At least a typical student of The Stranger movie reviews understands: if most people like a movie, The Stranger hates it. Or as some call it - Contrarian Bitchery. "Dreamgirls" was #2 on Rolling Stones list of best 2006 movies in the event anyone is looking for some counter-intelligence in the movie-reviewing whirled. Saw it again last night in a packed movie theatre in a Dayton, Ohio suburb and the audience cheered.

Posted by HOW STRANGERLY PREDICTABLE | December 28, 2006 2:02 PM
10

Oh, I'm not saying it's not entertaining as shit--I'm gonna to go see it again tomorrow--but it's still not a very good movie.

Posted by David Schmader | December 28, 2006 8:03 PM
11

And the music sucks.

Posted by David Schmader | December 28, 2006 8:03 PM
12

To my surprise, I really enjoyed "Dreamgirls." I know very little about the original production, but Bill Condon--"Gods & Monsters," "Kinsey"--hasn't let me down yet. I thought he did a great job. Yeah, Murphy & Hudson are more interesting than Foxx & Knowles, but it didn't bug me the way I thought it would. Found myself humming "What's Goin' On" as I was leaving the theater. I'm not sure why; I guess one of Murphy's songs references it since he morphs into a Marvin Gaye-type character in the third act, what with the striped cap, denim shirt, et al. And damn, if he doesn't get his funk on in the pants-dropping sequence! Maybe he'll get to play the Godfather in Spike Lee's new JB pic.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | December 29, 2006 12:02 AM
13

Hey now, I'm not just some jerk who hates everything for the sake of hating. But I genuinely don't think that Dreamgirls is a good movie. I can see it working as musical theater (except--agreed--for the crappy super-snooze music), but as a film it rings mighty hollow. And if the world is going to cream their jeans over it, and hold it up as an Oscar contender, then I can apply that standard of quality to it too. And it fails. Because it's silly.

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