Charles, is that you pretending to be David?
Although I did agree about John Travolta.
Caution: Vivisectionists ahead.
Christ - even "War and Peace" has received less deconstructive criticism.
Maybe the "Hairspray" creative arts gang should have renamed the film "Brown vs. Board of Education."
I'll never watch it.
This is nothing like Charles.
Imagine this... great chef creates the most amazing dish. It becomes an instant favorite with foodies. Another chef decides to recreate it with his own spices added here and there. It still tastes great, not exactly like the original but still really good really good. Then McDonalds makes their version to sell to the mass market for $1.99.
So with that said, I think I'll pass on McHairspray.
@3 - well, after seeing the next article, I am forced to agree with you.
But Travolta is still disappointing.
just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to go see every film version of a musical.
Here is a new low; the deconstructive critique of "Hairspray" A FUCKING MUSICAL PEOPLE!!! What is next: "The Existentialist approach to 'Polyester'" Must be a slow week at the Stranger.
@ 7, why shouldn't people deconstruct musicals?
Do you think the musical is such a sub-par art form that it isn't worthy of critique? What about elegant, complex musicals like Sweeney Todd or West Side Story or subversive musicals such as Chorus Line and Rent?
Really? You're writing off an entire beloved art form? Because it has ... music involved?
Musicals are a far, far higher art form than anything involving the word "Existential".
@7 - it's a film, they're critics, what do you expect?
Besides, John Travolta really is that bad in it.
I'm with Schmader—and it's not just about history, it's about comedy. No matter what metric you use, the fall from "our souls are black, though our skin is white" to “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice” is tragic.
I'm not surprised.
Why should I be after Marty McFly taught Chuck Berry how to play rock and roll?
Good work, David!
I have no interest in seeing this travesty, all the more so after reading Schmader's review and this post. I am somewhat intrigued, however, as it is one of the best-reviewed movies on Rotten Tomatoes right now (93%), so plenty of people are lovin' it. Maybe they didn't see the original?
I don't understand this constant frenzy for remakes. There are a hell of a lot of good screenplays out there that never see the light of day, because studio executives are complete maroons. Instead of anything new, fresh, or original, they want Spiders of the Shrekibbean 12: Die Hard at Halloween. Then they wonder why adults don't want to go to the movies.
I see absolutely no reason to remake the original Hairspray, which I think is perfectly fabulous just as it is. And with the other wonderful casting choices they made, why, oh WHY, John Travolta? He literally looks like he has one chromosome too many in the stills I've seen. Divine at least looked like a functional human being, not a horrible caricature. Plus I've always thought his dancing was overrated, his singing was barely adequate, and his acting...well, the less said about that, the better.
The dancing looks fun. But the dance scenes in the original were already fun! Why embellish it?
Then again, I disapprove of putting frosting on brownies or cinnamon rolls, too.
I loved Waters' version, and I liked this one too.
I'm not into most musicals (that's my partner's arena) but I laughed for a couple of hours.
Was it Oscar quality? No. I accept some of the critique. As per usual however I'm more annoyed by the critics analysis than by the movie itself.
Sorry Schmader, I did get swept up in its mindless fun and had a couple of hours away from the more pressing things in the world. I think this over analysis forgets about that sometimes.
@16: that sums it up for me also. I liked and enjoyed both the original and the new one. Michelle Pfiffer (sp?) and Queen Latifah were both really entertaining. Travolta was an odd choice, but I didn't mind him since he seemed to have really had fun with the role.
It just suddenly hit me why Travolta sucks in this role?
Neither Devine or Harvey tried to disguise their voices. Neither tried to use an accent, they were just large husky broads. They were basically just being themselves... in a dress.
John Travolta is trying to act his way out of this role and we all know acting aint this boy's strong suit.
I still love the original 'Hairspray' and I did like the musical, and yes I agree, the new movie was a fun time, I laughed, those songs were running in my head and I enjoyed the whole cast, even Travolta, I agree with the above who said it was mindless fun and Travolta seemed to have fun with it. That newcomer Nikki Blonsky was really great as well. I wanted more of Alison Janney!
9: Yeah Fnarf, Bergman sucks! Rent and Hairspray are so much better. Oh sorry, I meant fabulous!
Great blog, David. I completely agree with you regarding this remake's (I didn't see the musical) handling of race. It completely missed what Waters' tried to do with the original. It's also unfortunate that there are SLOG readers who don't want to hear this...or any critical racial analysis for that matter. Also, did someone imply that only Charles can talk critically about race? That's insulting...and a bit racist.
I feel the same what about "Oklahoma". They totally ignored the plight of the farmer and the cowman.
Sorry, It's a movie, based on a musical that was based on a movie. I can't get too worked up about it. Although I am looking forward to seeing it on Wednesday night.
Well, the only way you'll know if you like "Hairspray" or not is to see it. Thus far, in a bare cursory reading of "Hairspray" reviews, only The Stranger and The Weekly have torturously arrived at a Caesarean thumbs-down. The NYTimes, The Seattle Times and P-I, Entertainment Weekly and TIME magazine have all had a good time, not to mention Ebert and Roeper. If you insist on not having a good time, I hear Scarecrow has "The Sorrow and the Pity" - now there's a knee-slapper... And it's historically correct.
John Travolta is magic.
In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).