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Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: Musicals, Part One!

Dec. 7, 2012by: Paul Huffman
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There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever.

In honor of the upcoming actual musical adaption of Les Miserables, I've decided to dedicate the remainder of this joyous month to paying tribute to the endless amounts of classic musicals we've gotten for decades upon decades. This particular column deserves a two parter for the simple fact that not even two additions would cover all the films that deserve to be on this list. Classic stories with classic voices have been complimenting this genre since its inception and if you don't see the musical closest to your heart on this list, bet your bottom dollar you will see it two weeks from now for Part II. Until that time, enjoy.

1. GREASE

So I think it’s safe to say, that the fond thoughts we all have of this film make us wish the recent reunion video (that you can check out at your own risk here) for Travolta and Olivia Newton-John wasn’t cringe worthy. Their chemistry in the original adaption of the play of the same name is what made Grease the classic that it is today. As a testament to its brilliance, in the year the film was released the soundtrack to the film became the second bestselling album in the states, behind only another gem from Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. The track that stands out for me in this film is “You’re The One That I Want”, that captures the goofy lengths these characters will go through to be together. I remember seeing this particular sequence being paid tribute to in a god awful Ja Rule and Ashanti video. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. THE WIZARD OF OZ

The set of pipes on Judy Garland is magical, the vocal talent she brought to the film and specifically of course for her rendition of “Over The Rainbow” swept us away before she even stepped foot in Oz. The tracks that it’s easy to find yourself singing at random are endless here, the “If I Only Had A…” numbers are particularly moving. Who can forget the Yellowbrick Road jam and Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, the latter of which won itself a spot on AFI’s 100 years 100 songs list. When I had the maturity to appreciate musicals, I appreciated this film to the extent I should have loved it all along. Now excuse me while Judy Garland’s voice brings me to euphoria. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. MARY POPPINS

I recently watched this film not once but a couple of times while it aired on ABC Family and I will admit shamefully that the first outing a couple weeks ago was my first viewing. I’ve certain snippets of certain musical numbers throughout the years, but sitting down and watching the whole film enhanced the experience tenfold. The whole movie is just magical, the blend with live action and animation for the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" scene in particular made me feel like a child again. I’m not going to go overboard on the Julie Andrews praise until the next addition to this column, but here’s where it begins the woman is damn amazing and deserves her legendary standing in the art of the musical. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. SOUND OF MUSIC

Another film I haven’t seen all the way through until recently and once again I am ashamed. The hills were alive with the sound of music indeed. Julie Andrews is another woman with an amazing set of lungs in the same league as the late great aforementioned Judy Garland. Other standout tracks that deserve mention are “A Few of My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi”, the latter my mother always finds herself belting out. So yes, fond memories of this film existed for me before I ever viewed it. I recently heard rumblings of a Sound of Music remake starring Carrie Underwood. Travesty? Yep. Leave this classic alone. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. WESTSIDE STORY

The beautiful re-imagining of Romeo & Juliet in the classic urban setting, I saw this film for the first time last year when I checked it out from my school library and did not regret the time I dedicated to it. Maria and I Feel Pretty were the standouts of this bad boy for me, and right now I am trying to shake the image of Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson singing it together. Not working, so I’ll close this out with saying I loved the time period and the setting of Westside Story and this is one of the films that lets us in on how much of a beautiful thing musical films really are. I’m happy I have certain members of my family that believe it is an underappreciated genre and is always up to viewing films like this with yours truly when I demand it. Purchase the soundtrack here

HONORABLE MENTION: TOP HAT
Extra Tidbit: Any requests for Part II folks?
Source: JoBlo

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2:44AM on 12/07/2012
JoBlo might as well cover some musicals. We all have favorite ones and/or ones that have influenced our lives. You request suggestions for the column's next edition. Well, some musicals are my favorites (incl. The Sound of Music and Grease already covered): My Fair Lady; Camelot; Little Shop of Horrors; Rocky Horror Picture Show; South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. Others are not favorites, but a person recognizes their influence. For example, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hair, The Wiz,
JoBlo might as well cover some musicals. We all have favorite ones and/or ones that have influenced our lives. You request suggestions for the column's next edition. Well, some musicals are my favorites (incl. The Sound of Music and Grease already covered): My Fair Lady; Camelot; Little Shop of Horrors; Rocky Horror Picture Show; South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. Others are not favorites, but a person recognizes their influence. For example, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hair, The Wiz, Chicago, and Annie.
What musicals are important to everyone? Those are, of course, the ones to next review.
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