Thursday, June 30, 2016

Movie Review // The Music Man (2003) with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth

Hello everyone!

Glorious, wonderful, amazing, emotional, rollercoaster ups and downs of engagement and wedding planning notwithstanding, I’m determined to get as close as I possibly can to finishing Miss Laurie’s period drama challenge (up this Saturday!). (Especially as I mostly have everything all in my head, the words are just begging for a few somehow unemployed minutes on my laptop to spill out and form some sort of coherency.)

Which leads us into our actual review here for one of my very favorite musicals. (Incidentally, reviewing it at the moment is actually very fitting as it’s something that’s helped me through a couple tough spots in the last few years and as it’s also tied more than a little into all the wedding planning.) And the story takes place over the course of the three weeks between Flag Day (June 14th) and the 4th of July. So it’s the absolutely perfect time.

Now where to actually start?

First, to get the quick FYI negatives out of the way, the language etc. is all very clean, but there are a couple inappropriate uses of God's name, particularly in the song Iowa Stubborn (so we usually just skip that one). And now for some background. I have indeed seen the 1962 version as well and I won’t spend much time on all that (as this isn’t about all the reasons why I didn’t/don’t like the ’62), but suffice to say, this one fixed every single thing I didn't like in that one and I love it!! Indeed (with a surprise twist at the end), I think they made it five times better. Which is also why the story jumped from the bottom of the scale to become one of my tip top favorites. 

From beginning to end it’s just so happy

As aforementioned, it happens in June 1912, right at the tail end of the Edwardian period, with an absolute wealth of delicious colors and incredible styles. Some of them are a bit stylized, but the costuming altogether -- textures, colors etc. -- is just breathtaking. Not to mention the hats. Those are stunning.

I feel like Kristin Chenoweth’s acting as Marian takes a bit of getting used to, but the story pulls you in and altogether she does a very nice job. I really like how they change her make-up and dresses over the course of the film, too, highlighting how she changes -- warming and softening. And her voice is incredible.

One aspect I particularly love in this version (seeming to make a lot of sense) is that she’s a little older. It’s fascinating to see how the town has ostracized her (and how she’s grown accordingly) and then as Harold Hill publicly values her -- pursuing her in a thoroughly gentlemanly fashion -- she starts becoming valuable in other people’s eyes as well. It’s lovely.

Matthew Broderick does a great job with the singing and an excellent job as Harold Hill. A con artist, he’s yet genuinely concerned for other people, looking out for their best interests and noticing the smallest details; entering into their lives and into their stories -- understanding their secret fears and hopes and dreams.

And, with perfect and utter courtesy, he turns their strait-laced, straight-buttoned, neat-as-a-pin world upside down, bringing life and resurrection to little, stubborn, holier-than-thou River City Iowa. (So yes, there’s some incredibly neat Biblical imagery there about which much could be said -- including the role music plays in all of it.) But, even with all that wonderfulness aside, the story is just pure and delightful fun.

In short, it’s quintessential small town America. In the summertime. And the humor throughout is priceless.

The cinematography is beautiful and -- energetic and dynamic from the very first scene -- with the vibrant tweaks in storytelling it’s an absolutely top notch remake of an old classic!!

Tell me! Have you seen this Music Man and what do you think?

(Reviewed for Miss Laurie’s Period Drama Challenge 2016.)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Period Drama Challenge: April & May Tag Answers

(For Miss Laurie's Period Drama Challenge here.)

1. What period dramas did you view in April & May?

Let's see.... Among a couple more here and there, The Music Man 2003 (hoping to have a review coming soon! :)), parts of The Slipper and the Rose, Little Women 1978 (which I quite loved and can't wait to see again), Pride & Prejudice '95The Magic of Ordinary Days on a 'ladies afternoon' with a friend, and The Thin Man Goes Home.

2. Do you prefer to watch period dramas that have a happy ending or a bittersweet ending?

I prefer the ending to be thoroughly happy, but (thinking about it) I do love it when everything's tied together so well that the ending is tinged with echoes of all the deep places the characters have been. So that can lend itself to a thoughtful bitter sweetness at times.

3. What media forms do you prefer to use when watching period dramas (i.e. purchased DVDs, rented/borrowed DVDs, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu)?

At the moment I really like purchased dvd's, but I prefer viewing something before purchasing so I (generally) watch a given movie/tv series via the library first.

4. Which period drama character's wardrobe would you like to own?

Ohhh... slightly modified in a few areas, of course (i.e. the necklines), but at the moment I'll say Cinderella 2015.

5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in June 2016?

Well I just watched Song of the Thin Man (#6 in the series and also starring Keenan Wynn) twice this month with different combinations of siblings and as I'd really been wanting to see that one I'm feeling pretty satisfied. :)

(FYI, these screencaps have all been colorized differently. The movie itself is b/w.)

And this one's not from the movie, but it's too fun not to put on. ;)

Tell me! Have you seen Song of the Thin Man? Or any of the others I mentioned?

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