Thursday, November 29, 2007

Daily Rant: Hairspray

So last night, I watched the new musical version of Hairspray. I'd heard great things from everyone who'd seen it in the theaters, and I loved the John Waters version from the 80's, so I was really looking forward to it (I pushed it to the top of my ridiculously long Netflix queue as soon as it was released on DVD). It was fun. The music is terrific, Nikki Blonsky is fantastic as Tracy Turnblad (so charming and really talented), Christopher Walken is always best when he's singing and dancing, and I even kinda "got" the Zac Effron thing for a millisecond (AND who knew James Marsden was so talented?!?!? Sign that guy up for all future movie musicals!) However, I didn't really get John Travolta (what was that accent about?), thought Michelle Pfeiffer has been better and Amanda Bynes should really stay away from musicals.

But, my biggest problem was the focus on, and jokes about, weight. One of the things I liked most about the Waters version was, while it was no secret Tracy was "pleasantly plump," weight wasn't really a big deal. I remember the hot guy liking Tracy because she was so cool and not liking her despite her size. And Edna was just a crazy mom, not insecure because she'd put on a few pounds (maybe I'm remembering it wrong. It has been a few years. (And yes, I realize this is my second post to discuss societies' perception of weight and those of you who don't know me probably think I'm really heavy, but you know what? I don't care)).

This new version of Hairspray sends the message that it doesn't matter what color/size/class you are, we are better when we come together and embrace our differences, and that's, obviously, a totally awesome message, but I think the truly revolutionary films (and, obviously, Hairspray is not trying to be revolutionary in anyway) will come when the leading lady is curvy and it's not even's just the way things are. It's kinda like my problem with the movie Crash. It tried to be deep by talking about race and "aren't we Los Angelenos so complicated and progressive because we talk about how white ladies clutch their husbands when a black guy walks down the street" and that is, pardon my French, bullshit! The truly radical act is to so ingrain ourselves with diversity that it's part of who we all are and we don't have to make a statement about it to feel better about ourselves.

Wow! I just realized this horse is really high. I'm coming down now...


Garney said...

I just thought it was refreshing to see a movie musical that was just fun to watch. I was smiling and my toes were tapping and I had a good time.

I do agree with you completely on Crash (aka Magnolia for dummies).

Carey said...

This was very well put, and I completely agree.

Liz said...

Magnolia for Dummies. hahaha