Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Good Morning Baltimore.

So I know it’s been a while since I’ve written.  Though I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to write, I’ve just been insanely busy with movies and weddings and work and whatnot.  No, don’t worry, I didn’t get married.  We’re a looooong way from that folks.  Just in attendance for now. 

Anyway, so like I said I sincerely apologize for the lack of email, but craziness.

Alright so I did promise a review of hairspray when I finally saw it and on friday I had time to see it (seeing as I was in Santa Cruz for a wedding and not in Los Angeles working).  The weekend before, when I was in Tahoe for a wedding and not in Los Angeles working, I had the chance to rewatch (for the 8 millionth time) the original John Waters Hairspray with Ricki Lake and Divine.  So it was fresh in my mind when I went to see the new movie musical. 

So I did love the musical.  I thought it was great, but there were some things I had problems with.  We’ll start positive and go to the negative later.

First off, Nicky Blonsky was phenomenal.  I mean, she was totally Tracy Turnblad.  Just the right amount of earnestness and irony in her performance.  Perfectly camp, but not too over-the-top.  And, of course, I’ve got to love a movie where the overweight lead gets the surprisingly sexy guy.  That surprisingly sexy guy was Zac Efron as Link Larkin (the thing I love about John Waters is that all his characters are alliterative…Dawn Davenport, Francine Fishpaw, Penny Pinglton, etc.).  Zac Efron, of High School Musical ( a.k.a. the worst piece of crap every put on t.v.) fame, was surprisingly good.  And a little bit sexy, much to my chagrin (he’s 20, I checked).  Not to mention the rest of the cast, Christopher Walken, Allison Janney (my favorite actress), Amanda Bynes (who I hate to love), Michelle Pfeiffer (who I love to hate), Brittany Snow, and the Queen Latifah.  Man, it’s a great cast.  And they are great in it.  Many people forget that Michelle Pfeiffer was in that gemtastic movie called Grease 2, also a musical.  That’s right, she can sing. 

But I have to say that the one casting choice (and I still stand by this) that was totally misguided was John Travolta.  I’ll go into detail.  Basically, if you haven’t seen it, you all should go out and rent the original Hairspray.  The role of Edna Turnblad was played by a man: Divine.  Divine and John Waters were two souls traveling through life together.  Divine starred in every John Waters film until his death in 1988 of a heart attack brought on by sleep apnea.  Divine was in every John Waters movie, even the really early obscure, totally vile-in-a-good-way ones.  John Travolta, though I have heard (from reliable resources) that he is actually gay, will never, ever embody the man playing a woman awesomeness the way Divine did.  If I had been chosen to cast the movie, I would have picked Nathan Lane.  Hello, the birdcage…he was awesome as a female part.  And the Producers, we know he can sing.  But the thing that pisses me off the most about John Travolta’s casting, is not the fact that he’s not right for the role, but the fact that they put off production for 14 months so that he could be in the movie, they gave him power in casting the movie, and they let him change lines that he wasn’t comfortable with (including the kiss between him and Christopher Walken…which is in the play).  And You know what, I’m just not cool with that. 

Other than John Travolta, however, I just have one complaint.  I feel a little bit like they cut out some of the more important stuff between Tracy and Link and Penny and Seaweed to make way for the bigger stars (Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta).  I mean, we wouldn’t want to impinge on their screen time with a little thing like a story or character development.  Luckily though, the cast is so strong it doesn’t really matter. 

The music is as great as in the play, with just the right amount of camp.  The production value is millions of dollars more than the original.  There are super-saturated colors, great costumes, and of course, lots of slicked back, ratted out hair.  And that’s not even mentioning the story and the message behind the movie.  Basically, Hairspray is a good time to be had by all.  And look out for John Waters’ cameo as the Flasher during the first song and dance number and Ricki Lake’s cameo as an agent at the end of the movie, not to mention the rather big cameo by Jerry Stiller (who played Tracy’s Dad in the 1988 movie).  It’s just a fun movie with a 99% awesome cast. 

So I take back my earliest sentiment that it was better left unmade.  This was great fun.  And sometimes even I’m wrong.

Peace, Love, and to Never Stopping the Beat,



August 8, 2007 - Posted by | Gay/Lesbian, Hollywood, Movie Reviews, Movies, Musicals

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