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From ‘Hedwig’ to ‘A Chorus Line’ and Beyond

From ‘Hedwig’ to ‘A Chorus Line’ and Beyond

I’m having a great time talking about movies on my weekly
podcast Maltin on Movies with Baron
We’ve spent the last two episodes delving into movie musicals,
inspired by the arrival of Annie and Into the Woods. If you aren’t familiar
with our weekly chats, we use current releases as the springboard to talk about
older films: one we like, one stinker, and one sleeper.

On last week’s show we covered Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell’s 2001 movie,
which is remarkable not only for its originality, but for the fact that its
star also directed the film and adapted his play in such a way that it never
belies its stage origins. What’s more, he composed all the songs, with Stephen
Trask. It’s a far cry from Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I like it a lot. It
even makes inventive use of animation, supplied by Emily Hubley.

A Chorus Line is
one of the all-time great Broadway musicals—and one of the weakest screen
translations. That’s our turkey of the week. (You’re better off watching Every Little Step, the absorbing 2008
documentary about the most recent Broadway revival of the play.)

Our sleeper choice was The
Five Heartbeats
, Robert Townsend’s good-hearted drama about the rise and
fall of a vocal group, with some wonderful musical moments.

This week, in part two, we kick off with the
little-movie-that-made-good  from
Ireland, Once (2006), which won an
Oscar for its stars’ beautiful song “Falling Slowly.” Then it’s on to a film
that’s just as bad as I remember it being the first time I saw it in 1982: Grease 2.

Our sleeper is one that few people have seen, even though it
comes from the guys who created Book of
Trey Parker and Matt Stone were students at the University of
Colorado Boulder when they scraped up enough money to make a low-budget film
called Cannibal! The Musical in 1993.
It was only acquired for distribution after they hit it big with South Park on TV. Parker wrote,
directed, composed the songs, and also stars (under the pseudonym Juan
Schwartz) in this wacky, tacky, wildly offbeat film. If you’re a fan, it’s
certainly worth checking out.

Baron and I enjoy revisiting these films as homework and
hope you like listening to our spontaneous conversations. If you haven’t heard
us yet, I hope you’ll check us out on iTunes or by clicking HERE.

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