Tuesday, January 02, 2007


It has been a tradition in my family to go to a movie on New Years Eve. Although I did not spend New Years with my full family, I did manage to weasel the weekend off and make it to Milwaukee to visit my sister Ann. I haven't seen a movie on the Screen since Prairie Home Companion (Ok, I know it sucked, but my loyalty for the show and for the man and his message brought me to the theatre.)

Honestly, there PHC is the only movie that I've had any desire to see. . . until I heard on NPR about DreamGirls.

I had never heard of the musical, just a few songs like"And I'm Telling You" that I had heard at Music Theatre Recitals and such. I can't say the movie redeemed a year of lackluster movies (which followed one of the best years in quite some time: Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and many indie too!).

I didn't know much about the movie, just that it was doing well. I didn't know that Beyonce was in it nor the american idol, Jennifer Hudson (i didn't even know who she was). If I had known that it was cast full of non-acting celebrities, I wouldn't have been as excited to see it. When someone whispered "That's beyonce" to me, I was shocked. Beyonce's acting was so flawless, that she didn't stick out AT ALL (you know, in a Queen Latifa, Spears sort of way).

The star was surely Jennifer Hudson, who did an amazing job. She has been coached and taught well and is far from a tween start on ameture reality star. Her role as Effie has the "Breakdown Aria," "And I'm Telling You," where she realizes (just after finding out she's pregnant) that her love has dumped her from the "DreamGirls". This is opera drama, my friends, and Hudson gave a chilling rendition of it - you can't help but expect her to pull out a knife and kill herself or at least collapse into a puddle of blood (maybe she does collapse; I can't remember).

Hudson was also the star vocally. The movie is set in the 1960s and the music mirrors the time. Aretha Franklin comes to mind. The real problem with the other cast members was that they couldn't seem to place themselves in that genre. The style requires them to improvise, belt, and scream, and too often it sounded a little too much like something you would hear on the radio today, especially riffs and slides between notes. Hudson, on the other hand, gives a stellar and accurate performance. Kudos to her!

May Dreamgirls win many Emmys!