Monday, January 18, 2016

Lovin' Those Musicals! - The Music Man (2003)


I honestly thought that nothing could ever make me like The Music Man. I'm sure you know the musical I mean. Fast-talking conman rolls into small town, gets townsfolk to give up money they don't have for a Boys Band that he can't form because he doesn't even know how to read music, all while he attempts to romance the town's staid and tight-laced librarian. I did try about 12 years ago, I really did since so many people I knew loved the version from 1962 and I really had no interest to seek out another version to take its place. That 1962 version just . . . didn't work for me. The actors, the setting, the whole shebang really. And I really, really did not like Harold Hill. And I couldn't believe that Marian would fall for such an obvious player and con artist.

Then they made a version of The Music Man for tv back in 2003.

And Heidi from Along the Brandywine just mentioned it to me during her Cinderella blogathon a few weeks ago that was so much fun!

And I rented it from Amazon, fell head over heels in love, and my own personal copy is now on its way to me.

Life's a funny thing.

Thanks, Heidi!


One thing I've discovered is that musicals really don't like to be challenged by newer versions. But I've always been prone to liking musical remakes since they generally breathe a bit of new life into the story. Like my loving the 1962 version of State Fair with Bobby Darin, Pamela Tiffin, Pat Boone, and Ann-Margret over the 1945 version with, well, I'm not sure who's in that version. Or Hugh Jackman's version of Oklahoma! over the one from 1955 that I simply couldn't stand. Oh, except for the new Annie. You can't remake perfection. So, yes, overall I have a penchant for musical remakes. You simply replace the original cast of The Music Man with Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, and Victor Garber and I'm instantly in love! Which kind of makes me 1 of exactly 26 people in the entire world who loves the 2003 version over the 1962. Which is kind of sad, but I guess to be expected.


Why do I love the 2003 version? Two words . . . MATTHEW BRODERICK. Yes, I love Kristin too, but from the very first time I saw Broderick as Cinderella's prince over 20 years ago, I loved him. From what I understand about people's reticence to like this version, he downplays the role of Harold Hill. Okay, so, I kind of like con artists. I couldn't enjoy the tv shows Leverage or The Mentalist if I didn't, but they play it more subtle, and let's be honest, Patrick Jane in The Mentalist got out of the business and the characters in Leverage are out to take down the bad guys. So I like con artists to a point, if I have a reason to like them, which the original cast of The Music Man never gave me. He was obnoxious and loud and I never got the feeling that he cared about anyone. People say that the original was "masculine." Well, if that's masculine than please give me a softy any day because at least then I can see why Marian might choose him. At least Broderick plays Hill with some sympathy, like he's trying to make a difference and give people a little hope and enthusiasm, even while he's planning to rip them off. It's a weird, complicated characterization to watch but Broderick pulls it off without a hitch and a lot of people's lives are improved for having known him. I could buy him turning good in the end because I saw the good in him too. Plus, I'm a Broderick fan, in case you missed that fact. He makes everything better.



Then, of course, there's the awesomeness that is Edwardian costuming. Gorgeous scenery, of course, but equally delicious clothing design that made me just want to swoop through the screen and into River City, Iowa! Edwardian garb is some of my favorite historic clothing of all time. Every single one of Marian's dresses are stunning! Of course, Kristin is the tiniest little thing ever, with the perfect hourglass figure, so the clothing really suited her. It felt, oh, I guess you'd say authentic, and just plain fun.

To be perfectly fair, I've always enjoyed the actual musical numbers from The Music Man. It never mattered if I didn't like the musical because I could enjoy the songs without watching the film. They're fun songs, especially Marian the Librarian, but also Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little, My White Knight, and Ya Got Trouble. And oh my gosh, Kristin's voice is INCREDIBLE! You've never heard anything like it! I always knew she was talented since I've heard her sing before, but never on this level. She just absolutely stunned me. Broderick's voice is mild in comparison, but he doesn't have to hit any high notes, instead he's a con artist selling what the people don't need so his songs are mostly spoken lyrics in an interesting syncopation.


Oh, and did I mention Victor Garber? His death in Titanic is the one and only reason that I cry because I will always grieve the injustice of him going down with that stupid, sinking ship! Thomas Andrews should NOT have died! Ahem, anyway, Garber plays the semi-idiotic mayor of River City who can't get his idioms straight to save his life, but at least knows there's a reason not to trust Harold Hill which puts him a step ahead of everyone else. Except that he's a bit of a jerk about it and really cloyingly possessive of his children and his wife. Still, it was fun seeing him since I didn't know he was in it until he walked across the screen.


But in the end, true love wins out, right choices are made, and my heart melted for Harold (or Greg since that's his real name) and Marian. Broderick has always downplayed his acting style a bit, but I love that about him, especially since Kristin is all energy and fervor. The two completely different styles of acting really merged beautifully with these two characters, and I LOVE them.

Since my DVD isn't here yet and I was taking screen caps off my Amazon rental, I couldn't get the kissing scene on the bridge that's so beautiful to screen cap for me properly. Streaming is never a fun thing on my laptop although it's flawless on my Kindle (thank goodness!). So no kissing photos to share, but the one above is almost just as good.

Really, I am so ecstatic to have found a version of The Music Man that I can love. And I think all of the critics have been unjustifiably harsh. I wish I felt any compulsion whatsoever to rewatch the 1962 version, but I don't. Why mess with the perfection that I've found with Broderick and Chenoweth?! Now I'm fighting the dreadful urge to track down some of Broderick's other movies. Can anyone say FERRIS BUELLER?!


And guess what I just found?! Enjoy this brief video of Marian singing "Til There was You," such a beautiful rendition and sooooooo romantic! ❤

14 comments:

  1. YOU LOVE IT, TOO!!!! YAYSIE YAYSIE YAYSIE!!! Ooooh, I'm soo tickled! :D

    Oh dear me, I just Did Not Like the 1962 version either -- and that was before I even knew there was such perfection in existence as the '03. And now this one is probably my favorite musical ever. It's amazing. :)

    THE DRESSES!!! (I sooo want Zaneeta's dresses... and most all of Marian's... :))

    Kristin's singing is just blow-you-away incredible. I think my favorite of hers is 'White Knight', but then I LOOOVE when they're both singing 'Till There Was You', too. *melts*

    It's all just so perfectly fun and beautiful and delightful!!! :)

    (Oh, and there's Marcellus.... and Tommy. And that whole hilarious scene in the hat shop. And Mayor Shinn and Mrs. Shinn dancing...

    P.S. And Marian's face when she first sees him dancing on the pool table. It never fails to crack me up. Such a crazy first glimpse of your future husband! ;D)

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    1. I do, absolutely love it! It's now in my list of top 5 fav musicals!

      There really isn't a single thing that I don't love about this movie. Zaneeta's gowns are stunning too, in a different style than Marian's, younger, but equally as lovely!

      It's just one those truly magical movies that only come along once in a lifetime! It really does have the same feel as Broderick's Cinderella, in all the absolutely best ways!

      I don't get people's complaints about it or the low ratings its gotten. People are just strange!

      I watched it on my own and then showed it to my mom and sister the very next night and they loved it too. That was seriously exciting, but I'm not sure why I was surprised since my Mom really enjoys musicals.

      You know, the more I think about it, the more I just love how Harold pursues Marian. You don't see that much anymore, but he really keeps trying and it's very endearing. Especially since the movie ends well and he's not a cad.

      Have you ever seen Broderick's Ladyhawke? It's a crazy 80s film, but so gorgeous and fantastical. I think I'll write a post about it in the next week or so. I sense a lot of Broderick related posts coming up! ❤

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    2. On Harold pursuing Marian... YES, EXACTLY! :)

      And you know, I've reeeeallly been wanting to review this one, so we'll have to see. Maybe before the 4th of July. ;D

      And no, I haven't! Wildly enough, I'd actually never heard of it till someone else just recommended it to me about a week ago, too, but I had no idea Broderick was in it. Wow -- I'll definitely have to look into it!

      Also, FYI I've just tagged you here: http://ladyofanorien.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-blogging-about-blogs-tag.html

      If you feel like it, of course. :)

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    3. That's funny, 2 recommendations for Ladyhawke in a week's time! How crazy is that. The movie has a lot of 80s music, but it has the most beautiful horse in the world who has got to be a show horse with the way he trots. The movie really has some intriguing lessons on corruption in the church and the workings of true love and Broderick plays a character who serves as part thief, part matchmaker. He's incredibly young which only makes him all the more endearing in the role, and very funny. It's one of my favorite fantasy realism films.

      Thanks for tagging me! I'll get my own posted hopefully this weekend. That was very sweet of you!

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  2. It's been SO long since I watched this one, but I do remember loving it. You've inspired me, Carissa; I clearly need to sit down for a re-watch because music, the fashion and that romance all make for a delightful time. :)

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    1. Yes, you must rewatch it! I'm not sure how I went his long without finding it. I guess that just makes it all that much more of a treasure! ❤

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  3. Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on a minute. You have seen the 1962 version of "State Fair". And you like it!!!!! This is simply wonderful! I don't think I prefer it to the Dana Andrews version, but... Bobby Darin is in it. Bobby Darin is startling adorable in it. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Also, I really like Hugh Jackman's Oklahoma! too. It's got a lot more vim, though I like the old one too.

    All of which means that, obviously, I should see this too. You and Heidi have it firmly on my TBW list!

    I have an unsettling fondness for con men. They're one of my great weaknesses.

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    1. Oh yes, I like it. Everything about the 62 State Fair is pure delight to me, mainly because of BOBBY DARIN. Love him! Oh my gosh, how I love him! I am a Pat Boone fan, too, although he's almost too pretty to look at at that age. Wow.

      I don't know why the original Oklahoma! rubbed me the wrong way. I think I just like stage versions. I saw it on stage years ago at a dinner theater playhouse thing with Charity and LOVED it. So the way they filmed the old movie just didn't work for me. Which also helps explain why I love Jackman's, although he's a big part of that love, but it's done as a stage production so they have all that energy that movies can sometimes lack.

      And yes, you MUST watch Broderick's The Music Man! My DVD copy came today and I've already got it playing in the background. My soundtrack is also on its way, although that's rarer. Oh well, for some things we shell out more than we might otherwise.

      Hmm, you like con men, eh? Have you ever seen The Mentalist? It's quite a lifetime commitment because it's 7 seasons long, but Patrick Jane is AWESOME. And gorgeous, at least to me, he is. The actor's Australian so he has that irrefutable charm that they've been endowed with. ❤

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    2. Okay... have we discussed this before? Am I still having selective amnesia from my cold? (Seriously, that cold has been messing with my brain all week.) Have you seen any of Bobby Darin's other movies? I kind of feel like I did vaguely know you liked him, but I didn't know/remember you LOVED him. Because I LOVE him -- like, owns-more-than-30-CDs-of-his-music love. So... we should discuss this, if we haven't already. (And if we have, sorry -- been a long, mucous-filled week.)

      I have not seen The Mentalist, but my mom is a fan... and has somehow managed to not ever tell me that he's a con artist?!?!? The only thing I've seen Patrick Jane in (that I can recall) is L.A. Confidential, but I do know who he is. (WHAT is with Australia? It's like a Gorgeous And Talented Human Beings factory.)

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    3. That's right, we have talked Bobby Darin before! You're not imagining it. I'm so sorry about your cold. I'm fighting off some sort of stomach something or other and it isn't pleasant. Bleh. I hope you start feeling better soon!

      I do think you have me beat in the Darin cd realm. I own 5 physical cds of his and then maybe another 4 albums on my Kindle. Which still isn't nearly enough, but I keep adding more over time. I'm planning to buy a record player within the next month that also has cd, radio, all that other good stuff, and then I want Bobby Darin vinyl. Oh yah!

      Okay, so that's hilarious your mom never mentioned that Patrick is a con artist. He was raised as a "Boy Wonder" in the circus and then when he moved on from that, became a "psychic" with a hit tv show and everything. Until he made the mistake of taunting a serial killer named Red John who then murdered his wife and child in retaliation. After that, Patrick joined a law enforcement group in California called the CBI as a consultant so he could work with the team who had the Red John case. He wasn't all that nice a person before his family was murdered and pretty much reformed afterwards. Despite the tragic origins of his involvement with CBI, he's quirky and funny and waaaaaay too good at reading people, which is what made him such a good "psychic." Oh, and now he admits that he was a con artist and there are no such things as psychics. Sadly, he doesn't believe in the supernatural at all, but that's just a tragic flaw in the character. Other than that, I absolutely love him!

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    4. (BTW, I love your new header! I keep meaning to say that and forgetting. That shot of Brando is especially cute.)

      Are you over the stomach thing yet? At least those tend to be mercifully short, even if they're much worse than a cold while they last.

      I have a turntable! And I love it. I do own a few of Bobby's albums on vinyl, and a bunch of other stuff too. I must admit I still enjoy putting on a record and imagining I'm a teenager in the '60s and Bobby's still alive and recording and I have lots of his movies and music still to look forward to.

      Okay, now I'm going to have to see if I can find a way to watch it. It sounds completely wonderful! Sad backstory for the main character and all! My mom might have some of the seasons, I'll check next time I'm at her house. I also really want to watch Leverage because Timothy Hutton! As a con artist! I even bought the first season at the used book store a while back, but just haven't gotten to it. GRRRRRRR.

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    5. Thanks! I love it too! I knew I wanted something with classic actors so it was a lot of fun to make!

      Yes, my stomach thing is mostly gone. It may have been the product of too rich meat. I think I'm sticking to poultry for awhile. How's your cold? All better?

      That's awesome you own a turntable! I think I'll get a one once I have space to put it. I've been contemplating that. There's a spot in the living room that needs a table or a display case of cubes or something, but I just haven't got either the funds to spend or found something I really like. So I'm being patient for right now. Not easy, let me tell you.

      Maybe within the next couple of months I'll write a blog post for The Mentalist, expounding on it a little bit.

      As for Leverage, it's a terrific show, mostly clean too. I've seen, oh, about 3 or 4 seasons worth and really like it a lot. Elliot's my favorite character, although I also really love Parker. She's so socially awkward! And very intriguing.

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    6. Yes, cold is pretty much gone, though I sneeze now and then.

      Greasy or rich meat messes me up a lot -- has for years, but since having my gall bladder out, now I can't process it very well at all if I eat more than just like 1 strip of bacon at a meal, so I hear you on avoiding richer meat for a while.

      If you get a turntable, I have not had good luck with the Crosby brand. My parents had one that conked out after a couple years, and I got one that only lasted about a year, so we sent it in for a repair, and when they sent it back, it had a whole different problem. I have a TEAC now -- it's a turntable and CD player AND you can record from vinyl to CD with it. It's been working just fine for 3 years.

      You're like the 4th blogging friend who has good things to say about Leverage, so I've decided that when I finish the current stage of novel editing and am ready for a break, I'm going to start it.

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    7. Crosley, not Crosby! ::mutters:: This is what I get for writing blog comments on my phone.

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