Friday, November 6, 2009

The Bandwagon is perfection!

So for those of you that know me, you know that I'm a lover of movies. All types. So I thought that I would start critiquing some movies (a la Roger Ebert...kind of) They won't necessarily be brand new movies, just some of my favorites, from my personal collection that I pull of the shelf and dust off from time to time, or ones that I haven't seen before that come in the mail via Netflix. Well, here goes nothing...!

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for musicals...that's right...musicals, especially those made by Fred Astaire. When I was six years old (again, for those who don't know me, this will be an FYI. For those that do, this will be redundant) I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My parents and I (and our large following that is both sides of my extended family) traveled to San Francisco for the initial surgery. When I was recovering from surgery, I would watch movies. While most kids were into the action or sci-fi genres (some great films are in each of these genres) I was watching a classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers All of the nurses would come into my room after their shifts and watch them with me, amazed that a six year old had such refined taste. Almost 20 years later, that has not changed.

The Bandwagon is the best post Astaire-Rodgers film ever made, in my humble opinion (kind of the point of this whole endeavor). Suffice it to say, I will never tire of this movie. I had to search high and low to find a copy, but I finally found it on Amazon. The movie comes in a two disc set. The first is the re-mastered film, along with an optional commentary by the film's director, Vincent Minnelli's daughter, Liza (yes...that Liza). The second disc has a making of the movie featurette with interviews from the surviving cast of the 1953 film (there's actually only one surviving actor of the primary cast to date.)

When I was younger, it was the music and the dancing that fascinated me about these films. Now that I'm older, that's certainly still dazzling, but even more dazzling is the story (yes, believe it or not, most musicals actually have a story behind them, albeit sometimes, not a very good one.) This film is certainly no exception. Equally amazing is how closely the story of the film parallels the story of it's star.

In the film, Astaire plays a song and dance actor who is essentially retired and forgotten (a fact that is stated fairly regularly throughout the movie). Everything about this film makes me feel great. I got home last night, and I wanted to watch a movie. It was a toss up between Singin' in the Rain (another equally excellent musical film) or this one. There's some movies that entertain you, certainly, but they're forgettable. Then there are FILMS (some of which can be forgettable as well) This is an UN-forgettable film. Not only for the music and the story, but the warm fuzzy feeling it gives you after watching it, like the feeling you get when you're wrapped up in your nice thick comforter on a cold day. As the headlining song says "That's Entertainment!" This film certainly is that, and more. Enjoy!!

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