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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-02-01 18:59
Subject: Moving pictures, static frames
Security: Public
Tags:books, child, culture, movies, personal
When I was younger, really from around the time I was twelve right into my 30s, I had a real problem accepting musicals as a form of entertainment. I think that at some level I am very literally minded. I just can't accept a bunch of people on the street spontaneously breaking into choreographed musicale.

Now, this is rather weird, given how profoundly embedded I've been in fantasy and science fiction since about 4th grade. I never had any problem accepting hobbits, or lensmen, or what have you. I think the distinction is that I've always been very text-oriented (I literally can't remember not being able to read), whereas I'm virtually blind to the nuances of music, and deeply inept at pretty much any form of dance which doesn't involve St. Vitus.

It has been in raising the_child, and being an active participant in her movie watching -- something her mother and I have always carefully monitored and managed -- that I've come to appreciate the musical as a story-telling form. Many of the movies I yawned through or scorned in my youth have acquired a vast new power for me. Mary Poppins can be seen as a radical deconstruction of Mr. Banks' life, with strong feminist and post-modern tropes rather ahead of their time. The Music Man is downright dirty, in a very funny way. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a rather clever exercise in frame making and breaking, as well as a bizarre fusion of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the James Bond ur-story.

It makes me wonder what else I've missed in my dismissal of literary and artistic forms. We all have our tastes, developed in different ways. What have you come back to later in life that you might have rejected at first?
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
juliabk: Franklin Says
User: juliabk
Date: 2007-02-02 04:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Franklin Says
"Oooooopen up a window!"
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
juliabk
User: juliabk
Date: 2007-02-02 05:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a hard time going for too long without breaking into song. :-) Musicals always seemed terribly sensible to me in that regard.

It was the dancing that required my finely honed SF&F sensibilities. ;-)

OH! Speaking of which...

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Who CARES about the story, I wanna watch the barn raising. :-):-)

Paint Your Wagon if for no other reason than to hear Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin not only sing, but CARRY IT OFF! :-)
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scarlettina: Sing!
User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-02-02 16:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Sing!
Penn-syl-van-i-a! Penn-syl-van-i-a!

oops. sorry about that...
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-02 14:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of my favorites! And I learned so much about history from this (things that I shoulda learned in school).
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User: kblincoln
Date: 2007-02-02 03:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I agree. Everything I learned about Revolutionary History I learned from 1776. (But I've always loved it)

For me it was country western music. I grew up in quite the hippy alterna-suburb of Cleveland. So, like, we were too cool to like country music. Now I've got a good friend who play banjo and can't get enough of the dixie chicks. I've even been known to keep the dial on a country station during long drives...

Maybe it's that unabashed pathos that appeals to me now.
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scarlettina: Theater Geek
User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-02-02 03:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Theater Geek
This makes me wildly curious about what you'd think of "An American in Paris" or "Oklahoma," the first true musical as we define it today.

Funny you should post about this now. I remember realizing a couple of years back based on some conversation lost to the mists of time that there were art forms that you sort of passed right by and being surprised by it. I'm not surprised at all that you dismissed musicals on the first go 'round. While I was raised on them (and really, can sing far more scores than I should admit), I know that for other people they are either an acquired taste or something that, like for you, simply make no sense.

And I second jennawaterford's nomination of 1776. It is all those things. It's also a little long, perhaps, for the_child but this is where that fast-forward control comes in handy. Everyone has their favorite song in that film. Mine's the most unlikely of the whole score, John Cullum's magnificent song (tirade, really), "Molasses to Rum to Slaves," about the Triangle Trade (and there's a subject no one would ever have thought fit to set to music before). The point is, I, too, recommend the movie.

I'll stop now. :;grin::
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2007-02-02 09:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, I thought that was *everyone's* favorite song from 1776, in part *because* who could ever have imagined setting that subject to music!

I gotta watch that movie again. :)
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scarlettina: Oh Good God
User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-02-02 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Oh Good God
I thought that was *everyone's* favorite song from 1776

Really? Yay! As well it should be!
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scarlettina: Ashamed
User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-02-02 03:50 (UTC)
Subject: To answer the question in question
Keyword:Ashamed
What have you come back to later in life that you might have rejected at first?

Comic books. As a kid I didn't read "that stuff." I didn't read books with pictures in them. Who needed pictures? But when I started working at Bantam, one of my coworkers started educating me. I was an adult full-grown when I came to Superman and Batman. That's partly because my coworker started me off with Sandman and Hellraiser. And then I was in a position to appreciate working with people like Denny O'Neill and Julie Schwartz. It was a gift.
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Brenda Cooper
User: bjcooper
Date: 2007-02-02 04:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Sound of Music (Art overcomes oppression, love overcomes evil, bravery overcomes....you name it), Camelot....careful of this one (Love and lust trump lofty ideals. But a damned good story!) Then of course there's Grease, Phantom, Cyrano...
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juliabk
User: juliabk
Date: 2007-02-02 05:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My ex husband introduced me to the laugh fest that is slasher films. When I was younger, all I could see was the blood and wondered 'why on Earth would I want to see that'? Then he opened my eyes to their utter stupidity and now I giggle through them all (with the exception of Halloween which except for the predicable victims is at least genuinely creepy if you squint just right). It was only later that I realized they were morality plays (I can be slow somtimes) in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm. My kid and I watch them on tv and talk about what the director/writer is trying to teach, discuss formulas for movie blood and try to figure out how they do the stunts.
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John Aegard
User: johnaegard
Date: 2007-02-02 06:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
\m/ metal \m/
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dinogrl: douglas take a hike
User: dinogrl
Date: 2007-02-02 06:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:douglas take a hike
Peas.

(Well, you said "tastes".)



Caviat: just for the sake of the discussion, please don't take my answer literally.

Although I did hate peas as a kid.
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Joanne Merriam
User: joannemerriam
Date: 2007-02-02 10:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If you haven't already, you need to read the short novel Connie Willis wrote about musicals, Remake. It's not her best work, but it's still rather touching and thought-provoking.
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User: pauljessup
Date: 2007-02-02 13:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Mary Poppins (the movie) was actually pretty anti-feminist when you think about it- at the end the mother gives up her suffrage movement stuff and stays at home to raise the kids. She even turns her suffragette sash into a kite.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/051219fa_fact1

You're right about it dissecting Bank's emotionally distant personality, though.

The original books (which I grew up on) are much darker. But don't let that cloud your enjoyment of the movie- now that I have a daughter I've been rewatching some old Disney films with her and find that they were not as EVOL as I originally thought. In fact- I found I kind of like them.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-02 14:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're right about Mrs. Banks at the end, but I see that (now) as a choice she makes, not as a forcing-down or a come-uppance.
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User: pauljessup
Date: 2007-02-02 15:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Too true! But still, in a way it is a propaganda of sorts. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Have you seen this yet?
http://www.thedisneyblog.com/tdb/2006/12/mary_poppins_re.html
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-02 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes I have. Heh. That's as funny as that trailer for The Shining as a buddy-dad movie.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-02 14:07 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Third time's the #)%*% charm...
Even though she maintains a somewhat vapid affect, Mrs. Banks is the only person in the Banks household who actually knows what's going on. Look how she manages George around the whole nanny question. She's active in the suffragette movement, makes her own decisions, and is highly competent. By the same token, Mary Poppins, who as far as I can tell is from the wrong side of Under the Hill, is a strong female character as well, with literally magical powers but who largely relies on thinking ahead of the people around her. So while the movie isn't explicitly feminist in the Steinem sense -- as mme_publisher points out, it was released before The Feminine Mystique -- its strong, positive portrayal of women is at odds with the prevailing social stereotype of both the nominal era of the movie and the actual era of the movie's making.

At least, that's how read it.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
scarlettina
User: scarlettina
Date: 2007-02-02 16:40 (UTC)
Subject: Re: The King and I
"The King and I" is also an interesting study in the difference between movies and real history. It and anything related to it is actually banned in Thailand.

As for Brigadoon, yes, it's wonderful. It's also a charming sort-of-transdimensional fantasy.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-02 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Interestingly, I was exactly 12 years old when I *began* my love affair with musicals. Miss Banks (ironical that you used that name in another sense) was my 6th grade teacher and played the OC album of West Side Story.

I was never again quite the same.

(Yes, it may be a gay thing.)
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-02 15:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh -- to answer your original question, I didn't like "my parents' music" (Sinatra, Dorsey, etc.) when I was a kid, and now that genre is among my favorites.

Also, I hated Mexican food when I was a kid, and now I like it very much.
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bodandra
User: bodandra
Date: 2007-02-02 15:34 (UTC)
Subject: Things I hated as a child ...
I did not like to wear anything that was the color blue ... as an adult, I found out that it's because I'm slightly color-blind.
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russ: watchmen
User: goulo
Date: 2007-02-02 18:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:watchmen
Comic books. Then I started hearing about this new comic Watchmen which was supposed to be really good and clever and so forth.

Westerns. Enjoyed them as a kid, then grew out of them, then got back into them, perhaps inspired partly by the Weird West fad in SF, and partly by the music of Ennio Morricone. And the Spaghetti Western nights at Alamo Drafthouse!
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2007-02-02 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If you have (had) problems with characters suddenly bursting into song, how about ballet? Maybe its because I can't dance (much to Cathie's chagrin) but I still cannot get my head round distracting listeners from a good tune with the sound of feet pounding on a sprung stage.
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