Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An Actual Conversation About Hairspray

I swear this is an actual conversation I had with a friend about the upcoming Hairspray movie.

FRIEND: I can't wait to see Hairspray.

ME: The movie?

FRIEND: Yeah, it looks good.

ME: Yeah, the original is good.

FRIEND: It is good.

ME: Really good.


ME: So why do you want to see the new one?

FRIEND: Because it looks good.

ME: You didn't like the original?

FRIEND: I did. It was fun.

ME: Yeah, the original is fun.

FRIEND: It is. It's really fun.

ME: But you want to see the remake.


ME: Because the original was so good.

FRIEND: Yeah. I loved Ricky Lake.

ME: You know that Ricky Lake isn't in the remake.


ME: Makes sense.


Neil Sarver said...

Well, I mean, it's a filming of the musical, so it's not completely goofy. Especially since it is a damn fine musical. I saw the original cast just prior to the Broadway run.

That said, while I like the principle, this, like the movie version of The Producers musical, seems a bit uninspired and uninspiring in itself.

Piper said...

Haven't seen the musical but I'm sure it is good since it's based on a great movie. I just think its weird, as with the producers that they make a good original, then they make a musical about it, then they make a movie about the musical.

You're right that it's a bit uninspired.

pacheco said...

Well, the uninspiration of the situation with The Producers was very apparent to me. It felt like it had gone through too many hands and too many renditions that, while all the physical and technical elements were there, the life and spirit was obviously missing.

Jeremy Fuksa: Creative Generalist said...

I can't attest to the life and spirit since I've never seen the musical, but I can say that The Producers was the only musical film that I've really enjoyed.

Piper said...

To me, I just can't get past the mentality of it all.

You have a good first film. Then it's adapted to a musical. Then there's another film about the musical that based on the original film. Oh, I've confused myself again.

Neil Sarver said...

My issue, to the extent I have one, is that the movie versions of the musical... The Producers from my experience and Hairspray from appearances... is that they seem afraid to really embrace their nature as musicals. The Producers seemed to come alive only a couple of times as a work of cinema of its own, and not simply a copy by very talented folks, and that was when it was full out embracing musical numbers and doing them in a very Movie Musical manner. But then I love Movie Musicals and wish a lot more movies would embrace that, instead of handling them kind of half-assed and fearfully avoiding being a musical except for a couple of numbers.

Piper said...


I agree with you to some extent. I don't think the original Hairspray or The Producers were lesser movies because they were not musicals. They may have been re-invented as musicals but I don't know that I would call them superior.

And then there's the other side of this argument where movies should never be musicals. Like Carrie: The Musical.

School Daze is kind of up there. Kind of like a musical but not really. It would have been interesting to see Spike Lee fully embrace that as a musical.

Neil Sarver said...

To clarify, I wasn't refering to the originals. Both Mel Brooks' The Producers and John Waters' Hairspray are dang near perfect little flicks.

In the case of the movie version of The Producers musical, it suffered for much of its duration for being merely a copy of the original, and only came alive and became its own movie and truly delightful when it really engaged as a musical.

But I think this is a larger problem than remakes, although it certainly is more obvious in those cases. I noticed the same thing in Dreamgirls. There's a general fear among those who make musical movies these days that they should try to tread lightly on being musicals and almost always to their detriment, since that's what they are... In the case of both these two movies, I think the moments they fully embrace being musicals and show full out musical production numbers, they verge into being great... or at least very good, but wallow too often in being mediocre and even dull.

I hope this new Hairspray is able to rise above that, because a movie of the musical could indeed have charms of its own, making the movie worthwhile and not merely a mediocre attempt to replicate charming moments from the earlier movie. But, as one might note, my hopes aren't especially high.

Piper said...


I gotcha. They're not embracing their true musicalness. I agree. It's not like the old days with the big productions. I'm with you.