Most of my friends will probably think I’m insane, but I could give a shit: DREAMGIRLS is one of the best goddamn movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m normally not a fan of musicals but every once in a while I see one and I’m just blown away by how fucking good it is. This is one of those times.
The story is about the rise to fame of a Motown-era girl group called The Dreams, who are clearly based on The Supremes. And, like most stories of this type, it’s really about the ups and downs, the struggles and triumphs, and the relationships and personality conflicts of the various people involved. Honestly, the story isn’t particularly original and it wouldn’t be interesting if it weren’t told so goddamn well through the music, costumes, and sets.
And speaking of the music…most of the time when I watch musicals I’m bored off my ass about halfway through. The music and lyrics are usually just tedious as hell and there’s not enough downtime between numbers (for my taste). Literally seconds after some ridiculous, 13-minute-long medley featuring the entire cast, a smaller song will begin, featuring two of the cast members talking about how much they love coffee or something equally interesting. Jesus Christ, why do musicals do this? If I’ve just sat through 13 minutes of the entire cast belting out notes left and right, the last thing I want is more music swelling not a minute later. DREAMGIRLS never got tiresome that way, which was apparently an intentional act on the part of the producers, as a great deal of the sung dialogue from the play is spoken in the film. And I’d like to offer up a big, fat “Thank you!” for that.
Eddie Murphy. Holy shit, you won’t believe how good Eddie Murphy is in this movie. He plays James “Thunder” Early and he is unreal in damn near every scene he’s in, singing or not…but especially singing. I swear to God, I want James Early to be real and I want to go see one of his shows. He totally deserved his Oscar nomination. All of which makes me want to punch him in the face as hard as I can. It’s hard to reconcile this Eddie Murphy as being the same guy responsible for Norbit. Maybe it’s unfair, but if you’re capable of greatness, you’re not allowed to be mediocre. Ever.
Jennifer Hudson. This chick is out of a bad movie about the girl who comes out of nowhere and becomes an overnight singing sensation. I’m sure if you asked her she’d tell you nothing happens overnight but it sure seems that way. This is her first movie and she acts like a seasoned pro. Her voice is ridiculous and even when the song she’s singing is less than great, she sings it great. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in this movie and she won and she fucking earned it.
Anika Noni Rose. This is another girl I’d never heard of before but that’s mostly my fault for ignoring what’s on the television. I have a hunch she was kind of overshadowed, having to perform alongside Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, and Eddie Murphy, but like everyone else in the film, she can belt out a note like crazy and she totally holds her own. I actually think hers is the most underrated performance in the movie.
Beyonce is Beyonce in every good way someone can be Beyonce.
And that’s about all I’m gonna say. If I gush any more I’ll be in danger of turning into James Lipton. It’s a good flick, you should see it.