This week the Top 5 List was not the brainchild of either Lara and the Reel Boy writer. David’s friend, Joey Strawn, told David it would be awesome if we had a list of “Top 5 Most Enthralling Movie Musical Numbers.” We agreed. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because we were working on a different Top 5 List for which I had little-to-no ideas for. Thanks, Joey! We appreciated his suggestion so much that we have decided to open our website doors to any ideas for Top 5 Lists you readers out there have and, if we like and use your list, we would be happy to feature your very own Top 5. Here is Joey’s list.
Joey Strawn’s Top 5 Most Enthralling Movie Musical Numbers
5. “Time Warp,” from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
4. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.
3. “Shout,” from Animal House.
2. “Twist and Shout,” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
1. “Come What May (Ending Reprise),” from Moulin Rouge!
Now, while this list is awesome, it has been the hardest one to make. There are so many beautiful musical moments in movies that we cherish and it has just about driven us crazy having to cut some of them out. So we made some guidelines.
1. No Disney movies.
2. No musical performances by a band (i.e. Stillwater in Almost Famous).
3. No live action Disney Movies, which, apparently, goes hand-in-hand with no Disney movies. I hadn’t realized this until late in the process (Newsies, noooo!!!)
4. No putting on the stereo and singing/dancing scenes. Nothing that could be found in real life.
5. No animated movies.
6. No singing only, slow musical songs. Only songs with choreography invited.
You might be thinking, “Wow that’s a bit of a stretch from Joey’s original list.” You’re right. We’re using it more as inspiration. You might also be thinking “Ahh, gee, I really wanted to see some of those Disney songs, I do love those Sherman brothers.” Well, don’t you worry. After obsessing over this list over the past couple of days, David and I have thought of a plethora of movie songs that don’t fit in this particular category, and will feature them in a music based series over the next few weeks. If you’re not a fan of music then you might as well not look at the Top 5 Lists for the next few weeks. And you might want to reexamine your life. So, without further ado, I give you:
Top 5 Most Enthralling Movie Musical Numbers, Week One
5. “Oompa Loompa, Doompa-Dee-Do” (specifically Mike Teevee version), from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The Oompa Loompas in this film bring me absolute joy, unlike the creepy clone ones from the newer version. Their songs go straight for the heart and include random written words that I can only guess appear to help teach kids to read in the manner of Sesame Street. The reason why I chose this particular Oompa Loompa lesson is for the choreography. I love the cartwheels that get worse and worse each time. The last cartwheel is more of a push-up than anything. Brilliant.
4. “Bonjour, Paris!” from Funny Face.
(Sorry there isn’t an actual clip. This was the best I could find).
Arguably the silliest movie ever made, but it has my heart. I love this song because it revels in the beauty of Paris, features Fred Astaire butchering the French language, and actually includes Audrey Hepburn’s real voice. I can’t stand My Fair Lady because Audrey’s singing is dubbed most of the time by Marni Nixon. No Audrey’s voice isn’t strong, but it is unique and it is hers. Thus my love for this movie. Well, that and the line, “This fussing and fretting, it’s getting my goat!” sung atop the Eiffel Tower.
3. “Say Shava Shava,” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
You knew Bollywood had to be represented somewhere on this list. I love this movie. It is absolutely ridiculous. It is 3.5 hours long, the first half taking place in India, dealing with some serious topics like social class and tradition, the second half taking place in London, following two idiotic characters as they flirt back and forth in night clubs. This dance spectacular is lead by the King of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. Yes, that’s the guy who Jamal swam through excrement to meet in Slumdog Millionaire. If you watch the clip, you’ll understand why Jamal did it.
2. “El Tango de Roxanne,” from Moulin Rouge!
This is one of the best and most intense scenes in film history. The choreography is labyrinthine, the cinematography is dramatic, the editing is exquisitely fast paced, and the song’s content is haunting. It’s almost too much to take in. And I am always guaranteed to be covered in chills throughout.
1. “Make ‘Em Laugh,” from Singin’ in the Rain.
The song that established my love for musicals. It is absolutely perfect. I remember watching it for the first time at the age of seven, not knowing whether to stare on in amazement at Donald O’Connor’s physical stamina or let the laughter roll over me. Donald was insane! He was so worn out from this sequence that he was on bed-rest (or in the hospital, according to some sources) for days after completing it, due to extreme exhaustion and carpet burns. That didn’t stop him, however, from performing the number again when an accident ruined all of the original footage. Amazing. To a seven-year-old Lara, Cosmo Brown was the perfect man: he can sing, he can dance, AND he’s hilarious. Come to think of it, to a twenty-one-year-old Lara, Cosmo Brown is still the perfect man.
Note: This was horribly hard for me to narrow down. The only thing that made it easier was youtube. There are almost no videos of The Wiz on that darn website. But thanks to tragedies such as that I finally got my list down to five. I also want to make a quick note that every single selection on here is from an amazing film. After you watch each and every one of these videos, you should go watch all the movies they come from.
5. “Twist It (Shake Your Tail Feather),” from The Blues Brothers.
The Blues Brothers is one of my very favorite musicals. It’s one of my favorite movies ever actually. It’s genius. The movie is packed with hilarious actors and incredible musicians throughout the entire thing. Obviously, it was hard to pick just one song. The “Think” with Aretha Franklin number is pretty spectacular. And the scene where they have to sing the theme from Rawhide is pretty awesome. But it’s hard to beat Ray Charles.
4. “Sunrise, Sunset,” from Fiddler on the Roof.
This is by far the slowest song on the list. There’s no choreographed dancing or anything like that. The action is all in the faces of the people watching the wedding. It’s beautiful. There’s almost more energy in the emotion being expressed in their faces than in any of these dance numbers.
3. “Bang Bang,” from Robin and the 7 Hoods.
How do you top Sammy Davis Jr. tap dancing and shooting two pistols in time with the music? It’s hard to do. This movie is great. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby all in one movie. And it’s a retelling of the Robin Hood story. This is a great scene too.
2. “With a Little Help From My Friends,” from Across The Universe.
I loved this movie and I love this song. This scene always makes me happy to have friends. It’s a perfect picture of friendship, especially in college. My favorite part is when they run out into the courtyard and you can see all the autumn leaves on the trees around them. It’s pretty gorgeous.
1. ” Singin’ in the Rain,” from Singin’ in the Rain.
This scene is amazing. What’s even more amazing is the story behind it. Gene Kelly had a 103 degree fever when they filmed this. The director wanted to put it off till the next day, but Kelly argued that would waste all the preparation and begged for just one take. He got his one take and did what you’re watching mostly through adlib. How awesome is that?