5 Musical Movies for Fourteen Going on Forty

Hey, Red1. You’re fourteen now.

When you’re a young adult, you start putting things together. You start making your own sense of the world. As a dad, I want to give you a few head starts. Hand you a few nuggets of wisdom and wonder. We’ve been trading films and TV shows to fill in some blanks.

You’re already a They Might Be Giants, Star Wars, Tim Burton, Queen and David Bowie fan–very cool.

We’ve had conversations about jokes in TV shows and movies that you didn’t get, so I thought it was up to me to ‘buy you a clue’. We’ve been calling it a guide to modern cultural references. It’s more than just a course in pop culture, but a course in understanding how modern culture is shaped and what the core pieces are.

It’s more than WWII, The Beatles, Elvis, The Wall, Freddie Mercury, Andy Griffith, and The Dark Crystal. There’s much much more. But those are great starts.

This is part of your list or guidebook to understanding and enjoying the in-jokes. You only get one first look at a show or movie and if you aren’t properly prepared, those quips and barbs are going to continue to just shoot right on over your head. We’re all in this together… Brazil.

Let’s make some lists of films loosely grouped by themes. Our first will be musical movies, but not necessarily musicals. Some will require some parental guidance or discernment. There are certainly images in these films that a lot of parents would have issue with, but even an R-rated film from the 70’s, like The Wall, has some discretion and restraint, but clearly requires discussion about violence toward women, racism, and fascism.

In the first list, we discover that these certainly don’t pass the Bechdel Test. You might even think that to be a woman in a musical requires the character to actually be a prostitute, but that discussion often isn’t limited to just musicals.

Musical Bang

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) – It might get lost on lists of musicals if you’re shying away from the subject matter, but it’s got all the crazy epic shrill rock star Jesus hitting high notes as flips the tables in the temple.

Hair (1979) – So looking forward to watching this one again. The cast alone will drive yet another list. Did you catch Mrs. Garrett dancing on the table?

The Wall – “If you don’t eat your meat, how to expect to get any pudding!” I’ve said this for years at the kitchen table and sounded like a raving lunatic–to my own delight–imagine the light bulbs brightening in Red1’s head when she realizes I’m just mimicking the lunatic in The Wall.

This leads into the next film I want explore together. Roger Waters The Wall (2015)

And then there’s the concert film from Berlin with an all-star cast. When the wall went down, I didn’t have cable, so I completely missed this when it happened–not the REAL wall coming down, but the concert.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – “truth, beauty, freedom and above all things, love.” Or a slick picture postcard to further distance and alienate yourself from the real France. 

Across the Universe (2007) – We’re bigger Beatles fans than fans of this movie. It’s doing something similar to Hair and Moulin Rouge, so I wanted to include it.

Also noting for the record:
Yellow Submarine
St. Pepper’s
and HELP!

We’re looking for more musical movies to add to this list. She’s already a big Phantom fan, Into the Woods and we’re about to check out all the Sweeny Todds.

photo credit: The Badge via photopin (license)