Here's a hypothetical situation:
It's the year 2027. A film is being made about hip hop, more specifically, about west coast hip hop in the early to mid 90's - ie. Death Row Records, Dr. Dre, Snoop, etc. Actors are cast in the Dre role and the Snoop role, but the characters aren't Dre and Snoop specifically, they're just similar to Dre and Snoop. And instead of using the actual music of that time - "Nuttin' But a G Thing", "Gin and Juice" - they are going to get a guy to write a whole new set of songs, that are like those songs, but different.
Nevermind that it took living in that time to write them, or that it took a musical genius (Dr. Dre) to produce them, and a unique rapper to put the vocals on them. No. They're not going to use those songs, even though that's what the whole movie is about, they are going to create ones "like them".
Why would you want to watch that movie? Why would anyone want to watch that movie? Okay, so why would anyone watch "Dreamgirls"?!
Isn't this movie about motown? It's an insult to motown. Oh, you can just write up some parody songs and that explains the whole thing? Why not just have Weird Al Yankovic do the soundtrack?
This movie has had the best buzz of the year. I don't know where buzz comes from, who starts it, who keeps it going, but I hate that person. It's so weird how some movies just have the vibe on them and some don't. For whatever reason, "Dreamgirls" had the vibe. "Eddie Murphy is back!" "Jennifer Hudson trumps Beyonce!" "Jamie Foxx is Going to Have to Find Another Dead Grandma to Thank!"
Well, I had a choice to either see it or the new Bond and I chose "Dreamgirls" because I like to have seen all the Oscar contenders, and you know what? The buzz can bite me.
First of all, I went and saw it on 2006 and didn't get out of the theater until 2007. True, a full year didn't go by during that time, but it sure as hell felt like it. I think the reason it felt so long was that there were too many songs. No, not too many of the fake motown songs, but too many dialogue singing songs. Every time people are talking and singing starts, you know you're in for 5 minutes of shit that you already know.
But let's talk about the performances cause that's where the biggest buzz has been. First, Jennifer Hudson. No doubt, she was great. Girl can sing. But I think it's stupid how people are saying that she's upstaging Beyonce. If you don't upstage Beyonce in that role, then you are not playing the part right. That role is the juiciest part in the thing and she pulled it off.
However, is that really "great" singing. Her voice is powerful and everything, but it's also the kind of singing I (and I think a lot of people) hate. I used to call it the "Johnny Gill syndrome". Now you may know it as a case of the Jessica's (Simpson), or "Mariah-itis". As you know, I went to several BBD concerts as a youth. Shut up. And Johnny Gill would often open for them. And I hated it because he wouldn't sing the song! I wanna hear "Rub You the Right Way", brother, I don't wanna hear "Rub You the Right Way-y-y-y-eeyyyy-ayyy-ayyy". Maybe that's why I hate American Idol so much. And it shouldn't be a surprise that "Idol" contestant Hudson does it ad nauseum. And they kept saying how she was so much better than Beyonce. I don't think so. There's a reason Jamie Foxx made her lead, and it wasn't just because she's 200 pounds lighter.
All right, let's move on to Eddie. I love Eddie. Well, that's not true. I love '80's Eddie. I despise "Daddy Day Care"/over-actor/sell out Eddie. No one should be surprised he's good in this. He is the most talented dude on the planet. And of course he can sing. Anyone see "Delirious"? But what Eddie doesn't understand is that it's impossible for anyone who has seen his comedy to take him seriously when he sings. He has a great voice, but he uses that voice to do great jokes. So everytime he sings I'm waiting for "Tito get me a tissue. Jermaine stop teasing", or "Too hot in the hot tub!". You can't mix your comedy moves and your singing moves, cause once you do you can never go back. If you didn't think of "James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub" during his last singing scene, then you have never seen "James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub" and I feel sad for you.
And finally, Beyonce. She's hot. And good. And I love when she does that ghetto thing with her neck and the finger point. She's a star. I don't think she's a real actress though, but she's perfect for this type of movie.
One random thing about the film - it features one of the goofiest sequences I've ever seen in a movie. The Dreams are in a recording session. Effie (Hudson) is singing her backup vocals too loud. There's a fight, she's upset about being second fiddle, she says she's not going to take it anymore and storms out. Jamie Foxx follows her out and they walk outside into...a riot. A full blown, shit on fire, gunshots everywhere riot. It was crazy. And they were still rehearsing in there! So they've had this big fight and they walk into a riot, and Effie turns around, holds her stomach and goes: " I don't feel well", and hugs Jamie. Two seconds ago they were fighting! Now they're in the middle of a riot! You have to see it, it was insane.
The last thing I want to talk about is corniness. I don't think I'm on the same page with America on this one, but I think that I'm right. There's a weird thing going on and I'm not sure what it's all about. I feel like entertainment has evolved throughout the years, and when stuff doesn't follow where that evolution has taken us, it's corny. For instance, I watch "Growing Pains" a lot. It's from the '80's and I know it's from the 80's but that's okay. However, if it was aired right now on ABC as a brand new show, I would be confused and I would say "What the hell? That shit is corny". And yet two of the most popular shows on TV right now are "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars". That shit is corny. I don't get it. Why don't people agree with me on this? "American Idol" used to do Coke commercials during the show with kids drinking old fashioned Coke bottles and singing next to a red Cadillac. I half expected Eddie Haskell to walk in and tell Paula how great she looked. And ball room dancing with Lisa Rinna?! On a major network in 2006? That's corny. And popular. And just so you don't think I'm only labeling things corny that involve singing and dancing, consider this fact: Howie Mandel is a network TV star right now.
Well, now "Dreamgirls" joins the corny club. But at least it has an excuse. It's based on something that was done in the mid-80's. Shouldn't they update it though? I think it's very possible to be TOO loyal to the source material. This is the update, people let's step into this decade, or at least go all the way with it and have a character named Boner ("Growing Pains" reference).
Did I mention I didn't like the movie? Just making sure.