So, I was watching Dancing with the Stars tonight and I really have no idea idea. I really don't. But after, like, five minutes nobody had started to even dance yet so I thought I'd pop on a DVD and while I have Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves sitting there, I didn't particularly feel like being a depressed wreck this early in the evening (and while eating dinner too!) and I was in the mood for something toe-tapping, so I put Chicago on. Boy. I really do love that movie.
It's strange, that out of the seven Academy Awards ceremonies so far this decade, the Chicago win is the one I am most happy about, yet for a lot of people it's one of - if not the - worst. Even if Brokeback Mountain had won last year, Chicago would be #1. Sure, Brokeback is the better movie, but as we all know, that movie had won everything under the sun so it's winning would have just been icing on the cake, plus a movie that excellent doesn't need the Academy, okay (it's still silly it lost, but that's not what this entry is about). Chicago on the other hand, while being the frontrunner that year, really just makes me so happy that it won because it's a frivilous musical with no sympathetic characters! In this day and age that doesn't exactly scream BEST PICTURE to me. It still amazes me that it won.
And to consider the films it was up against? Sure, The Two Towers was brilliant (and my favourite of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), but it would have been a strange Best Picture winner. Gosford Park is great fun, but it would've been like The Queen winning this year, ya know? The Pianist, while another great movie, is also another WWII movie and, I dunno, I'm just sick of WWII, or most wars for that matter. And... I don't remember the final nominee that year. Umm... er... lol, I don't remember. It was probably so bad I blocked it out.
Chicago was my favourite film of 2002. It probably helps that I was completely uneducated in the area of it's music so it was all so funky and new to me. I loved the cast. Yes, even Renee Zellweger, sorry. Sure, her voice has clearly been modulated in post production and when up against Catherine Zeta-Jones, her dancing is flat, but I actually think she sorta suits the part. It was next year where I just wanted to throw hard metal objects at her.
But, I think the most impressive feature of the film is Rob Marshall's direction. Bill Condon fumbled Dreamgirls (as enjoyable as it still was, it was his fault it wasn't great), Chris Columbus didn't know what he was doing with Rent (which got by because of the cast's enthusiasm and the wonderful soundtrack) and people didn't seem to notice what Susan Stroman was doing in The Producers. But Rob Marshall just seemed to have it. He understands musicals for cinema (which is probably why his followup Memoirs of a Geisha was so bad). I could watch the "Cell Block Tango", "When You're Good to Mama", "Roxie", "I Can't Do It Alone", "Nowadays" and "Funny Honey" sequences over and over and over (yes, watch, not just listen). But the other bits are great too. It all just fits together perfectly.
In a time when people say the Academy is out of step with the public, I find it strange that they would complain about Chicago's win for Best Picture. I mean, apart from The Two Towers, it was certainly the highest grossing nominee - making something like $170million, which is no short change, ya know! It's obvious the film was more popular with people than something like The Pianist or Gosford Park. People championed when The Departed won this year because it was the sort of movie they haven't rewarded since The French Connection in the '70s. Well, Chicago is the sort of movie they hadn't rewarded since the '60s (I'm thinking of the dire Oliver!) I mean, it's a freakin' musical! And because of that we've been blessed with a mini-revival. A few musicals are released annually now, some good some not. But I'd rather have the option than having none at all.
Chicago is a wild ride. I don't care if others don't like it and cry into their death pillows because it beat a Polanski movie about WWII (again, a great movie, but still...) and whine and moan and bemoan the state of movies if a movie like Chicago can win. The movie is fun, spectacular and over-the-moon joyful, which is enough for me. I don't need every movie to be a hardedged deep-and-meaninging excercise in depression thank you. A
(yes, this was indeed very random, I know. But I felt like writing something and this was all I could think of)