My dad came into town yesterday. We went to lunch, took him to the new park downtown, and of course, we had to do the traditional Feemster afternoon nap. When we asked if he wanted to see a movie, he immediately said that he wanted to see “Les Miserables”. When I cringed, he did something dastardly. He played the birthday card. His birthday was on Friday and he insisted that all he wanted for his birthday was to see that movie. It’s his birthday, I can cry if I want to.
Les Miserables is antithetical to the kinds of movies that I enjoy for three reasons.
1) It is longer than 90 minutes. Disney has this down to a science.
2) There is singing.
3) There are no cartoons, talking animals, or laughing.
I was able to sit through the whole thing, but it was not my most enjoyable cinematic experience. My dad and Alex both thoroughly enjoyed it and were able to get past the three reasons mentioned above and see the movie for its’ message.
Below are my thoughts:
– I might have mentioned that I will skip over pages in books that I’m reading if they’re describing scenery. I only want to read dialogue and plot. For me, singing in a movie is like scenery, particularly because it’s all just horrible introspective. My brain shuts down. Unlike Singing in the Rain or My Fair Lady or High School Musical 3, all of which have significant speaking in between the singing, Les Miserable had singing almost the entire movie. They sung about their names, about bread, about their feelings. Personally, I thought it was too much. For example, when that girl was in love with the rich revolutionary, she sung about it at least 3 times. Dear girl, perhaps he would like you more if you actually talked to him instead of turning every emotion into a 10 minute solo.
-Also, who can really understand every word that these people are singing? Maybe my earwax buildup has come back again, but I had a difficult time understanding what they were saying. In the opening scene, I heard, “Look down, look down, wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah. Look down, look down, wah, wah, wah, woo-dee, wah.” Sorry, but I think they need to take a lesson from Zac Efron and sing with a little more clarity, facial expression, and jazz hands to help the audience understand.
-My dad warned me that I would be sobbing at the end and he had toilet paper shoved in his coat pockets for that very occasion. I only use toilet paper to wipe my nose in dire emergencies because there are toilet germs on that stuff and I don’t want to wipe my nose with it. My dad discovered that I was grossed out by it, so he continued to offer it to me throughout the movie to get on my nerves. In any case, I did not need it. My eyes developed a wet film on them when Jean Valjean died, but it was nothing like the full frontal ugly face crying attack that I had at, say, the end of The Help. The world isn’t ready for another one of those, so I guess it turned out for the best.
– My brain carries an inability to remember any ethnic names unless I see them daily at my job, so I had a hard time remembering characters. Thankfully, I know some actors in Hollywood, so I was able to keep it straight. Here’s how I remember the characters.
- Hugh Jackman- Jean ValJean- I know this one. He sang it about 60 times.
- Ann Hathaway- Francelina- which also happens to be the name of a girl who’s on the current season of Biggest Loser
- Russel Crowe- Vajour- I know that’s not right.
- Amanda Seyfried- Cosette- They also sang this about a bajillion times
- Helena Bonham Carter and that other guy- I don’t know their names at all, but I know they caused me to descend into a dark place because I know that there are real people like them that use and abuse children. I think they were supposed to be comedic relief but I didn’t find them funny.
- The above couple’s daughter- Epipen- I know that’s not it
- The rich revolutionary- Morpheus- also a name from the Matrix, right?
– The character development was a little shallow for my tastes. For instance, Cosette and Morpheus fall in love at first sight, which I’ll buy, but then they claim that they’ll die of separation after singing to each other one time. They didn’t even touch fingers romantically through the gate. How can you love someone when you haven’t even touched fingertips together? Take it from me, people of Les Mis and Edward and Bella. You can’t.
– In a related thought, my father read online that the original book is 2700 pages long. I’m sure there’s plenty of character development in there, but, for once, I’m glad that the producers opted to keep the movie under a cool 4 hours.
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” True that, Hugo. I did like the message of the movie, I just wish that there would have been some car chases or fairy action and that it wouldn’t have been almost 3 hours long. Call me uncultured, if you like, but I want my movies to have less thinking and more doing.
I wouldn’t have gone for anyone else but you, daddio. Happy birthday!