Friday, August 12, 2005

I have certain tastes in pop culture that some might find gay quaint, and tops on the list is a disturbing predilection for classic MGM musicals. Or rather, as I learned today, some classic MGM musicals. I've really enjoyed the work of Pittsburgh's own Gene Kelly in particular. I first saw him several years ago in two of my favorite cheesy '70s films. Then I saw An American in Paris for a class, and I thought it was great. We also watched the Kelly-less The Band Wagon in that class, and again, I was impressed. Then earlier this summer I got Singin' in the Rain from the library, and I started to worry that I just loved musicals in general, raising questions I didn't necessarily want answered.

But I'm feeling better today, because I absolutely hated my latest foray into the musical, and I got bonus points because I also hated a Judy Garland movie. Yes, I experienced the 113 minutes of suckitude known as Meet Me In St. Louis. Only two things saved me from turning the movie off early. One was the 5-year-old morbid youngest daughter Tootie, who basically stole the movie by saying the most bizarre things about once every ten minutes, most of which seemed entirely out of place in the movie. Two was the production design in a very particular sense--I've come to appreciate movies that consistently use color in distinctive ways. To me, it's a sign that there's more going on in the film than just a story, but that the director is also doing something interesting aesthetically. Sometimes this is true of movies I respect more than love, and sometimes it's a key aspect of a movie that I do love, such as my favorite Spielberg film. In St. Louis, the colors in question were generally the period costumes and the Smiths Victorian home. Nice work there, MGM and Technicolor, but that's what we'd expect you to get right.

Bottom line: Men, stay away from this movie, as it may actually make your body convert testosterone into estrogen. I'm watching my second preseason football game between teams I don't care about in 2 nights just to try to counteract the effects.

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