Movie: Singin’ in the Rain
My Rating: 3 stars
I generally don’t go in for super cheesy, campy stuff. And, that‘s entirely what this movie is made of. I’ve been enjoying working my way through the AFI top 100 movies list along with the Unspooled podcast. And I’ve actually been a bit surprised at how much I’ve liked a lot of the movies on there. I prefer a little bit more cynicism and dark humor in my movies. And generally, I’ve been pretty surprised by how many old-timey movies include that element. But, this movie is pretty bright-eyed and earnest about itself. And, I didn’t like it as much as the general public seems to.
This movie’s about . . . I don’t know . . . dancing and singing? With a pretty ham-fisted love story wedged in to actually give the musical score a plot? In fact, I think that’s actually pretty accurate. I heard that the whole movie was produced as excuse to perform the songs. And, that’s definitely how it reads. None of the singing feels very organic. But, then I may be a bit prejudiced against the cheesiness of musicals, so I may not be the best judge of these things. But, this film falls into the “movie within a movie” category. Gene Kelly is a famous silent movie star who’s having a hard time transitioning to the world of “talkies,” because his style of acting feels too hammy with sound. Debbie Reynolds is a cute, little showgirl(?) with an amazing singing voice. And, Kelly is sure that singing is the key to making his movies a hit again. But, Kelly’s acting partner, Jean Hagen (whose performance I kinda love), is determined to get between the two and mess up everything. More singing.
I think when it really comes down to it, I didn’t care for the lead actors in this film. Donald O’Connor is fine. I enjoyed his goofy charm. But, I can’t stand Debbie Reynolds’ big, doe-eyed, “who me?” act. It all feels completely fake to me, and I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. Plus, I kept getting the sneaking suspicion that she may be have been a kind of a viper in real life. And, then there’s Gene Kelly. Yes, he’s a very talented dancer. And, he does manage to capture the little humor that’s in the film. But, when it comes to the whole Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire showdown, I’m definitely on Team Fred. Astaire seems so sweet, and humble. Whereas Gene Kelly just feels like a sleaze. Of course, I’m completely willing to accept that these subjective feelings of mine aren’t based on any kind of fact. But, projecting personality is part of an actor’s job. And, Reynolds and Kelly just seem to be radiating poison to me.
All this being said, I think it’s still worthwhile watching this movie because of its status as a classic. And, it’s enjoyable enough to watch, I guess. But, I was kind of annoyed with the whole thing. But, if you’re not quite as jaded as me, knock yourself out.