Friday, February 15, 2013

Moulin Rouge!: Can Can Still Make Me Ugly Cry

One of the cool things about the AMC in Homestead, PA is their new Classic Movies special event they run roughly every Wednesday night.  For only $5 you can see one of your favorite movies that you may not have ever seen on the big screen, and, few weeks back, I was given the pleasure of seeing my favorite movie, Clue.  It's something different that you can experience with a theater full of other fans of your favorite movies.  Everyone should check it out.

Last night, I saw Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! and I realized that I hadn't seen it in years.  The special edition DVD has sat comfortably and untouched for a good four or five years.  I saw it twice in theaters, and they were two of the most memorable experiences I had.  For those of you heathens that haven't seen it, it's about a young writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor) who travels to Paris in 1899 and falls in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge.  Heartbreak and love medleys ensue.

The first time I saw it in New York City at the Ziegfeld Theater.  That theater was PACKED and everyone was singing along with the music.  It was so surreal and spectacular (spectacular) and weird and fun and sort of romantic in a way.  You could literally feel everyone connecting together with this movie.  The second time I saw it in theaters, I saw it during its expanded run while staying with a friend in Erie.  This theater only had three occupants.  Me and an old couple sitting waaaaaaay in the back.  I figured they (like my dad) hated the first half of the movie, but then loved the second.  I distinctly blubbered my way through this viewing while watching Christian and Satine.  And, I mean CRIED, people.  I was making noises, simpering, and my face was wet for the entire final ten minutes.

Kind of like this crying, but 15,000 times worse and without the dignity.

When I watched it last night, I was reminded of what a one of a kind experience it can be.  The movie itself is so manic and vibrant, that I honestly have a hard time describing what it's like.  I did realize/fall in love with a few things while I watched it.

1.  Baz Luhrmann had a total boner for slow motion while making this.  Anyone that has ever heard me rant about the work of Zack Snyder knows that I haaaaate slow motion anything.  The main difference, however, is that Lurhmann uses it to fuel the drama where Snyder uses it to make things look "awesome" and he always fails miserably.  The slow motion did get to be a little much by the end.

2.  Nicole Kidman is so exquisite in this.  I've always been a huge fan of Kidman's, but I was reminded of her real surge in 2001.  Between Moulin Rouge! and The Others, she was really having a breakout year since American audiences only really knew her from being Mrs. Tom Cruise.

I imagine this is exactly how I look on a trapeze. 

3.  And the costumes.  Sweet baby Jesus, the costumes!  

4.  I still attest that "El Tango de Roxanne" is one of the most astonishing moments I have ever seen on screen.  Some quibble that the editing is too insane, but I love it, because it is the true tonal shift of the movie.  It goes from being odd and crazy and turns dark and wonderfully dramatic.  Every time I watch this sequence, my heart starts pounding so fast I feel like everyone can hear it.  

Sorry, I need a moment...


5.  "Come What May."  Nuff said.  I was going to launch into a whole diatribe about how this might be one of the most beautiful movie musicals songs of all time, and it's a travesty that it wasn't even nominated for Best Original Song since it was disqualified on a technicality.  Ugh!  Not bitter party of one.

6.  Why wasn't Richard Roxburgh nominated for playing The Duke?  I feel like that is a performance that would have gotten a more serious Oscar campaign if it were released today.  He's just so odd and funny.  You don't know what's going to come out of his mouth.  Just the tone of his voice and delivery inspires laughs and revulsion simultaneously.  Roxburgh hasn't done that much that American audiences would know.  He was in Van Helsing and then his fair share of TV movies.  

This image of The Duke gleefully terrifies me:

7.  I want to know how they pitched this movie to studio executives.  I rewatched the trailer, and it doesn't even hint at the sheer craziness of the movie.  Anyone who went to see the movie thinking this is exactly what they were getting had to feel like they were tricked.  I love the high drama at the end of the trailer though.  

8.  This moment made me BOIL when I saw it this week.  Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are going over the ending of Spectacular Spectacular when Nini Legs in the Air (yes, that's her character's name) gives away Satine and Christian's love affair.

"This ending's silly.  Why would the courtesan go for the penniless writer?  Whoops!  I mean sitar player..."

Upon this line being uttered, the woman behind me muttered, "Bitch..."  Preach, sister.

9.  Ewan McGregor is underappreciated as an actor.  Christian is so lovable and determined, and I feel like McGregor nails puppy love so well.  I fell in love with him all over again.  When Christian cries at the end of the film (as he holds Satine's body), I lose it every time.  Something about McGregor's high pitched wailing gets to me.

10.  I will close on a random/weird fact.  Jim Broadbent, who played Harold Zidler, won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Iris in 2002.  He was in three movies that year, and all three of his leading ladies were nominated in the Best Actress category (Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge!, Judi Dench for Iris, and Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones's Diary).  They all lost, however, to Halle Berry for Monster's Ball.

Now, go and watch Moulin Rouge!  If you haven't seen it, don't tell me because I will judge you.  Just go.  I will leave you with some more images from the film.


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