For those that don’t know, I actually am a fan of musicals. One of my favorites happens to be Dreamgirls. After experiencing it, I completely fell in love with it. The story, the music. I loved the whole thing. If I could sing, I swear I would love to perform in it (maybe as C.C.). Maybe even direct a performance at some point. So needless to say, when I heard about them making the movie a couple of years ago, I was thrilled. Finally! I get to see it on big screen!
When they began to announce the cast I was wary as I’m not a huge fan for either Beyonce or Jamie Foxx, but I had too much confidence in the story itself to think that they alone could destroy it. And I was right… they didn’t do it by themselves. What follows is a list of what killed that movie:
- Beyonce was not a good Deena. I don’t care what her fans say, she never should have been Deena. I don’t like her, but that’s not why I say this. I say it because the character of Deena isn’t supposed to have a strong voice. Deena’s voice is supposed to be light and airy to appeal to the white audiences of the 60s and 70s. And while Beyonce’s wailing is what’s hot with the pop world today, it wouldn’t have done so well back then.
- I understand their need to flesh out the stage characters for the movie by adding more to the script, but unfortunately they sacrificed a lot of what I believe to be good growth potential for characters for the simple fact of wanting to boost the “big name’s” screen time. They neglected the other lead characters like C.C. and Lorelle. Turning Lorelle into a spaz and totally down playing C.C. and Michelle’s relationship.
- Their need to make it tie closely with Motown and the Supremes was inappropriate. I know that the original story was loosely based on the real life events of what happened with the Supremes, but that’s just it… loosely. Why not just leave it the way it was? I’m certain the Dreams would have stood just fine without being seen as a fictional Supremes. Curtis didn’t need to be a fake Barry Gordie. The way they did it, they turned them into Motown, while in the play, they actually just make references to the actual Motown as if they’re both two separate entities.
- The removal of “Ain’t No Party” which is Lorelle’s big song in the middle of Act 2 where she finally drops Jimmy (who isn’t supposed to die). I heard the reasoning for dropping it… I still don’t approve. It’s once again kicking her character to the back to make room for the “bigger” people.
- The musical production which made the songs way more modern than they should have been. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m the only one that wants to hear the music in a movie that takes place in the 60s and 70s sound like the music that was around the 60s and 70s.
My rant actually goes on longer than this, but I really think I just need to make my point. You see what actually brought me to talk about this today was that I recently (well actually a few weeks ago) heard about Beyonce starring in a new movie and playing Etta James. When I finally decided to look it up on the rest of the web, 1.) because I needed to see if this shit was true and 2.) I had to see if she really did look like Sean Combs’ mom with the Etta wig on like Kristy said she did (and she does). Once I started reading the comments I began to realize how ridiculous people could be.
There were people actually arguing that Beyonce is going to be perfect for this role. Why? How?
Her appearance. She’s super pretty and she’s light-skinned like Etta.
She looks nothing like Etta, and as dear, sweet Kyeifa mentioned, Etta was on the thick side and Beyonce isn’t there. I’m not saying Beyonce is skinny, I’m saying the chick isn’t the same kind of thick. So then what?
Her acting ability. She was great in “Carmen: A Hip-hopera” and I loved her in “Goldmember”. She should have won that Oscar, too!
You really believe that she should have won that Oscar and Jennifer shouldn’t have? Really? Really? So Beyonce should have won against the likes of Meryl Streep and Helen Merrin? Really? Well I guess it was just silly of me to think that some one needs some form of skill to actually win an Oscar. Not saying the Jennifer is a great actress, I’m just saying that when it came to the category she was in, she did pretty well.
Well, how about her singing? Surely that’s why she’d be perfect for this role. She’s the best singer ever!
Um, how about no. Though I won’t deny that Beyonce can sing, I will say that her voice does not fit with Etta James’. Etta has this soulful, bluesy sound that rubs you wrong but still makes you feel great when listening to her. Beyonce yodels.
Now this isn’t an attack on Beyonce, really. I don’t like to her enough to really dedicate a whole blog to her. What this blog is about and what it’s been about from the beginning is… America’s willingness to accept anything pushed in front of them because it’s pretty. They could have cast anyone else in that role. A number of people would have probably been a better choice for the role (just like with Dreamgirls) but they went with style over substance so that they could gain the big bucks in the end. They chose rather than to tell a good story in a good way (I’m just assuming at this point as the movie is still in production) to tell good story in an okay way with a pretty cover.
What’s that old adage? No matter how much you shine shit in the end it’s still shit. Well maybe it isn't, but it should be.