By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
When it comes to movie musicals, most films within this genre deal with either romance or comedy. That is also part of the reason why the Golden Globes have the category called “Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.” Famous examples include Oklahoma! and Cinderella, both of which are from Rodgers and Hammerstein. Because of that, it is sometimes rare for musicals to deal with controversial subject matter. Nevertheless, the 2007 movie musical Hairspray somehow manages to deal with heavy themes while also being a joyous movie-going experience. The final result is a feel-good movie with catchy tunes and the universal theme of acceptance.
This film features an all-star cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, and John Travolta. The music is absolutely spectacular with songs ranging from “Good Morning Baltimore” to “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Even though this was her film debut, Nikki Blonsky does an amazing job as Tracy Turnblad. Blonsky actually saw the Broadway version of Hairspray on her 15th birthday, and celebrated her 18th birthday on the set of this film. The film overall is very bubbly even though it involves the Civil Rights Movement and racial prejudice in the 1960s. Even with those serious undertones, Hairspray is still a lot of fun to watch!
This movie might make audiences feel good, but it might make some parents upset. Let’s just say that some of the dancing is a bit…”provocative.” Some people might also find it bizarre that John Travolta would play a female character, who is Tracy Turnblad’s mother, Edna. He actually does a great job in that role, though, and received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. The film also deals with racial tension, but it only does that to a certain extent. Hopefully parents will use this film to teach their children about accepting others in spite of the differences that sometimes separate people.
Hairspray is a very unique musical because it provides a modern spin on the genre. It has elements of Hollywood’s past, such as memorable songs and great production values. It also provides a nice history lesson about the prejudice that existed in the 1960s, and teaches audiences to accept others for who they truly are. Hairspray will always remain a beloved contemporary musical because even though it has been a decade since this film premiered (as of 2017). “You can’t stop the beat!”
Hairspray (2007) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: during every mentioning of The Corny Collins Show
Take a Drink: every time Amanda Bynes (Penny) is seen sucking lollipops
Drink a Shot: for every use of hairspray