My fast work in getting tickets for Rescue Dawn gave me trading points when choosing the next movie to see - I'll bet this kind of bargaining is common! We'd watched The Good Shepherd on DVD a few days after the Hertzog movie. While I liked The Good Shepherd, it was yet another story that involved interrogation and torture. I demanded a movie with some fluff, some songs, some Johnny Travolta in a dress!
Some people who loved the original Hairspray are ready to hate this new musical version - but by thinking of it as a completely separate movie I thought it was lots of fun. All the versions use music to celebrate individuality, acceptance of body size, interracial romance and the vanquishing of snobs, but things have changed in the nearly twenty years since Edna was played by the outrageous transvestite Divine followed by Broadway's Harvey Fierstein. With so many actors gay & straight vying to don that outsize bra, playing Edna in Hairspray may become the pop equivalent of the celebrity guest role of Mother Ginger in the Nutcracker. Here's a link to a site that compares the three versions.
While watching John Travolta in the new Hairspray, I was struck by how natural it seemed to have him play the mother, and realized that I've been watching him for over 30 years - not just in movies or TV but in interviews and on talk shows where he frequently shows the nurturing side of his personality. His Edna seems genuinely maternal and what fun it is to watch Travolta make Edna dance - both on her own, and with Christopher Walken as Edna's husband Wilbur.
I liked the energetic young Nikki Blonsky as Tracy, and was glad to see Queen Latifa get some time to shine as Motormouth Maybelle. Jerry Stiller played Wilbur in 1988, but shows up here as the proprietor of a plus-sized clothing store. Maybe you know the other young stars like Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, and Amanda Bynes - they were new to me although I'd seen Brittany Snow before.
The actor playing TV show host Corny Collins is James Marsden - known for the X-men movies. I'm keeping my eye on him in future. Allison Janney, Paul Dooley and Ricki Lake, the original Tracy Turnblad, show up in small rolls. And circling back to Stardust - Michelle Pfeiffer has a lot of fun playing another villainess - and gets to sing and dance this time.
Next time I promise to show up with flowers.