My favorite movie of all time is the 2007 musical version of Hairspray. Its the story of a chubby girl named Tracy Turnblad, a teen during the sixties, who wants to become a dancing star. With famous actors such as Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, John Travolta, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, and Christopher Walken playing the secondary characters, its no wonder the movie was a smashing success. However, for the main role of Tracy casting directors chose Nikki Blonsky, her first role in a movie. While her career wasnt too successful after Hairspray, her performance in this film is unforgettable. With a director like Adam Shankman, who is also a dancer, actor, producer, and choreographer, it was made sure that every scene was done to perfection. Hairspray costed around 75 million dollars to create. This was easily made back, making $27,476,745 in its opening weekend.
The story of Tracy Turnblad is a fairly simple one. Tracy wants to be on The Corny Collins Show and to become famous. However, her big hair and body make her an outsider. She eventually gets on the show with the help of her friends and a little can-do attitude. Of course she has a crush on the most popular boy on the show, Link. Sadly, Link is already involved with Amber Von Tusel, the witch of the plot. In the end, Tracy gets the boy, and good triumphs over evil. It seems as if the whole movie revolves around Tracy, when in fact it is the secondary characters that truly make the movie interesting.
Tracys parents play key roles in the movie. Tracys overweight mom, Edina, never leaves the house because she is too ashamed of her body. When Tracy says shes going to audition for the Corny Collins show, Edina advises against it because of Tracys weight. Eventually, Tracy breaks her mom out of her shell and they dance and sing their new found confidence in Welcome to the 60s. People could easily relate to body shaming, thus making Edinas character popular. John Travolta brings a soft and caring character to Edina, with a hint of firecracker whenever Tracy is threatened. Tracys dad Wilbur, played by Christopher Walken, brings a comforting character into Tracys life. Wilbur has no doubts that Tracy will be a star one day. He always encourages her to follow her dreams and to go for it.
Racial tensions also play a major part in the plot of the film. Tracys best friend Penny falls in love with a African American boy named Seaweed. Because of the time period, their love is forbidden, especially with a super religious mom like Pennys. Amanda Bynes and Elijah Kelley act their love in a very realistic way. They show their wantings for each other not just emotionally, but physically, showing teenagers that physical attraction is normal. At the end of the movie when they kiss on stage, it is a symbol for mixed race couples. It sent a very clear message that people should love whomever they choose, no matter the color of their skin.
Seaweeds mom, Motormouth Maybelle, is the host of Negro Day on the Corny Collins Show. When Tracy says that she wants every day to be Negro Day on the Corny Collins Show, tensions rise in the studio. Producers of the Corny Collins Show decide to cut Negro Day, in order to relieve tensions. This outrages the cast of Negro Day and Maybelle, she wanted her daughter Inez to one day be one the show. This anger ignites a peace riot outside the station, led by Maybelle and Tracy. This is led with the powerful song I Know Where Ive Been, a song detailing all of the hardships that were overcome by the blacks, and the hardships yet to come. Queen Latifah brings soul, assertiveness, and sass to Motormouth Maybelle through her acting and her vocals. At the end of the movie when Little Inez dances onstage with Link, it is a groundbreaking moment. That is the first time a white person has danced with a black person on television. This is a true stand against racism.
Hairspray is the third most popular movie-musical of all time, right behind Grease and Chicago. It holds the record for most money made during the opening weekend. Critics fell in love with the positive attitudes of the characters, the catchy tunes, and the saucy dance moves. The movie has a rating of three and a half stars out of five, a little low in my opinion, but respectable. The movie-musical hit was nominated for 42 different awards, taking home 19 of them.
Overall, I think Hairspray was a huge success. It is easy to relate to the characters. Even though the movie gives a fairly unrealistic expectation of life, its nice to see problems as so easily solved. What really makes me love this movie is the music. All of the songs have a message to get across, and I received every one of them. Hairspray will always be one of my favorite movies of all time.
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