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Aidan

I'll be showing my age, but I saw the original cast on Broadway when I was in college. There were two songs which have stayed with me all this time -- Effie's "And I Am..." and "When I First Saw You". Jennifer Hudson does a wonderful job as Effie, but the Jamie Foxx/beyonce verson of "When I First Saw You" sucks donkey dick.

I'm totally in awe of Jennifer Hudson. She's just bought a condo a couple of blocks from mine, and I know that if I run into her at the produce market or the dry cleaner I'll squeal like a 10 year old girl.

Jessica

I really enjoyed the movie...as a certified Theatre Geek, I can sleep easy knowing that Dreamgirls has all the tasty emptiness that makes certain shows easy to enjoy without involving much thinking. In fact, no thinking is required at all -- it's all pretty lights and pretty costumes, and you know what: I wasn't expecting much else.

I will admit that the sole reason why I rushed to see it was my deep, albeit inappropriate love for Eddie Murphy. Not to mention that "And I Am Telling You" is, like...THE song for me and my friends to belt like assholes in the car. Eddie and J-Hud definitely didn't disappoint and oh my god, I have so much love for that girl now that I can forgive most, if not all of her awkward acting moments.

On that note: BEYONCE. NEEDS. TO. JUST. QUIT.

God damnit. "Zombified" is the best way to describe her Deena...you def got it there. I know it's not that deep of a character, but holy shit, saying "motherfuckin' bullshit" once in a movie does not qualify you for an Oscar, KBYE.

I still love you, Rich, but give the movie some credit as mindless entertainment!

merritt

Thank you! I got to see the movie about a week before it came out at the theatre my boyfriend manages. We all hated it, and then i kept reading all these good reviews of it. The New Yorker said that it's the best recent movie musical. I thought we had drank too much beer and taunted it too much that night, we must have missed something. But now I have faith in my opinion. It IS awful. Admittedly I don't like musicals, but I sat through (and even felt entertained) by both Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Dreamgirls was just boring.

JadeFan

Mama Knowles did not make the costumes for this movie.

Sharon

Be(yawn)ce who?

pissy elliott

Jim C -- did you go to the EXACT SCREENING I DID? that would be weird. anyway, i consider this review a great mitzvah as i just read (and like, full-body agreed with) walter chow's before seeing this.

craighickman

I absolutely adored Dreamgirls. Best most enertaining movie I've seen this year.

A visually stunning spectactle with great music, songs full of multiple meanings which propel the story, and sensational performances. It was directed as though it were a piece of music itself.

Dreamgirls is an archetype, not a cliche.

But I suppose it takes some critical thinking, and decent eyesight, to see the difference.

But sometimes venom can blind, as seems to be the case with this review.

Kimmie

The movie was weak! Diana Ross would have cut those bitches and thrown them out the theater. :) Sure wasn't a "Lady Sings the Blues"Oscar performance for B. Eddie was good and Hudson's sass was good, but not worth an Oscar. They'll get nominations though; probably for robbing Ross in '72. You know how they like to give make-up awards to black folks for bullshit (Halle Berry anyone?).

Boring. I don't know why the fuck I went to see it, actually. Maybe to see if the performances came anything close to the fabulousness of Miss Diana Ross and The MaFuckin' glamorous Supremes. They are still the greatest girl-group ever. And I am tired of whining-ass Mary Wilson. Get a MaFuckin' life woman! She can't sing worth a shit. She is exactly how Anika -Rose played her for she was not essential (she was fine though) and use to date Tom Jones (married) on the regular. She's been called out on Diana Ross helping both her and Flo Ballard in times of need, but steers clear of that newsflash at all time, if she can. Shut up, stop whining, and enjoy life. I don't want to see you anymore, Mary.

Keisha

Whoever said to send a thank you to Mama Tina, sorry, but it wasn't Tina who did the costumes. It's the same lady who did the costumes for Ray and possibly Crash (I could be wrong on that one though.) Anyway, her name is Sharen Davis.

That's basically what I'll be going to see the movie for though. A full range of Black skin tones in pretty costumes and interesting cinematography.

spiffy

I listend to Ms. Hudson's version of "And I'm Telling You" on YouTube. And even though it was good, it wasn't that great. No one can belt out that song like Jennifer Holiday, and anyone who tries pales by comparison. I think people who are applauding or giving standing ovations in the theaters probably have never seen Ms. Holiday's version.

Reese

I have to disagree with you Rich (gasp! I can't believe it!).

Look, your criticism is the same thing that everyone has said about Dreamgirls. "Oh, it's predictable and blah, blah, blah." To which I say, "Umm, hello, the musical has been out since 1981. We've known the story for over 20 years now. Did you really expect it to change since the movie is based on the musical? That really doesn't make much sense."

Before you and I and everyone else went into that theater we already knew the story. In this case, how can you judge the movie harshly for being predicatble considering the story has been known for the last 20 years? How can you judge the music as just so horrible now when it's primarily the same music from 1981? I just don't get it. Did ya'll not know this was a MUSICAL that debuted in 1981? I guess only a few people knew this...

Or perhaps you really didn't know about the musical's rendition of the story, because if you had you would have been surprised to see that James "Thunder" Early dies in the movie and you would have applauded this move as more relavant to what actually happens to fame-starved artists. As it turns out, the musical didn't have the balls to kill anyone off. Interesting that you criticize the movie for killing off a character and not killing off the right character when considering that the musical did neither of these things.

Is the problem with Dreamgirls that the only people who will get it are those who have actually seen the musical and know the story beforehand? I just don't get the criticsm of predictable story and predictable music of a movie that's just a derivative work of a stage show. Maybe it's just me, but what did people expect? Deena prostituting herself on the street? So confused...

In any case, we do agree on one thing. Jennifer Hudson is the hotness. Too awesome for words.

AntBee

I haven't seen Dreamgirls yet, because I live in a small town in Eastern Canada, and being that there isn't really a demographic here for it, Dreamgirls is not at either of our theaters.
If/when I do see it, I have a sneaking suspicion that whenever Eddie Murphy starts to sing, I will just bust out in uncontrollable laughter. I don't think I would be able to not see him as impersonating James Brown, nor will I be able to not hear his god awful song, "Party All The TIme," or the funny one, "Boogie In Your Butt." I just can't get passed those things to take him seriously.
I don't have high hopes for Beyonce's performance either, given what people have said here, from the reviews, and my own personal observations of her past acting endeavours. What I want to know is, was she able to enunciate and speak as if she had some amount of class? I know her everyday speaking
(in)abilities make me want to tear my ears off the sides of my head whenever I hear her.

TickedOff

This review is so wrong. This movie was excellent. I think white people have so many expectations from black musicals. They want to see us falling out and sweating and shit to prove that the movie has "soul". I get so sick of hearing WHITE people try determine what SOUL is. Most of them lack it on SO many levels that it's not even funny. Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and Eddie Murphy displayed more soul in this movie than any white person I've ever seen. Reviews are a matter of opinion and I understand that. But I think your review has a lot of words, that are really saying much. I usually enjoy your blog, but I totally disagree with you on this one.

eliza

yeah i agree with you, person above me. i saw it twice: once on opening day in chicago and i was one of the only white person there besides my brother, and the second time in a cleveland suburb. the first time, everyone loved it and we all clapped throughout etc. the second time (the "white" time) the audience just sat there frozen. DIDN'T CLAP/LAUGH ONE goddamn time. i don't get it.

Coy

I forgive you what you do not see Rich. LOL. Funny, I'm shocked you didn't like the film... I loved the Broadway production and I love the play on motown, it's music I grew up listening to thanks to my parents. I'm well aware of the Supremes story and how the play/movie loosely dramatizes it. I just thought it was supposed to be a feel good movie about a woman who overcomes and succeeds and maybe learns a lesson on the way. Simple story (that acually happened..give or take a death)and music based on a sound and an era that is familiar to many. meh...I see it as just a good time.

Saun

The sole reason that I love this movie is because of Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. The story was predictable but their acting made it worth it. Seeing Jennifer perform "I'm Tellin You" was the only reason I bought a ticket. The movie was a bit long and watching Jamie Foxx did make me want to stab myself in the eye. I think the presence of Jamie Foxx and Beyonce were way overrated.

ETS

"That's basically what I'll be going to see the movie for though. A full range of Black skin tones in pretty costumes and interesting cinematography."

Real talk, Keisha. Maybe my blackness and my longing for blackness heralded on film prevents me from seeing this film as anything other than great.

Rich, I love you. I have ever since I first started reading this site, but I really don't get this review. I'm going to have to go do some work and come back to it.

I don't think Dreamgirls is perfect and I honestly had to see it a second time to realize that, but I think people who think this musical sucks REALLY DON'T GET THE MOVIE. The movie was everything it was supposed to be. If you're looking for it to be anything more than it was, then yeah, I guess it sucked. But it was great at what it was supposed to be.

I really believe that cultural differences prevent people from liking this. No, I'm not saying that you have to be black to get it. But you have to understand so many of the things that this movie was trying to say and the perspective that it was coming from. And I think many things can prevent people from getting it - not just race - but one's attitude towards theatre, musicals, music, history and of course ... race.

Mike

"Cadillac Car" anyone? just as the movie represented... i think it's a white black issue of what types of entertainment is enjoyed. white people enjoy watered down, or whitened up, black entertainment – or black entertainment done by whites… [thebeetleselviseminemjustintimberlake, and that wack guy who stole Early’s song in the movie]. Black people, love this movie... white people would rather go see james bond. the movie was phenomenal. i have never seen the 'perfect' movie, and every movie has its holes, but c'mon, let’s see you make one. as far as the music, clearly you're not a fan of Motown, that’s OK, but you don't have to slam, what is, a really really good movie. this is A-list Black Hollywood history, amazing Black leads, big budget, winning awards left and right. The only people that seem to be out of the loop of total excitement are the majority of the white people. Granted, that’s a lot of people, but it tells you something. You don’t have to ‘get it’ but try to respect it.

Nad

Rich, I can't believe this. However, I'm disagreeing with you. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It wasn't my knock down all time fave movie in the world, but it performed its role as a musical to movie function quite well. Beyonce, I must admit, did much better than ever before. Of course, she wasn't on some Oscar winning performance isht; however, it was a vast improvement from her earlier work. What can I say? It was good, for B :-)
However, I hate to make it seem like Black people just get it, but the Jennifer Hudson song moved me to clap. Now, let me interject, that I'm not your typical dim-witted, soulful, shallow movie watcher. I tend to think I'm pretty insightful and a pretty good critic. However when Jennifer Hudson belted that song out, it was like an out of body experience. It was like I was transported back to my church as a child in Houston, Texas. Jennifer reminded me of the slightly plump choir member that belts it out once a month, and when she sings-everyone gets goose-bumps. You don’t miss church when Sister Hudson is singing. I just felt it!
Rich, not sure if you were in a bad mood or what, but I enjoyed it. Maybe, I came in with minor expectations. However, it was entertaining to say the least.
No worries, we always seem to agree about Top Model and project Runway.

Nad

ETS, How funny. I was posting my comment as you posted yours. Just re-read and I agree with you. I wonder if it's the cultural linkage that allowed me to really appreicate the film.

It seems like we had similar feelings about the film.

Daryl

I hate to jump on a bandwagon here. 95% of the time I'm usually feeling what you're saying Rich but this time I thought "What version of the movie did he see?".

I absolutely adored the movie. I went to see it in a small theater near my town with a predominantly white crowd and their response to it was tepid at best. Meanwhile we're practically sitting on our hands to prevent clapping and jumping up and down to the music etc.

These are the same folks who loved Chicago (which was merely OK to me) and Moulin Rouge (which I did love). I say all this to express that the cultural and racial divide play into so many aspects of what we deem good and acceptable. From Dreamgirls, gospel music, R&B (my white friends always though Patti LaBelle simply screamed...blasphemous) our tastes and appreciation of the "experience" differ.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion and it doesn't make me enjoy your writing any less but there are times where I think you could still use some enlightening.

ETS

Nad -
I saw this movie twice in a very red state with my wife. We were the only black people in the theatre. It was silent most of the movie - for the jokes, for the ballads, for EVERYTHING. A few people even walked out and others yelled STOP SINGING. I was like WTF? How could you ask someone to stop singing in a musical!? My wife said, They just don't get it. And that honestly hurt me. I took it personally. It reminded me of not being got, just because the people watching don't understand. But that's a- WHOLE-nother post.

My brother and his girl on the otherhand saw it in a big city where more than 80 percent of the people are black, probably have southern and civil rights movement roots, are Christian or have some connection to church and/or like Tyler Perry type musicals. He said people KEPT clapping and standing up and laughing and shouting at the screen.

I really think its a cultural thing - which is not necessarily limited to race, but can be. Its being able to identify with not the story, but the musical genre.

Daniel

Yeah, it sucked. And the only reason Jennifer Hudson seemed so good was because everyone else sucked so bad. Her performance was predicatble and lacked emotional connection--she only struck emotional poses.

Story-wise, I knew little about Dreamgirls going in, and yes, I know it's a FICTIONAL take on the real story, but I still have to say I was really irritated by the total white-washing of the real Supremes. Flo died, honey. Broke and with a bad liver, not shimmying and rich. (Ooh, and Diana got her ass pelted at the funeral!) Diana never married Gordy--she was the other woman for years. And that portrayal of her as a passive victim manipulated by the evil Svengali? Bitch, please. She KNEW. She WORKED it. And THAT would've made a better script.

11

LOL. Daniel you don't get it. This was NOT about the Supremes.

Hey I am black and I am not even interested in this movie. I would really rather go see James Bond or even anything. I found this whole movie stupid.

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