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Daniel

Something else, now that I look back at some others' comments. The racial angle also struck me during the film, since I could see many black and non-black audience members from where I sat. And yes, the black audience members reacted more strongly than others. Which I found strange, since this had to be the most un-black music I'd ever heard. It was the very best of black pop music--Motown--being regurgitated out of a very white-bread mouth. It was contructed to act black, to seem black, but it was too deliberate, too targeted to have real soul. It tried too hard, when black culture never has to.

Penny Woods

"Black black black black black white white white white."

Screw the racial opinions, I'll just hunt down the Broadway production, thankyouverymuch. Even if the production is as bad as Zomyonce.

xnowhereboyx

Yes, craighickman, anyone who doesn't like the same things you like is a blind, venomous idiot.

I can't believe the people that are bringing race into this. What year is this? So am I to assume that every white person who didn't like Barbershop 2, The Honeymooners remake, Johnson Family Vacation, Dr. Doolittle 2, The Haunted Mansion, most Spike Lee films, Dead Presidents, Stomp the Yard, any film with a majority-Black cast, etc. automatically doesn't "understand"? Switch it around to Black people not liking a movie with a majority- or all-white cast and tell me that's not a ridiculous thing to say. Out of the 100+ cheering and clapping audience I saw DGirls with there were only three Black people that I saw in the entire theater, so just because the white folks in Ohio are tepid at best doesn't mean you should play the race card universally. Most of the critics giving DGirls positive reviews on rottentomatoes are white, so are they to be discredited? Just because a white person gives DGirls a lukewarm reaction that you don't agree with does that suddenly make him uninformed about music and movies and pop culture? Was DGirls made by and only for 10% of the U.S. population?

I am a huge fan of the early Motown sound, and also a huge fan of the Supremes and some of Diana Ross's solo stuff. The music in the film was not up to par with Motown nor the girl-group magic of the Supremes. I have the vinyl album of the Surpemes Live at the Copa, and "Dreamgirls" is nowhere near the level of any of the songs on that album. "Move" was a second-rate b-side at best. "One Night Only" was a third-rate "Love Hangover" at best. Besides Hudson, the only thing on the DGirls soundtrack that I thought was up-to-par was "Cadillac Car", despite the rest of the Eddie/Early songs being pretty weak. But what do I know? I'm just a white guy who doesn't understand Motown or the Supremes and I have no soul. Phil Spector, who influenced the sound of girl-groups in the '60s, was also white, FYI.

talk about a can of worms. we know about Phil, he helps us cross over, thanks... Bill Condon, the director/adapter of DG, also white. it's not a blanket statement that all whites don't understand... but there is an obvious cultural difference between what white people and black people enjoy on an entertainment level.
and as far as it being what year it is... honey, you MUST be blind if you think black/white issues are a thing of the past. racism is a live and well. it's a damn shame. but it's true

Nad

Okay, obviously people skimmed my posts and didn’t read them all the way through.
I didn't mean to bring race into the conversation. I was simply posing the question if race and culture prevented me from noticing all of the flaws in the movie that others noticed. While I'm not saying that all blacks should love and get this movie and/or all whites should not get it or hate the movie. I am saying that cultural similarities often bridge people and subjects. For example, if someone from a small rural town small saw a feature movie about a rural community, chances are they'd connect and have an interest in the film, due to the similarities.
There are always exceptions to every rule. I'm positive that every Black watcher didn't love the movie. However, I am comfortable saying that most Black watchers probably felt connected to the movie, for no other reason, than just the excitement of seeing a feature film with Black actors not involving negative topics –i.e. crime.
Also, while I'm on my soapbox, why do people get so nervous, antsy, and upset whenever race is mentioned? It's okay. We have multiple races on this planet and it's a good thing. It's also okay and a good thing to note those races and note that we're different. Mentioning race isn’t necessarily a bad thing nor should it be fiery conversation starter.
People need to begin to be more comfortable having constructive conversations, debates, and/talks regarding race. It doesn’t have to be a divisive conversation. FYI... xnowhereboyx, in no way whatsoever am I taking away or attempting to take away your validity, your soul, or your love of anything involving Blacks. I'm 26, I guarantee, you probably have a deeper appreciation and knowledge of Motown than me. Again, my point was to say, that as a Black movie-goer, perhaps, my excitement about seeing a beautiful film staring Black actors was overpowered by my normal movie criticism.

xnowhereboyx

I am blind. I'm typing on a braille keyboard. I didn't say that racism doesn't exist, I was pointing out that the framing of the topic has long since shifted away from "It's a Black thing." Unless you still live in 1991. Maybe it's something that only white people can understand...

Saying there is an obvious cultural difference between what white people and Black people enjoy on an entertainment level is also way outdated. Hip hop and rap are target-marketed to white suburban males since they are the majority consumers. The "Black experience" is wholesaled to other ethnic groups, and non-whites obviously consume entertainment of all-white artists or performers as they always have. Yes the entertainment industries are still whitewashed, but Black artists and actors today have consumers across all ethnic lines exponentially more than in the past few decades. The several posts saying Rich doesn't understand DGirls because he's not Black is also a damn shame.

11: Um, yeah, and Breakin' wasn't about breakdancing...
"The basic plot of Dreamgirls is derived from the history of The Supremes, a girl-group from Detroit which was Motown's most successful group act during the 1960s.[3] Effie White is a doppelgänger for Florence Ballard, original lead singer of the Supremes; the character's vocal stylings and personality are based upon soul singer Etta James. Diana Ross, who became the central focus of the Supremes and later left the group to pursue a solo career and a brief venture into films, is here adapted into the character of Deena Jones. Supremes member Mary Wilson is represented by Lorrell Robinson. Curtis Taylor, Jr. represents Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown, who pushed the Supremes towards pop success and became romantically involved with Ross. James "Thunder" Early is depicted as a cross between James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Jackie Wilson. C. C. White is a collective representative for The Supremes' songwriters, who included the Holland-Dozier-Holland team and Smokey Robinson. Michelle Morris is representative of Cindy Birdsong, Florence Ballard's replacement in The Supremes, which was renamed "Diana Ross & the Supremes" at the time of that line-up change."

xnowhereboyx

Nad - I wasn't only commenting on your posts, it was all of them combined. I apologize if I generalized. I've just always been irritated by the elitism (for lack of a better word since there really is no good word for it) of Black people toward whites about "Black culture" ever since I was one of the best dancers at the underage club in the city in the late-'80s/early '90s (sorry, that's my one and only ChaCha DiGregorio moment and/or claim to fame) and people would always axe the Black people I danced with why they were dancing with a white person, or the standard "Where'd a white guy learn to dance like that?" as if house dancing was something only Black people could do. But I'm an equal-opportunity whiner because I've always hated the fashion-industry line of "We would use more Black models if Black people bought designer fashion" because it's almost like the reverse and they still use it today even though it's not true.

OK, I'll stop posting about this because I think it's going to turn into some involved debate with a lot of misunderstandings and I'm sure that's not what Rich had in mind when posting about DGirls. Hey, look over there --- it's Mary Carey and her ginormous boobs!!

Nad

Ok, I must get back to work. :-)
However, for the record, my posts didn’t say that Rich didn’t get it because he's not black, it did say that I maybe I missed the flaws because I was so excited to see a quality Black movie.
Perhaps, I was soooooo EXCITED that I failed to see the flaws in the film.
I'm a black Southern belle from Houston Texas and I guarantee Rich is "blacker" than I could ever be. That mans knows some stuff that I have never heard of  If there's such a thing, as “being Blacker” :-)
Loosen up, xnowhereboyx.
We trust your knowledge of movie and musical history. You're proved your wealth of knowledge with your infinite statistics and information. Good Job!
However, I don’t trust that you can tell me that my race doesn’t alter my opinions on certain issues.
So, to sum up my original post, Rich I can’t believe I disagree with you. However, all is well. We’ll unite again once TV returns with our reality crack.

Nad

YEAH everybody... xnowhereboyx and I made up!
Four Four: changing lives one day at a time. Uniting internet posters all across the world!

Just Kidding!

This was a good debate!

Mike

"you see only what you believe exists" it's a fundamental concept in society... those who are the objects are more likely to take note of it, that those who commit the injustice.

assimilation is a one way street. minorities are taught to enjoy the entertainment of the majority, due to the demographically reflected exposure. whites are not obligated to integrate themselves into black culture; and exist in the realm of cultural pluralism, acknowledging other cultures as OTHER cultures, but they do not have to be a part of them or accept so that society does not leave them behind.

so as far as it being something ONLY white people understand. sure. whites don’t see it, and they understand that. and blacks do, and they understand that. we identify with our cultures and that’s the way it should be. if it wasn't we'd have achieved the melting pot ideal, we'd all be multicultural, and the world would be boring and no one would be unique. Problem being – due to assimilation, minorities understand the majority better than the majority understands the minorities. We are taught, all about you, you are taught very little (in comparison) about us.

James

Xnowhereboyx, get the fuck outta here if you really think this being 2006 eliminates race discussions. No one is saying that all black people like DG and whites hate it. What they are saying is that there is no way one can really fairly review this movie without understanding the CULTURE of both the musical as a genre (and the gospel-tinged black musical as a subgenre) AND the story line and what it was supposed to be.

Like so many, you're missing the point.

MSI

Xnowhereboyx, calm down. Sounds like you're one of those white folks who "knows" something about blackness because you danced and hung around white people!? LOL. Bullshit

RACE IS NOT OUTDATED. Whether you can understand how one's culture (AND I'M NOT SOLELY TALKING ABOUT RACE) would allow them to like or dislike this movie is irrelevent, the point is, that its true. Rich doesn't like musicals, so it only makes sense that he wouldn't like DG. What doesnt make sense is that he would spend time reviewing it, but that's another post.

And to back up 11, the number of things in the movie that DID NOT happen to the Supremes outnumber the things that DID. The movie is INSPIRED BY the Supremes, not BASED OFF of the Supremes so criticisms about this not ending the way the real story ended are pointless.

Ram

The problem I have with movie/music critics is that they often write about what they don't know about. How can someone who does not understand, or even LIKE, musicals write a review about whether a musical was good or bad?! I mean, WTF?!

Rich take your own advice and "stay in your lane" and stick to the Ciara reviews, kid. : )

With that being said, I love your site and you're a great writer ... when you know what you're talking about. LOL.

Daniel

So what is 11 smoking again? Did no one notice that Mary Wilson's autobiography is titled Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme? Anyways, yes, I get that it is highly fictionalised and not at all meant to tell what really happened. But the real story is WAY more entertaining--and tragic. Just saying.

11

Daniel, the bottom line is that regardless of the title of her book or some wikipedia post this is not about the Supremes. It is modeled after the Supremes. There is a difference. I'm right. You're wrong. Next topic. ;)

ETS

I knew sooner or later someone was going to get mad that culture was brought up, but its real. Accept it.

NO, all black people don't like Dreamgirls. NO, all white people don't hate it. But it is probably true that your preference for the movie is connected to the culture(s) you identify with, which for the 100th time is BIGGER than race - its faith, politics, geography, gender, sexual orientation, opinions, mindsets, likes, dislikes, on and on an on and lastly RACE.

Any combination of these could influence whether or not you like or dislike something.

No one is saying that Rich didn't like it because he is a white, northern, Jewish, male who does not like musicals. Some are just saying that this musical about black women with (assumed) gospel, southern roots wasn't made for his demographic, so it would make sense that he didn't like it.

And for Xnowhereboyx, ONCE AGAIN no one is saying that whites who dislike many of the movies you named automatically don't get it because they are white. But I AM saying that it is very possible that their not being able to identify with the spirit of the culture of said movie (which ONCE AGAIN is bigger than race) could possibly prevent them from completely understanding the movie.

And please give the "I have black friends" talk a break.

D

I love all these reviews that are reviewing the music as if it's brand new, it's 25 goddamn years old! This play wasn't written last year, it's an ADAPTION, they're just putting it on screen!

I usually like all your posts but this was moronic.

Daniel

You're kidding, right?

xnowhereboyx

11 - I love you, but I'm not in love with you. There's a huge difference.

James/MSI/ETS (I assume you're the same person because all three posts coincidentally capitalized the first X and also because they came one after the other and none of the three posts read my comments carefully) -

A) It's 2007, not 2006. You're welcome.
2) Since when are only people who "understand" musicals and "understand" the plot line (that doesn't even make any sense) allowed to comment on something and have it be considered fair?
C) People who use LOL are automatically out.
D) I NEVER SAID RACISM DOESN'T EXIST NOR DID I SAY THAT RACE DISCUSSIONS ARE INVALID. If you actually read what I follow-up posted where I explained that the discussion of racism today has shifted away from the early-'90s-Ricki-Lake era rhetoric that a lot of people were posting against Rich then you would understand how dumb you are. Besides, after 9-11 Arabs were the new Blacks, and after May 1, 2006 Latinos became the new Arabs. If you still approach racism as a Black issue you're, as you say, still missing the point.
5) I never claimed to be an expert in "blackness" (and just how does hanging around white people achieve that anyway?), nor did I once mention anything about "I have Black friends". I don't have any friends of any ethnicity, duh... Besides, if someone did start the "I have Black friends" talk I would jump them, too.
*) As a whole the message of some of these posts is "You can never understand Black culture" and when a white person does try to understand they get criticized for it by being one of those white folks who thinks they know everything about "blackness". Look at it from the person who you're criticizing's point of view: they're damned if they don't, damned if they do. You're creating a no-win situation.
Furthermore) I didn't know you had to be a showtunes queen to be able to comment on musicals or even be required to love Broadway musicals to see the movie they're adapted from. These recent musicals-on-the-big-screen remakes are produced and marketed to today's movie-going audiences (i.e. people 13-35) and new songs are added and current A-list stars are used because they're not made just for Broadway musical purists to go see. You can't tell me that a film version of Porgy & Bess wouldn't have Missy Elliott on the soundtrack. Saying that it's 25 years old doesn't excuse a current production from being mediocre (which, if you read my earlier posts you would know is not exactly my opinion on DGirls). Would you expect a remake of Saturday Night Fever to be song-for-song and step-by-step disco if it was made today? Henry Krieger, who wrote the score for Dreamgirls, does not sound like an African-American name to me, so you can't claim that Dreamgirls is uniquely about a "Black experience" or culture. Yes it's great that it's an all-Black cast in a big-budget production, but just because it's a musical does not mean that the music is good, nor is anyone who doesn't like musicals in general discredited for commenting on a current POP CULTURE piece of entertainment. Lestat's score was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and all the songs still royally sucked (no pun intended). I'm sure as a musical on Broadway Dreamgirls was excellent, but if you're making the movie version you have to make sure the music translates. Grease was successful because it had great music. Chicago the movie was successful because the musical had a few memorable songs. How many people can name songs from Cats, Annie, A Chorus Line, Hair, etc. without having ever seen the productions? How many people knew any songs from Dreamgirls before the movie came out?

You can hate me all you want to without knowing anything about me just from a few posts I wrote here. Gee, disliking someone you don't know based on prejudicial assumptions and stereotypes, sounds familiar... This is Rich's blog and if Rich wants to write a commentary on a movie he saw then he shouldn't be called moronic or told he doesn't understand if his recap doesn't agree with your opinions.

PS - Not everybody loves Raymond.

ETS

OK Xnowhereboyx, you're a little too into this and its clear that your feelings are hurt. Its not that serious kid. I don't know who James and MSI are, but let's just agree to disagree, because I - nor most people on here probably - can't afford to read another one of your dissertations.

Hey Rich, whaddaya got next for us?

Amanda

The way _Dreamgirls_ has been uber-hyped, I'd be surprised if people weren't disappointed when they finally got to see it. It's just a movie, after all. And it has Beyonce in it. Nuff said.

J

Wow, Xnowhereboyx or xnowhereboyx or XNOWHEREBOYX. That last post was special.

Heavy! Heavy! You got so heavy on me!

Steph

I definitely didn't think it sucked, but I was SO underwhelmed by this movie! Based on all the drooling reviews, I came into the movie theater expecting to see a beautiful, flawless piece of moviemaking. And it just wasn't. It just seemed like one song after the next held together by a prefunctory storyline, and some of the songs weren't even that good. There were some great moments, like the "I'm telling you I'm not going" number, but really, that's all the movie had going for it - moments.

I watched Casino Royale a few weeks before and that movie stayed with me for weeks. All the good ones do, whether they be arthouse or blockbusters. This one dropped off my mind the next day.

TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsxnowhereboyx

Pay no attention to the jackass behind the posting curtain. I apologize to anyone who read my posts. I came home, went to the gym, saw a psychiatrist, got some botox and a mani-pedi, smoked some angel dust, had a good cry, took a five-hour nap, and vacuumed the flat. I'm better now. Before I go put my head in the oven I wanted to let the proverbial "you" know that I'm not going to read Fourfour anymore so I won't be tempted to ruin the comments sections again. Carry on.

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