The Projects: Musicals That Don’t Suck

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By Spencer. This is a website that celebrates both movies and music, so you know an article like this was inevitable. In revisiting our ongoing Movies That Don’t Suck series, it seems like the perfect time to look at the movie musical—the bane of the true music fan’s existence. Maybe our generation has such trouble accepting the musical because we were the first to be raised with movies that actually aspired toward realism—and there’s nothing realistic about spontaneously breaking out into song. But for the first half-century of filmmaking, the musical was Hollywood’s go-to crowdpleaser. And you don’t have to look beyond Bollywood to see that, even today, other cultures don’t share the modern American disdain for this genre. Continue reading

The Projects: Silent Movies That Don’t Suck

silent-movieBy Spencer. If you’re anything like my friends, you saw 2011’s The Artist—the first silent movie to win the Best Picture Oscar since 1927—and were unimpressed. Obviously, a huge part of its win was the novelty and bravery of making a silent movie in modern times. But while critics raved, audiences yawned (if they went at all).

Even some classic film buffs have a hard time getting enthusiastic about the silent era. Yes, the pacing is much slower than we’re accustomed; the lack of dialogue requires overacting that comes off as unrealistic at best and shamelessly hokey at worst; and dammit, does there have to be so much reading? But if you’re willing to approach them with the right attitude, there are a handful of movies from the silent era that can actually be—gasp!—fun. You can’t just view these as movies; they’re pieces of living history. And best of all, since most of them are in the public domain by now, you can usually watch them for free in their entirety online! So if you’re feeling open-minded and you’re looking for a place to start, here’s your guide to silent movies that don’t suck. Continue reading