I feel like I wrote so much about how I disliked musicals and dancing that I almost don't need to write a post about this movie. I watched Yankee Doodle Dandy today, directed by Michael Curtiz in 1942. It's not really a bad movie, so much as it's just not my kind of movie. I'm not so into the musical and dance scenes, and this movie was just full of them. I liked a lot of the little comedic scenes in between dance numbers, but it didn't really save them movie for me or anything. Overall, it was just not something that I personally liked, that's all.
The movie is "A musical portrait of composer/singer/dancer George M. Cohan. From his early days as a child-star in his family's vaudeville show up to the time of his comeback at which he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the US, this is the life- story of George M. Cohan, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in his own musical shows for which he composed his famous songs" (from IMDB). It's sort of an interesting story, but, uh, to be honest, it just didn't hold my attention. Maybe it was just my mood, or my preference for non-musical films, but I just wasn't into the story. I didn't really like the Cohan family (something creeps me out about all family musical acts), nor George, so I didn't have must investment in the story.
I liked a lot of the scenes that broke up the comedy. I loved the scene where George is pretending to be older than he really is in order to flirt with a girl that he likes. He leaves on his old man costume and makes lots of Orson Welles noises, and I found it so fun to watch. I wish the whole movie was like that! I also loved the scene where George overhears someone's play rejected because the producer wanted a musical. George jumps in and pretends to be the man's partner, and the man slowly starts to play along. The producer loves what George has, and they both a get a deal to make the musical. It was just so well written and funny, and those sort of scenes were really the highlight of the movie for me. They were so cute and clever!
You can imagine that the low point of the movie for me was the copious amount of singing and dancing. I normally don't have so much of a tantrum about it, but I wasn't so into this at all. It often felt like there would be a scene where we saw George composing the songs or practicing them, and then it would be followed by a scene where we'd see the song performed. It was simply too much, you know? I felt a little bored and disinterested when the performance would actually start - which is probably just me. I just would start to tune out because I felt like I already knew the song, which is my own viewing laziness and not really the fault of the film.
There are other parts of the film I didn't love, but it just feels nitpicky to mention them. Overall, I think the reason I didn't like this movie was just because I personally don't like this style or subject matter. I feel bad when I don't like films I see for the project, or only have negative things to say, but I don't want to make up some doofy reasons for why I like it. I hope that at least counts for something :)
I can't really think of much else to write about this film, it seems lazy to just complain endlessly. I think it's a decent movie, just not for someone who is as anti-musical as I am (not a lot - I liked other ones I watched for the project!). There were parts that I liked, but overall I thought it was kind of slow and boring with too many repetitive songs. It just wasn't really my favorite kind of movie, but that's just my non-critical, non-professional and totally not technical review.
Have any thoughts about Yankee Doodle Dandy? Share them in the comments!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Yankee Doodle Dandy
Buy it on Amazon