Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

02 July 2008

I Miss Barbra.

The sad part about WALL·E's liberal quoting of Gene Kelly's Hello, Dolly! is that though the song "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" opens the movie and we hear Michael Crawford's clear, lovely tenor voice, the song fades out during all of the parts where Barbra Streisand sings in the song. In the copy of the soundtrack I have, Babs starts singing at the 1:15 mark. It looks like WALL·E's soundtrack (for sale everywhere) also omits Barbra, since the "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" track lasts only a minute and seventeen seconds.

Now, I'll admit that Hello, Dolly! is not the best musical in the world. In truth, it's probably not in too many people's top ten. And Gene Kelly's film is a problematic behemoth of a movie, as well. The fact that it stars Barbra Streisand in the first place is controversial (and perhaps not the best decision.) I should also mention that "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" is not exactly the best song Jerry Herman ever wrote, either.

But I really like Hello, Dolly! for all its faults and grandeur and silliness. It's warm and loveable and sweet, and Herman's music is infectious and fun if not necessarily groundbreaking. And my favorite part of the movie is Barbra herself. She is larger than life, and she's not exactly acting her heart out, but she's brassy and fabulous and clever. And that twinkle in her eye makes me fall in love with her.

I know, I know. This is the gayest post ever. But I am about to make it a little gayer because I want to talk some more about Andrew Stanton's WALL·E. I am still thinking about it because everyone on earth is talking about how much they love it. Now I love that WALL·E begins by quoting a movie every musical-loving queen will know. But one of the things that I really disliked about WALL·E is that the robots WALL·E and EVE have such clearly defined genders. Why do they have to be male and female? I mean, robots don't have genders. They don't have genitals for Chrissakes! And they don't have sex. Or children. Or societal norms. So it seems really heteronormative and unnecessary that WALL·E and EVE's genders are so obvious.

I could go on about how holding hands is a heteronormative obsession, too, but I guess I should probably stop being down on the feel-good movie of the summer.

This doesn't really have anything to do with Barbra Streisand, I guess. But all through WALL·E I kept waiting for Barbra to make an appearance, and when she didn't I was definitely disappointed.