Anna Kendrick: My Favorite Musicals of All Time
Anna Kendrick is today’s InStyle.com guest editor, and as her roles in movie musicals Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods, and the upcoming The Last Five Years (in theaters Feb. 13) prove, she's quite the songstress. Here, she shares her favorite musicals of all time. Check back throughout the day for more exclusive content straight from the actress herself at InStyle.com/annakendrickday.
I've been in love with musicals since I first saw Annie as a 5-year-old, and the rest is history. It's been a dream to act and sing in movie musicals, as I grew up loving the genre. Ready to dip your toes into the world of melodic tunes and showy dance numbers? Here is my (lengthy) list of favorite musicals:
The further you get into the '70s, the tripper the musicals are and this is no exception. Diana Ross sings her ass off as Dorothy, Michael Jackson is on top form as The Scarecrow, and you can't beat the music but be warned, this movie feels more like having an acid trip than it feels like The Wizard of Oz.
I stand by this one. Sure it's silly, sure it's for kids, sure you want to punch Annie by the end of "Tomorrow." But this is movie is so fun! Clearly child labor laws were looser back then because those orphan are risking life and limb during the "Hard Knock Life" acrobatics and I love every minute of it. And Carol Burnett slays as the drunk and child-loathing Miss Hannigan. Also, have you seen this recently? Bernadette Peters and Tim Curry are Lily and Rooster! I know!!
Rob Marshall brought back the movie musical with this absolutely stunning film. That alone should make me love it but as a bonus, I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out and was on a fair few pain killers when I saw it. On Codeine, "Cell Block Tango" was a life-altering experience.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Technically an opera, as everything in the film is sung, Catherine Deneuve stars as a humble umbrella salesgirl who falls in love. The look of the film is stunning and sumptuous, and the music is unassuming and lovely. I would also recommend having this on in the background if you're hosting a party.
Come on, kids! Let's put on a show! Gorgeous dames hoof their way through this film about putting on a Broadway show and it's heaven. If you haven't seen it, get ready for classic songs you didn't even know you knew, and some of the best tap dancing since that time you watched Christopher Walken in Peter Pan Live!.
Sister Act 2
Not technically a musical since the songs don't further the plot, but the same is true of Pitch Perfect and no one seems to mind. Cheesy as hell but the musical sequences are incredible. Hailee Steinfeld, Pitch Perfect 2’s youngest cast member, hadn't seen this one and a few of the girls who geek out hard on this film (myself included) arranged a night to watch it with her. Watching it again I realized that Pitch Perfect is basically the Sister Act 2 for people too young to remember Sister Act 2.
Singin' in the Rain
An obvious choice, but this is THE definitive movie musical. Those of you who have seen it know why, those of you who haven't, rejoice! I'm actually jealous of people who get to see this for the first time. If I could live inside any movie this would be it. Gene Kelly is like Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, and Cary Grant rolled into one. It's a joy to watch him do anything and this is his strongest work.
The Honorable Mentions!
Rock 'n' Roll High School: The Ramones take over their biggest fan's high school!
Newsies: Wait, you haven't seen Newsies? What are you doing? Drop everything and see this film! Christian Bale sings for God sake!
Robin Hood: Men in Tights: Mostly a very funny, very silly spoof film, but I'll be damned if I can't stop humming those tunes. "We MAY look like sissies! But watch what you say or else we'll put out your lights!"
Everyone Says I Love You: Woody Allen's naturalistic Umbrellas of Cherbourg–style film, keeping the musical alive in a period where musicals were either animated or produced by The Wiggles.
8 Femmes: Okay this one you HAVE to see; a 2002 film that looks like an MGM classic, powerhouse french actresses, murder mystery, and songs too!
Dancer in the Dark: See this Lars von Trier piece if you want to know why Björk refuses to ever act in a film again. (You'll need a stuffed animal and a hot cup of cocoa after).
Ziegfeld Follies: Actually, this one is essentially a variety show on film, and it's pretty hit and miss. Just YouTube "Ziegfeld Follies Gene Kelly Fred Astaire" to experience true joy.