Tag Archives: Alan Parker

The Set of 400: #54 – My Favorite Death by Pies

Today! Because I gave up yesterday/But they still want more –

Bugsy Malone (1976)

Directed by Alan Parker (x2)

Starring Scott Baio, Jodie Foster (x3), Florence Garland, John Cassisi, Martin Lev, Paul Murphy, Sheridan Earl Russell, Albin Jenkins, Dexter Fletcher

My favorite modern-ish, live-action, non-puppet led musical, Bugsy Malone is nonetheless anything but conventional, what with its world of 1920s child gangsters belting out grown-up songs with adult dubbed voices. If you’ve never seen it, it is a pretty jarring choice, but again, these aren’t really children’s songs, so it works more than it doesn’t. The film, however, is very definitely a kid’s movie, and so may not seem like an obvious first time pickup for the adults out there. But if you somehow avoided Bugsy Malone all these years, you owe it to yourself to see this glorious bit of filmmaking.

First off, and most notably, you have Jodie Foster – the greatest child actor of them all – as the third lead. This is her second list film from 1976, neither of which are Taxi Driver, and while she’s easily the most talented person in the film, it’s hard for me to immediately hand over that MVP. Chachi/Bob Loblaw Scott Baio gives her a solid run as the title good guy mobster, everyone’s pal Bugsy, while the competing mob bosses – John Cassisi’s Fat Sam and Martin Lev’s Dandy Dan – are equally terrific in their opposing comic styles. Hell, actor/director Dexter Fletcher (who completed Bohemian Rhapsody once Singer got canned, and then helmed Rocketman, which hasn’t been released as of this writing, so I don’t know if that’s a positive or not) has a terrific, brief role as Baby Face. The child actor cast is first rate. Even the much maligned Florence Garland (who was thrust into the lead as Blousey when the previous actress grew too tall) gives a pretty game effort, even if she’s a bit unsuited to play opposite Baio so much.

Oh my God, how cute are these little criminal shits?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #369 – My Favorite Descamisados

Today! Because oh, what I’d give for a hundred years, but the physical interferes –

Evita (1996)

Directed by Alan Parker

Starring Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Jimmy Nail

Look, I get it, theater people – in a lot of ways, this movie is a jumble of bungled nothing. Like many modern musicals, it had to cast stars just to make the film, and movie stars don’t tend to have the voices to pull off even moderate singing, never mind borderline operatic Andrew Lloyd Webber/Stephen Sondheim type shows. The 2012 Les Miserables barely missed this list, it’s still sitting out there as #401 – I really like that movie, and it actually has a bunch of decent singers, but the Russell Crowe Javert just kills me. Same deal with Sweeney Todd, my favorite stage musical of all time, is just gutted by the warbling.

However, somehow, I think Evita manages to transcend this problem. First off, the production values are terrific – they really manage to pull this show off the stage and make it a movie. The opposite is a more prevalent problem with filmed versions of musicals (and a lot of plays) than not. Second, for what it is, Madonna’s voice works okay. Sure, if she didn’t have Banderas opposite her she might’ve looked worse, but because they’re both okay singers performing at around the same level, it stays a pretty steady, nice film. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies