hairspray film

Movies I have about women succeeding in fields that other characters thought they couldn’t possibly be any good in:
  • Zootopia - In a world of talking animals, Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit police officer. 
  • Hairspray - fat teenager Tracy Turnblad becomes a television dancer without losing weight; Inez Stubbs also becomes a television dancer despite being black in the 1960s USA. 
  • Legally Blonde - Elle Woods, a blonde ‘cheerleader-type’, becomes a lawyer. 
  • Strange Magic - Literal fairy princess Marianne learns how to sword fight, well enough to fight the king of the goblins to a draw. 
  • various Barbie movies - it’s a reoccurring theme in those. 
  • Quest For Camelot - Kaylee goes to retrieve the sword Excalibur, stolen from King Arthur by the ex-knight who killed her father ten years ago, and becomes a Knight of the Round Table herself.

I still have to get a copy of Hidden Figures, about the black women who worked for NASA as engineers, mathematicians, and computer-programmers during the Space Race - focusing mainly on Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson (formerly Goble), and Dorothy Vaughan - but I have seen that movie too.

(Fun fact - Hidden Figures and Hairspray take place at the same time. Tracy’s first live television broadcast happens during John Glenn’s space flight.)

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Movie Genre: Musical

Born with the coming of sound, the movie musical had its base in vaudeville and opera. With its brazen blending of fantasy and reality, the musical provided audiences with an accessible and immediate escape from life, first in the Great Depression, and then beyond.

What to watch:

  1. The Merry Widow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1934)
  2. Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
  3. Singin’ in The Rain (Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen, 1952)
  4. West Side Story (Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, 1961)
  5. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)
  6. Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978)
  7. Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolina, 1987)
  8. Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
  9. Chicago (Rob Marshall, 2002)
  10. Hairspray (Adam Shankman, 2007)

(Bergan, R. 2011. The Film Book: A Complete Guide To The World Of Cinema.)

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“To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. If someone vomits watching one of my films, it’s like getting a standing ovation. But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste.” - John Waters