VIDEO: Les Misérables: A Musical Review

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It’s a special all-singing, all-dancing (except for the dancing) episode of Stuff You Like! In honor of the Les Misérables movie adaptation coming out today, Ursa musically summarizes the entire three-hour stage musical in four minutes. You’re welcome!

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  • FullofQuestions1

    Bravo, Jill! Seeing the movie tomorrow, can’t wait! What’s your favorite song from Les Mis?

    • Jill Bearup

      Ha! I remember asking a friend of mine that once, and he said, “I think it’d be easier to pick out the ones I *don’t* like”.

      Sooo…I don’t like Stars, and I don’t like Little People much, and Castle on a Cloud is OK. The only one that’s ever made me cry is Bring Him Home, I love One Day More for it’s unapologetic epicness, and I do have a soft spot for I Dreamed A Dream.

      Um…I don’t know. 🙂

      • FullofQuestions1

        Aww, you don’t like Stars? I have a world class soft spot for it. My personal favorites are the reprise of Do You Hear the People Sing?, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, The Confrontation, Work Song, and I Dreamed a Dream. Javert’s last song (don’t want to give away spoilers) is also pretty awesome.

        “A Heart Full of Love” never did it for me.

        • Jill Bearup

          I forgot about A Heart Full Of Love. And no, never did it for me either. Squeaky soprano plus ‘oh we’re so in love random stranger’ plotline – bleh.

          I love Do You Hear the People Sing? so much. And the Work Song. And Empty Chairs…though I’ll admit, I’m picky about how that one’s performed.

  • Thomas Stockel

    That was pretty gawd-damn awesome, Ursa!

    I’ve seen the musical and loved it, saw the PBS special and loved it.  Saw the movie yesterday…and…meh.

    • Jill Bearup

      Thank you! (I’m going to see the movie too, I’ll let you all know how it goes).

  • Muthsarah

    Gonna take a hint from the whole Episode number thing that you did this one a looooong time ago.

    I saw the movie today.  I liked it.  Didn’t love it.  There was soooooo much money on-screen.  It looked fantastic.  It told a great story.  It was long and stuff, and rarely dragged.  But the producers should be flogged with a dead monkey for what they did in putting this cast together.  Only half of ’em were actually good.  WHY THE HELL DID THEY CAST A FAMOUS MUSICAL WITH PEOPLE WHO COULDN’T SING?!!  Are people really gonna show for Crowe?  I give Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter’s voices a Thenardi-Eff.  And while Colm Wilkinson’s Jean Valjean was a Hugh Jackt to follow, Wolverine’s shaky voice was claws for much frustration.*

    (Sorry, I turned into Gene Shalit there.)

    The rest of the cast did pretty well, though only Hathaway, Barks, and whoever it is that played Marius felt strong enough that they MIGHT have done well on the stage.  And I know that a film is different, but…seriously, who think the movie would have done worse by thinking long-term, getting the best cast it can, and creating a production to last the ages, rather than plugging ill-fitting names into some really, really important roles?  They only had one shot at making a movie like this (I can’t see this one being rebooted in ten years) and they made too many concessions, really ruining some wonderful characters that just didn’t translate AT ALL.

    It was so distracting that, I don’t hafta but will say anyway, I did not shed even a single tear.  Happen to know the going market price on a heart?  Buying or selling, I don’t care, it’s useful information.

    The movie was good, due to the supporting cast and general production values, but that’s the most I can say.  They should have done better.  They should have gone all-out and paid a very popular (and profitable) musical its just dues.  They had all the material they needed, they just needed a competent director, lots of money, and a fantastic cast.  Two out of three ain’t good enough.

    * – He wasn’t terrible, just disappointing for a lead.

    • Jill Bearup

      Sharp eyes there! Yes, this was from a loooong time ago, back before I had a decent camera and knew how to encode for better resolution.

      I’ll probably go see the movie on my own, because, as I may have mentioned previously, I’m a terrible, terrible cinema companion, because I wish to share my thoughts in real time. Also, I might hum the tunes.

      • Sofie Liv

         Does that mean, if you are still on for a visit to a theatre, that you are one of those I will have to shush all the time out of fear of being thrown out?

        Well, that is going to be an exsperience to look forward to. Uh I know, we could take Liam in to see the London production of Les Mis, then sit on each side of him and sing all the songs, we can even sing the duets as genuine duets.

        • Jill Bearup

          If they could hear us over the noise on stage, we’d deserve kicking out. 🙂 How much do I love the West End Les Mis? Very much. Very, very much. 

          • Sofie Liv

             To be honest.. i’ve never seen the London production of Les mis, i’ve been meaning to, but I just never got around to it!

            I’ve seen Phantom of the opera, Avenue Q, Lion King, Wicked, Sweeney todd, Jesus Christ superstar, 39 steps, Carmen, Othello, we will rock you and tons of smaller more obscure things in London, but never Les Mis. It’s been on my list since I was barely a teenager!

            I’ve seen a Danish production of it though… wasn’t the same, they translated the lyrics -_-;

  • Dennis_Fischer

    So, Ursa, I take it you are reviewing the stage play, and while I love Victor Hugo’s story and novel, I’m not quite so charmed with the musical adaptation.  The songs are largely forgettable, I wasn’t terribly moved the way I have been by some prior versions, and Marius, who falls in love at first sight, is a character of little depth, but since Cosette likes him, we are expected to overlook his contradictions and lack of substance.  I did enjoy the movie version; however, Russell Crowe is not a great singer and director Tom Hooper has a fondness for closeups that allow for examination of every pore, hair, and flaw upon the actors’ faces, but in his favor, he does get some fine performances.  I did find both Sasha Byron Cohen and Helene Bondham Carter appropriate amusing and making the most of their comic songs and cruel sensibilities.

    • Well he did direct The Damned United which got an unbelievable performance from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough, though that film had a lot of inaccuracies like the book did, I still think it was one of the most memorable biopics, at least for me. Also he may have did that feelgood romp about a stuttering king or something.

      • Jill Bearup

        Marius and Cosette are somewhat dimwitted. Thankfully the rest of the characters always made up for it, in my opinion. Also I have had an irrational dislike of squeaky soprano parts since forever, because I am biased against things I can’t sing without sounding like a chipmunk. 

        I am really looking forward to seeing the film now: bad or good, it’s going to be interesting…

  • Liz

    A great review of a classic musical based on an  amazing novel.

    • Jill Bearup

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it.