BY EMILY GAGNE
I love a full-fledged, break-out-into-random-song musical as much as the next twenty-something girl who still watches Glee (Darren Criss, is a babe, OK?!). But I often find that the best movie musical moments are those that are embedded in films that aren’t musicals at all. I mean, even if you didn’t love (500) Days of Summer, I’m sure you were at least slightly charmed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Hall & Oates-themed post-coital sing-song.
2012 provided a (jazz) handful of solid non-musical musical moments. Some made me want to dance down the theatre aisles, while others that made me want to sob into my popcorn.
3) “Ladies of Tampa,” Magic Mike
This was the moment that Magic Mike went from running late-night talk show joke to Oscar contender! (Seriously, it made the Best Original Song short list and its singer, Matthew McConaughey, has been campaigning hard for a nomination.) It’s a silly little ditty really, with male dance revue owner Dallas (McConaughey) ripping off a few flirty chords dedicated to his club’s dedicated female fan base before whipping off his chaps and grinding in a G-string. But it has been in my head ever since I saw the movie for the first time (yes, I saw it multiple times) back in the summer, and I think it really summarizes Dallas as a character, not to mention the film. Yes, it’s cheesy and a little try-hard, but it’s also remarkably charming and, underneath all the body oil and cowboy hats, honestly well-meaning.
2) The dance in Silver Linings Playbook
While Silver Linings Playbook is all kinds of amazing, there is one scene that stands out high above all the other, Oscar clip-worthy ones. It involves a truly touching dance sequence shared by the lead characters, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper). As they prance around to the sounds of The White Stripes in front of a room of their friends, family and a slew of professional dancers, they put their hearts on the line and out to each other. Even their minor screw-ups are endearing. After all, this isn’t a dance movie. It’s a movie about two people who find each other through dance, and other less choreographed circumstances.
1) Take This Waltz‘s “Video Killed the Radio Star”-set Scrambler scene
If we were making actual Top 10 of 2012 lists, Take This Waltz would be in my Top 5, if not my Top 3. I loved the film, the latest from Canadian girl Sarah Polley (Away From Her), with the same reckless passion that Michelle Williams’ character, married Torontonian Margot, held for her neighbour Daniel (the drool-worthy Luke Kirby). It was a gorgeous movie all around, with a depressingly honest message about both life and love (“New things get old.”). The moment that really stood out to me though, was the sequence in which Margot and Daniel go on a secret day date to Toronto’s Centre Island. While there, they ride the infamous indoor Scrambler, known for playing pop music as you spin around in near-darkness. As gravity pulls them close and “Video Killed the Radio Star” blares in the background, the two are oh-so-tempted to kiss. They don’t. But as The Buggles so perfectly put it, at this point, they can’t really rewind. By scheduling such rendezvous, they’ve already gone too far.