La La Land broke records at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards. This musical movie won in each category for which it was nominated, including best musical/comedy film. Damien Chazelle won the awards for directing and screenplay; Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone took home the awards for best actor and actress, respectively; and composer Justin Hurwitz won for best score as well as best original song with lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for “City of Stars.” View More
Damien Chazelle’s plucky modern musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is a box-office smash ($109 million to date) and awards darling, earning a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. But backlash against the crowd-pleaser has steadily escalated online, with some critics calling the film’s winking callbacks to classic movies such as Singin’ in the Rain and On the Town both distracting and unoriginal, and its leading duo’s song-and-dance routines forgettable.
Here are five entirely original picks that are now in theaters or available to watch at home:
The Lure (2017)
In this lurid reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, teenage mermaids (Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska) fall for a guitarist (Jakub Gierszał) and become man-eating strippers in ’80s-era Poland. “Possibly the weirdest thing you’ll see this year,” Dazed magazine wrote of the Polish-language horror musical (with English subtitles), which washed ashore at Sundance Film Festival last year.
Where to watch: Now playing in New York; expands to 11 additional cities throughout February and March, including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Dallas and San Francisco.
You may be more familiar with John Carney’s other movie musicals: 2007’s Once, whose Falling Slowly took best original song at the Academy Awards; and last year’s Sing Street, a retro coming-of-age romp that became a critical sensation. But the Irish filmmaker’s underrated Begin Again is equally charming, with winning performances from Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo as an unlikely musical duo who hit the streets of New York to record an album.
Romance & Cigarettes (2005)
John Turturro’s romantic musical comedy bombed, netting just $557,500 in the USA and 54% positive reviews on aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com from critics, who dismissed it as “a classic awful” and “little fun to watch.” Still, it’s worth revisiting if only for its star-studded cast led by the late James Gandolfini, who plays a chain-smoking steel worker torn between his wife (Susan Sarandon) and mistress (Kate Winslet).
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Baz Luhrmann’s splashy, tragic romance starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor is partially responsible for reviving the movie musical, earning eight Oscar nominations (including best picture) and $179 million worldwide, despite barely breaking even stateside ($57.4 million on a $50 million budget). The film even spawned a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart: a racy rendition of Patti LaBelle’s Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and Lil’ Kim.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
A Czech immigrant (Björk) working at a factory in 1960s Washington to save money for her son’s (Vladica Kostic) eye surgery may seem like unusual terrain for a drama where characters break into song. But with a soundtrack written almost entirely by the Icelandic singer and a sweeping narrative written and directed by Lars von Trier (Melancholia), the polarizing Danish musical picked up the Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival’s highest honor, a best actress Golden Globe nod for Björk and a best original song Oscar nomination for I’ve Seen It All.
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