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January 25 2006

Film Musical Book Liberally Quotes Joss. 360 pages, 30 quotes o' Joss.

I originally learned of the book via a capsule book review in the Washington Post, which reads in part:

And he has other tics, such as constantly quoting Joss Whedon, creator of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." No doubt Whedon is indeed a "virtual encyclopedia of musical film history," as Muir maintains; that hardly means one wants to know his opinion of "Oklahoma!"


Ooh, nice snottiness from the Post! And then there's this from that same WP review:

[T]hen there are Muir's bizarrely painstaking critiques of fly-by-night flicks like "Spice World" (remember Ginger, Scary, Sporty and Posh?) and the "American Idol" spin-off "From Justin to Kelly."


Critique of Spice World? I'm all over this book! (And, honestly, the reviewer completely dashes her own credibility for omitting Baby from the list of Spices - what kind of researching is that?)
I quite liked Baby Spice.

Now that I just sent my fandom credibility up the river, I'm off to buy cheese cake.
There was a baby spice?
Yes. She was about 70, but dressed in white with a lot of makeup. Hence, baby spice.
I bought Spice World on video, it's an outstanding movie. Plus I fancied Sporty Spice with a passion.


Anyhow this book looks good, I'll see if it's in the book shops here.
First, gossi, I have no words . . .

Second, I thought my crush on Sporty was an aberration - thanks for that, Simon!

Third, the video for "Wannabe" is, by any standards, a classic. Really.

Back on-topic: ordered the book, despite the many factual errors averted to by one of the Amazon reviewers.
Wow. That makes me want to buy the book, not dismiss it.
I wonder if it mentions the episode of the Muppets when it was celebrating that it was being shown in 100 countries and they had musical numbers for all 100 countries. For Japan it was simply "Yo--------kohama where the ...."
I read through the customer reviews and one of them says that the book is full of "errors of fact, misunderstandings, etc." That doesn't sound promising.

Just saw SNT's post acknowledge this. whoops.

[ edited by holymother on 2006-01-25 21:20 ]

[ edited by holymother on 2006-01-25 21:21 ]
I've completely lost track of what this thread was supposed to be about, but it's cracking me up. So, speaking of critiquing Spice Girls...

[ edited by barest_smidgen on 2006-01-25 21:43 ]
Plus I fancied Sporty Spice with a passion.

Now I know why The Sun always used to insist she had a fan or two!
Good thing I never mentioned that I bought several of their singles *phew*.
Oh god. Next you'll be telling me you liked Buffy.
Plus I fancied Sporty Spice with a passion.


Since we're in a confessional mood ... you know 'H' from Steps ? I always thought he seemed like a really likeable fellow and not in the least annoying.
Saje, that has to be sarcasm!

While we're confessing.. you know, I actually never minded Riley, Dawn or Glory that much. In fact, I kinda liked them.

And as to the book, as much as I adored Once More With Feeling, I'm just not interested in musicals very much. I'm sure if I saw something of that calibre then I would probably give it a chance, but in general I think very few of them actually manage to have clever songs which develop the stories and characters, rather act as interruptions to the plot. I find it ironic that some quarters would insult OMWF (for example some of the C-list 'celebrities' who commented during UK Channel 4's 100 Greatest Musicals) when in fact it is superior to many of them in several respects, the ingenious weaving of the songs with the development of the characters and plot.

Also, I'm just not a big fan of many of the styles of music that happen to be used in musicals. I generally like rock music, in different forms, indie, classic, alternative, progressive... and unfortunately from what I've seen most of them are kind of annoying musically, in my opinion.
Okay, I'll come clean. I saw the Spice Girls movie. I don't remember anything about it, but I saw it.
Okay, who opened the gates to bizarro world? And why is everyone here suddenly a Spice Girl fan?

Also: I'm with Gossi. Baby Spice was sorta okayish.

*flushes last small bit of fandom-cred*
Sarcasm, moi ? ;)

Gotta weigh in for Scary here. By far the most attractive IMO. Baby had a head shaped like a breadbin. Flame on ;).

Razor: Yeah, agree, i'm not a huge musical fan either. OMWF had a genuine reason within the plot for the singing and, as you say, every song helped develop character and story which doesn't feel the case with most musicals (i'm especially not fond of the 'I'm hanging out the washing, gosh, I feel a song coming on' school of contrivance). Tho' I do have a habit of telling people that there's only about 4 I can stand and then as soon as I start to list them the number grows and grows (e.g. West Side Story, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - mainly for the barn raising - and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Err, and Grease cos I mean everyone likes Grease, right ? And OMWF obviously. And Brigadoon. Oh, and the Xena episode was sort of amusing. And so on, and so on ;).
Thank crap, other secret SpiceWorld fans! It is a well-hidden, but much-loved gem in my DVD collection.
I saw Spice World on HBO. I swear, the movie would be going along all right, and then the Spice Girls would show up again. All the guest stars were funny, but the Spice Girls, not so much. I think I didn't get a lot of the comedy or attraction or whatever because I'm American. (I think I don't get a lot of stuff all the time because I'm American.) ;-)
No, billz, I think you got exactly as much as was there to begin with ;).
I've been mucking aroudn with various approaches to writing a book at least partially about musicals (1955 to the present) for a while, so this obviously caught my attention, and I might be a bit biased. But the factual errors the one guy caught are pretty shocking...I can't even imagine why anyone would think that Meatloaf wrote the "Rocky Horror" songs. I mean, it's not like "The Time Warp" sounds a great like "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights"...and it's not like Meat Loaf even writes songs at all. ("Paradise" btw was written by Jim Steinman.

On the other hand, obsessing about "Spice World" (which I haven't caught up with yet -- didn't really gather that it was a "real" musical) and Joss quotes are all cool with me.
I love Oklahoma. I so want to know what Joss thinks of it. OK, maybe I will order it after all. (Thanks, Wash Post.)

Veering way off topic, if you're saying bobster that Steinman essentially "made Meatloaf" (ahem), I agree. He had some interesting solo stuff, too, though it all sounds kinda dated to me now.

Back to the topic: all an editor (much less an author) has to do is look on imdb.com, allmusic.com, and the wikipedia to verify film/music facts these days. Any two of these or similar sources would give you bedrock validation of your facts. It's shameless, even if Applause Books is cranking out a huge stream of stuff (and I didn't look to see if they are).
Spice World . . . I can't believe I'm thinking of buying this DVD. All you Brits have something to be ashamed of, making me even want to watch this. Now, if I can get a girl friend to go into the record store and casually slip this into a trio of DVDs, which I'll pay for, so she won't be accused of, you know, well it might work. Ergghh. Ooops, must buy plain brown wrapper.
Ya'll who hate musicals...try some Sondheim. Both Joss and I are huge fans.

Sondheim can be challenging but is also extremely rewarding.
Buffyactsing is definitely right. Most people who say they don't like musicals have just seen a lot of bad ones. (And, by the way, not everyone who's into musicals likes "Grease" -- I detest the movie...and it was largely shot at my high school!)

As far as Sondheim is concerned, everyone here should definitely check out "Sweeney Todd", which I believe is now available on DVD in a great 1980s performance featuring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury.

Also, RBB, I'm no expert on Meat Loaf (the singer or the food), but as far as I can tell, the Loafster has never really written songs at all. I could be wrong, but looks like he always performs songs by other writers -- not that there's anything wrong with that, I mean it worked for Elvis Presley. If any Loafers want to correct me on this point, it's cool.
Jim Steinman of course, who has written the 'classic' Meat Loaf stuff, also has written a musical about vampires, based on Roman Polanski's film 'The Fearless Vampire Killers'. Haven't seen it because - singing vampires? Come on. But it has been running for almost 10 years in Vienna and in Germany.

And you know who else is really big in Germany right now?
Sporty Spice. No, really.
This thread made me laugh.

If there was an Olympics of bad music taste, Germany would win gold medals every single time. (I am German, I am totally allowed to say this). This is the country where David Hasselhof is a rock god. Expect a duet with Sporty Spice soon.

On second thoughts, I would actually pay good money to see that.
In my experience Hasselhoff is to Americans what the war is to Basil Fawlty. ("You're from Germany? Isn't David Hasselhoff big in Germany?")

Thanks for bringing that up, Miranda. :) Or should I say Don't mention Hasselhoff?

Duet's gonna happen, I'm afraid.
Speaking of Hasselhoff, for all the non-Germans who can't imagine him without the bathing suit, here is the link to something that I can only describe as slightly surreal - turn up your speakers (or not - your chioce).

ETA: I think I just ruined whatever there was left of German reputation regarding music ...

[ edited by Ariane on 2006-01-27 00:15 ]
Actually, Ariane, your choice of words - "for all the non-Germans who can't imagine him without the bathing suit" - left me with a quite different, and unfortunate, visual . . .
omg, I'm so sorry, SNT! It was late when I posted, and I can only apologize for the images I put in your head ...

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