Proving that "One Day More" from Les Miserables is absolutely bombproof.
September 9, 2015 11:09 AM   Subscribe

 
Challenge accepted.
posted by SansPoint at 11:18 AM on September 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really do want to know what sort of bomb it would take to eradicate Les Mis and, in fact, all of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's output, and perhaps the man himself, from history.

Which isn't to say that this wasn't delightful, for certain values of delight.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:29 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


"[Les Miserables] has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer." (Wiki)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2015 [20 favorites]


Wow, maybe all the glurge-y musicals of the 80s ran together for me. We're going to need a bigger bomb.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:39 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Worth it all for the chorus at 2:08
posted by Mchelly at 11:41 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The mega-musicals of the '80s look awfully good next to the movie musicals of the 2010s. (And Les Mis was always the best of the bunch, anyway.)
posted by thetortoise at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


You want to make something bomb? Two words: Cat Organ.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:46 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a recent convert, having been very snobbish about LES MIS: I think this is great!
posted by alasdair at 11:57 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the thread just below this: One At A Time.



Why are we all faaacing the same waaaaaay?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:58 AM on September 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


By the way, for those of you who don't know what a cat organ is... WARNING: CANNOT BE UNHEARD.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:03 PM on September 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Norm Lewis. Alfie Boe.

Lea Salonga.
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Les Mis, you say? Oh good, an excuse to put before you once again the man, the legend, the luminescent Philip Quast.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:11 PM on September 9, 2015 [20 favorites]


I really do want to know what sort of bomb it would take to eradicate Les Mis and, in fact, all of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's output, and perhaps the man himself, from history.

Wow, maybe all the glurge-y musicals of the 80s ran together for me. We're going to need a bigger bomb.


Maybe you just don't know wow to love him? Or have you gone past the point of no return? Because if you talked to him, he'd probably [be] telling you... that [he's] not going. Even if you waited 525,000 minutes.

You could journey to the Heavyside Layer, but one town's very like another when you're head's down over your pieces brother. But maybe relax, and go take in a science fiction/double feature, and you'll wind up too much in love to care.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:12 PM on September 9, 2015 [24 favorites]


*cough* 525,600 minutes *cough*
posted by mhum at 12:21 PM on September 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


I don't want to admit how disappointed in myself I am so instead I'll just claim that I was trying to spare you all the ear worm.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:29 PM on September 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought I'd caught all the lyrics, but I suddenly see more.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:41 PM on September 9, 2015


I am, for better or worse, pretty musical-resistant. But Les Mis bypasses all my defenses and gets its claws deep into my heart. Whether it's because I'm a sentimental leftie, or because the novel that the musical is based on is so good, I'm all cried out by the end of seeing the musical. Heck, I can barely even think about the final reprise of Do You Hear the People Sing without welling up. As far as I'm concerned, it's simply the best musical.
posted by Kattullus at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


Heck, I can barely even think about the final reprise of Do You Hear the People Sing without welling up.

Oh, good, it's not just me.
posted by briank at 12:56 PM on September 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would well up at the Do You Hear The People Sing reprise except I'm always already completely sobbing by then. "To love another person is to see the face of God" just _destroys_ me every time.

(I know the movie had problems but having the Bishop be there at the end was genius.)
posted by kmz at 1:04 PM on September 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


I thought I'd caught all the lyrics, but I suddenly see more.

Would you say that it's like every line shows a new fantastic point of view? Like a post painted with all the colours of the wind?

Maybe you should take pity on the poor unfortunate souls who don't have friends on the other side, the little people waking up to say "hakuna matata." It's a scary world out there. Though you may be so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd, trust in me, you don't want to be caught painting the roses red... after all... you never know who's watching you from underneath a rock.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:06 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


... I'll just claim that I was trying to spare you all the ear worm.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:29 PM on September 9


Too late. TOO LATE.
posted by blurker at 1:07 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


(I know the movie had problems but having the Bishop be there at the end was genius.)

Especially given the casting!

I also kind of just want to put it out there that I think that maybe... maybe... Crowe's "Suicide" was superior to the Quast versions that I've seen.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:10 PM on September 9, 2015


Could he do the entire musical this way? I would watch that. In IMAX.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:10 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dammit. Now there's nothing for it but for me to watch a few dozen versions of Javert's Suicide.
posted by blurker at 1:20 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


sparklemotion, you want a controversial opinion, how about this: the big problem with Crowe's casting in the movie isn't his singing ability; it's that he's a Valjean, not a Javert. He's too alive, too outdoorsy, too Romantic; he looks like he'd want to eat and drink, not obsess over straight lines. Nobody who made a great Jack Aubrey could play Javert, come on.
posted by thetortoise at 1:23 PM on September 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Any time you think about complaining about a Lloyd Weber musical, just remember that it could be worse, it could be Starlight Express, the rollerskatingest musical about trains.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:36 PM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nay, nothing can be as dismal as Aspects of Love.
posted by peripathetic at 1:41 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know perfectly well that you have no intention of putting up with two acts of this.

I mean come on.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:45 PM on September 9, 2015


I've never even seen the musical itself, and I need to be by myself and have some recovery time afterward to listen to "Bring Him Home".
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:48 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember watching a "behind the scenes" documentary about the first time the cast heard Colm Wilkinson singing Bring Them Home and all fell to pieces. I wish I could remember the documentary, because there were some quotes about him that were priceless.
posted by blurker at 1:52 PM on September 9, 2015


Do you guys remember how there was that one classic movie that everyone respects but somehow an impressionable teenage was introduced to this BEFORE the Gloria Swanson movie?
posted by sparklemotion at 1:52 PM on September 9, 2015


Ok, that was fantastic.

Les Mis makes me well up, too. It's not that I think it's bad, I guess that I feel like it's manipulative. Doesn't matter; it still gets me every time.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:55 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bah, if loving Les Misérables is wrong I don't want to be right.
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on September 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Dammit. Bring HIM home.

That's what I get for multitasking.
posted by blurker at 2:09 PM on September 9, 2015


I've always enjoyed the South Park version (NSFW, naturally).
posted by zachlipton at 2:17 PM on September 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've always preferred the Forbidden Broadway version.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:20 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess that I feel like it's manipulative.

Welcome to art.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:20 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, I think it's an interesting question you raise. Art is supposed to cause an emotional response in the perceiver. So if some it can be manipulative (in a pejorative sense) and some of it not, what's the difference?
posted by persona au gratin at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2015


The best one-man One Day More is this live one. Bonus because he's doing imitations of particular actors.

I saw the current revival with Ramin Karimloo. Never been the biggest fan of Bring Him Home, but seeing it live, so beautifully done, was incredible.
posted by Mavri at 2:32 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think the "this is manipulative" criticism of art is an interesting one, because I think most people could articulate an "I'll know it when I see it" sense of when a piece of art is manipulative in a bad way versus genuinely cathartic or emotion-inducing. For me, it's when something goes over the top with the emotion or with the plot (i.e., oh it's not enough that the wife and child died, you had the kill the tiny puppy too?!?) , or when it hits a strong emotional beat or trope without subtlety or restraint. More broadly, it's any time you notice you're being emotionally manipulated because for whatever reason, the work has just ruined your suspension of disbelief or has otherwise reminded you of its artifice. I think this is why musicals as a genre don't work for some people, they can't get past the stylized form (why do people burst into song? why is everyone singing their feelings?) so everything just feels artificial and manipulative.
posted by yasaman at 2:46 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


And of course we have One Test More from finals at University of Toronto.
posted by zachlipton at 2:49 PM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


zachlipton: And of course we have One Test More from finals at University of Toronto.

Oh goodness, that bearded guy in the gray sweater who's so ostentatiously pissed off that I was sure that he was another actor... nope, he's just really pissed off. Poor guy.
posted by Kattullus at 3:01 PM on September 9, 2015


Not a 'tube aficionado, but this chap is the first I've seen that truly deserves to be a "youtube celebrity"!
posted by sammyo at 6:23 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I should be in bed right now, but instead I have to tell you about this:

In late July, I was working at a medieval festival in a small British town. It had been a difficult weekend for a lot of reasons; at the moment of this anecdote I'd spent about half an hour searching for the site's only water point, which turned out to be unmarked and hidden away behind a building. So I'm trudging around exhaustedly in my medieval dress when I hear the faraway strains of "Do You Hear The People Sing?"

The cab driver who'd driven me into town from the station had mentioned that his daughter was in Les Mis that weekend, so I guess there was a schoolkids' production or concert happening. What happened at that moment was that a group of teenagers strolled through the park, past all the medieval people, singing that last reprise and generally owning the world the way teenagers do. I mean, those years are a time of peaks and troughs, and no joy abides-- but I remember the fierce joy of striding down the street in a group of friends, and whatever your various tensions may be, in that moment you feel unassailable. To my heat-exhausted, dehydrated brain, their voices (which were really quite good) spoke of happiness and hope.

So of course I joined in for a couple of phrases as they passed, and one or two looked over and grinned and gave me the raised-fist revolutionary salute. After a whole weekend spent placating people and managing drama and answering the same questions hundreds of times, that moment felt strangely clean, like a blessing of sorts.

I was about their age-- 14 or so-- when I first saw Les Misérables, and got hooked like hell and got the cast album and read the book in English and then in French. Hugo's message came through loud and clear: Change the fucking world. It was the late '80s, and for a short while it seemed (despite everything) that the world really was changing for the better. (This was before Tiananmen Square, of course.)

But, you know, maybe this generation will be the one to do it. Maybe some or all of that band of singing, striding kids in that arse-end-of-fuck-all town will be among those who will change the world. If they manage to undo even a bit of the damage my lot have done, they'll have accomplished something. (I do vote, but these days it's hard to shake the conviction that it doesn't matter.)

Anyway, you probably shouldn't credit this part-- but I couldn't help seeing that moment as something of an omen, that there may be reason to hope that the next generation is in good hands. That yes, possibly even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:37 PM on September 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


This is an excellent link. It's greatly improved my morning.

I've tried reading the book before, but I get too caught up in my emotions reading just the preface.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Change the fucking world.

I am also a long-time Les Mis geek, and sure it is a little cheesy, but in part I continue to find it moving because it evidently resonates not just with theater dorks but also with people really engaged in that project of changing the world:

Hong Kong
Taiwan
Turkey
posted by naoko at 8:04 AM on September 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I watched all the links again this morning and got teary-eyed. So glad this thread exists so I know I'm not alone.
posted by thetortoise at 9:24 AM on September 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hugo's message came through loud and clear: Change the fucking world.

I found the message a little bleaker, myself: "the world is fucking shitty and changing it is fucking hard."

Valjean is sentenced, and Fantine dies, both ground by the wheels of poverty. Gavroche's life as a homeless urchin is more rough and dangerous than fun and whimsical. The rebellion fails and most of the revolutionaries are killed at the barricades. There's a whole lot of misery in Les Mis before you get to the redemption.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:41 PM on September 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


the big problem with Crowe's casting in the movie isn't his singing ability; it's that he's a Valjean, not a Javert.

He's too much of a bruiser to be a Valjean, surely? Not ascetic enough.

Absolutely perfectly cast as Jack Aubrey though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good point. He would be a good Valjean in some ways (could totally see him as mayor) but doesn't have quite the right kind of intellect or spiritual intensity.
posted by thetortoise at 3:05 PM on September 10, 2015


or me, it's when something goes over the top with the emotion or with the plot (i.e., oh it's not enough that the wife and child died, you had the kill the tiny puppy too?!?) , or when it hits a strong emotional beat or trope without subtlety or restraint.

In narrative forms, at least, I think people often feel manipulated when an emotional beat feels unearned. When we feel that we are being made to respond to a device that exists solely to evoke a respond, and which depends upon something extrinsic to the work, rather than the story, characters, setting and other intrinsic elements. But identifying which elements are intrinsic and extrinsic is often a question of understanding the medium. I think that musical theatre offers plenty of opportunities for manipulation, but also an unusual number of opportunities to be misunderstood as manipulative by those who are not fully conversant with its aesthetic conventions.
posted by howfar at 4:37 PM on September 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


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