Tag Archives: Kristen Wiig

Sound & Motion Pictures: unexpected singing scenes

Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by an unexpected singing scene in films that are not about singing at all. Usually it ends up being a feel-good moment, on occasions it turns out to be a remarkable bit of the film. Here’s my favorite ones:

1. Almost Famous – Tiny Dancer, cast + Elton John

Although the whole film is about music, the ensemble singing along with Elton John’s song on their way home is uplifting.

2. Ten Things I Hate About You – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Heath Ledger + Frankie Valli

Best way to apologise and win back the girl, it’s a tie with John Cusack holding a boombox under his girl’s window.

3. My Best Friend’s Wedding – I Say A Little Prayer, cast + Dionne Warwick

Effective way to tell a story and charm the audience with a classic song, plus Rupert Everett is at his best.

4. Young Frankenstein – Puttin’ On The Ritz, Gene Wilder + Irving Berlin

How would you present your recently-raised-from-the-dead creature to the wide world? With a vaudeville number, of course!

5. Muriel’s Wedding – Waterloo, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths + Abba

Show the mean girls that you don’t care and sing some Abba!

6. The Fisher King – Lydia The Tattooed Lady, Robin Williams + Harold Arlen and Yip Armburg

A foolproof method to captivate a quirky girl’s attention is to sing a Groucho Marx’s song.

7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Space Oddity, Kristen Wiig + David Bowie

The confidence boost that an introverted needs: Kristen Wiig singing a Bowie’s song.

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Filed under Odds and ends, Sound & Motion Pictures

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Director: Ben Stiller, Main Cast: Ben StillerKristen WiigShirley MacLaineKathryn HahnAdam ScottSean Penn;

I’m not a fan of Ben Stiller so, usually, I try to avoid his films but I gave this one a chance, mostly due to the positive vibe of the trailer and the idea of a daydreamer as main character (something I can relate to). So I stepped into the cinema with low expectations ready to see what’s what. Well, it was a nice surprise: Stiller as the titular Walter Mitty, introverted and quite man who works for Life magazine, delivers a performance that’s unostentatious, subdued and quite effective. Mitty lives an anonymous life as supervisor of the negatives  assets department, witnessing stories and adventures of others. He escapes the plainness of his days through vivid, fulfilling reveries until, one day, Walter starts to live the experiences he only dreamt about in order to retrieve a precious negative for the cover of the final issue of the magazine. We go along for the ride with Walter and meet bizarre characters, see breathtaking scenery and appreciate the small things of life. It is a pleasant journey and “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”, as T.S. Elliot said, which fits quite nicely as ending of this movie. The supporting cast is very good, from Kristen Wiig as Walter’s love interest to Shirley MacLaine as his mother to Adam Scott as arrogant but not too bright executive. We get also a cameo of Sean Penn as the elusive but extremely talented photographer  who sets in motion the whole thing. I’ve read angry reviews about excessive product placement in this movie, so much that was considered distracting and detrimental, but I wasn’t particularly bothered by it, maybe because I was too surprised by Ben Stiller’s acting and enjoying the beautiful cinematography. Unexpected. —7/10

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Filed under Seen at the cinema