Sounds strange, I know, but these are moments of brilliant song and dance. Yet the films they’re from aren’t musicals, which makes these displays of theatricality even more...well, theatrical. Whether they’re performances or hallucinations, this is my Top 5 (with honourable mentions). These are only from movies, though. Musical moments from TV shows is an entirely different post, which I
might will definitely do later.
1. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” performed by Heath Ledger, Ten Things I Hate About You
I loved this movie from the moment it started, but the moment that crowned it all was this performance. Having upset Kat (Julia Stiles), Patrick (Heath Ledger) decides he must sacrifice his dignity to win her back. So while she’s on the oval doing soccer practice, he bribes the leader of the marching band, hijacks the PA system, and serenades her with “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You” from the bleachers. The whole marching band joins in, he dances wildly and continues to sing even when security tries to drag him away. A moment of pure awesomeness and one that makes you miss Heath Ledger even more.
2. “Moon River” performed by Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The most iconic image of Audrey from BaT’s is surely the one with the jewellery and the LBD and the cigarette holder. There’s no doubt she’s glamorous as Holly Golightly. Yet this scene shows just how beautiful she is, as she sits on the fire escape in jeans and a towel-turban, plucking a guitar and singing in her thin, whispery voice. I have to admit I like the song Holly sings in the book better, but Moon River is a fantastic song. Holly looks so far away from the high-class prostitute, and you get a sense of just how lonely she really is.
3. “La Marseillaise”, performed by every non-Nazi at Rick’s, Casablanca
Casablanca is a truly wonderful film, and this has to count as one of the most emotional scenes. In Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) bar, German soldiers start to sing the German national anthem. The others, mostly runaways from invaded countries, begin to look disheartened. Then Laszlo orders the house band to play the French national anthem. Slowly, everyone else begins to sing. The look on their faces as they sing are breathtaking – such emotion, such patriotism, such determination. They drown out the Germans, and the audience cheers while wiping their eyes.
4. Random Morning-After Dance, performed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a large crowd, (500) Days of Summer
This is quite an odd movie, but I like it. Clearly, events are seen from Tom’s (JGL) point of view and this scene is the best example. After finally sleeping with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), Tom is exultantly happy to say the least. He walks down the street imaging everyone congratulating him and when he gets to the park, thing go full-on Glee-like and everyone starts dancing while “You Make My Dreams Come True” plays in the background. Then a little blue cartoon birdie flies down to see Tom. No, I’m not making that up. It’s that kind of movie.
5. “Jai Ho”, performed by Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, and a bunch of randoms, Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire is played as a straight romance-drama all the way through, but at the end it’s like the writers went ‘Damn, this is meant to be an Indian movie and we don’t have anything remotely Bollywood in it’. So, throwing conventions and possibly reality out the window, the movie ends with Jamal and Latika dancing in a train station, backed by everyone else on the platform. “Jai Ho”, a joyous song about love, fits the movie’s triumphant end well. At the end, the crowd boards the trains and Jamal and Latika walk off hand-in-hand. It’s a beautiful and somewhat unexpected way to end the film.
· The scene in, of all movies, Scream 2, where Derek upset by Sidney’s ‘we can’t go out because I don’t want you getting hurt’ speech earlier, sits glumly at the cafeteria table with her and two others. Suddenly, he starts singing “I Think I Love You”, quietly at first, then at full volume, jumping onto the table and being clapped by the rest of the students. Sidney, unable to resist such a declaration of love, kisses him. An unexpectedly sweet moment for a slasher flick.
· The Plastics (and Cady) performing ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ in Mean Girls. Yet another hilarious moment in this sharp, observant, genius film.
· In Girl, Interrupted where Susannah steals a guitar and she and Lisa sing to a locked-up Polly, trying to keep her spirits up. One of the few heart-warming moments from this wonderfully dark, thought-provoking movie.