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AlmostAGhost

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Should this movie be on the AFI list?  

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  1. 1. Should this movie be on the AFI list?

    • It's a grand old flag
      0
    • Send the word over there
      7

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  • Poll closed on 05/01/20 at 07:00 AM

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Paul & Amy salute to 1942's Jimmy Cagney musical extravaganza Yankee Doodle Dandy! They analyze the film as a template for modern musical biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody, break down a bizarre proposal scene, and learn how the real life political views of Jimmy Cagney clashed with his subject George M. Cohan.

Plus: listeners offer their thoughts on Cabaret!

For Intolerance week, what movie set do you think could inspire a great mall!

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Pretty easy no vote for me. Yes, Cagney's performance is engaging, and yes the songs are memorable. But this movie carries a lot of the same narrative problems I have with Bohemian Rhapsody and other bio-pics of its type. It doesn't really bother to tell a story, just "plays the hits." There is no narrative momentum; the whole thing just trips along from event to event, like "This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened." None of the dramatic moments have any real consequence that carries through from one scene to the next. The clip where Cohan writes a letter apologizing for his bad play is a prime example of this: that's a potentially interesting angle on the story (a guy who knew his limitations and gained strength from recognizing them), but before he can even submit the letter we get another "and then" with the start of the war and the failure of his dramatic play is promptly forgotten.

I don't think a charming lead performance and catchy songs are enough to make it one of the Top 100 of all time. I'm not necessarily bothered that the film is overly cheery or celebrates lowbrow populist art over all else . . . but Sullivan's Travels does the same thing and also has an actual propulsive story that moves and drives the lead character to that realization, rather than just having characters speak the themes out loud while treating the whole thing as a foregone conclusion like Yankee Doodle Dandy does.

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8 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Pretty easy no vote for me. Yes, Cagney's performance is engaging, and yes the songs are memorable. But this movie carries a lot of the same narrative problems I have with Bohemian Rhapsody and other bio-pics of its type. It doesn't really bother to tell a story, just "plays the hits." There is no narrative momentum; the whole thing just trips along from event to event, like "This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened." None of the dramatic moments have any real consequence that carries through from one scene to the next. The clip where Cohan writes a letter apologizing for his bad play is a prime example of this: that's a potentially interesting angle on the story (a guy who knew his limitations and gained strength from recognizing them), but before he can even submit the letter we get another "and then" with the start of the war and the failure of his dramatic play is promptly forgotten.

I don't think a charming lead performance and catchy songs are enough to make it one of the Top 100 of all time. I'm not necessarily bothered that the film is overly cheery or celebrates lowbrow populist art over all else . . . but Sullivan's Travels does the same thing and also has an actual propulsive story that moves and drives the lead character to that realization, rather than just having characters speak the themes out loud while treating the whole thing as a foregone conclusion like Yankee Doodle Dandy does.

Also a very easy no from me and I agree with all this. I was impressed with all the songs until I realized nearly all the music predates the movie. Maybe if the music was incorporated in an engaging or interesting way but it's just "Then he wrote another song." So,the only thing this is really bringing is Cagney's performance.

I think Amy and Paul are a bit off that the patriotism wouldn't play in 2020. There's still a huge segment of America that will always be rah rah America no matter who the president is or what we're currently doing. I wouldn't limit it to just Trump supporters either. I, personally, find jingoism and patriotism and nationalism kind of strange. It's not a turn off in a movie unless it's just propaganda but it's certainly never going to win points with me.

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Easy no for me too. My bullshit detector is good, I think; and this movie is nothing but.

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Am I the only one that thought that James Cagney's "talk-sing" style may have been the inspiration for the musical powerhouse William Shatner?  This movie seems to be an early example of the "talk-sing" style which may have lead to far superior Shatner results!  

508468050_YankeeDoodleWilliam.jpg.7697dc0bae10233665c26d944ecf96e4.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ainyK6fXku0&t=132s

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5 hours ago, MiamiJohn said:

Am I the only one that thought that James Cagney's "talk-sing" style may have been the inspiration for the musical powerhouse William Shatner?  This movie seems to be an early example of the "talk-sing" style which may have lead to far superior Shatner results!  

508468050_YankeeDoodleWilliam.jpg.7697dc0bae10233665c26d944ecf96e4.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ainyK6fXku0&t=132s

You are definitely not the only one who thought this.  Although they made it sound on the podcast as if that's actually how Cohan sounded, so it could be that Shatner took his inspiration from the original!

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