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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 95 The Wiz

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Ease on down, we watched:

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I have always loved how Dorthy takes the witch’s shoes like she’s in RPG trying to gear up her character.

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8 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I have always loved how Dorthy takes the witch’s shoes like she’s in RPG trying to gear up her character.

She does gather a party as well. It is all very RPG

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So I overall enjoyed the movie. Mostly for it's music and wonderful production design. I thought the make up and costumes were fabulous. Story wise there are some problems. I think Dorothy here has real weak motivations and not a real arc. In addition I thought some of the metaphors worked better than others and they seemed to forget about that at points. However updating the poppy fields to be drugs and stuff like that I thought were good and creative.

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Just now, Cam Bert said:

So I overall enjoyed the movie. Mostly for it's music and wonderful production design. I thought the make up and costumes were fabulous. Story wise there are some problems. I think Dorothy here has real weak motivations and not a real arc. In addition I thought some of the metaphors worked better than others and they seemed to forget about that at points. However updating the poppy fields to be drugs and stuff like that I thought were good and creative.

Overall, I agree. I enjoyed the music and choreography. I found out that people felt Diana Ross was too old at 33 to play Dorothy, so that makes me feel a bit protective of her. I thought she did a great job. 

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6 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Overall, I agree. I enjoyed the music and choreography. I found out that people felt Diana Ross was too old at 33 to play Dorothy, so that makes me feel a bit protective of her. I thought she did a great job. 

I agree. I think her character was just underwritten and none of the problems could really be laid on her. 

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Something I really liked about The Wiz is at the end of the movie it’s Dorothy, and not the Wizard, who confirms that the things her companions sought they possessed all along. I think that’s more emotionally satisfying than the kind of gag/satirical ending in The Wizard of Oz (e.g. A diploma proves you have a brain whether that’s true or not)

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37 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

She does gather a party as well. It is all very RPG

So Dorothy is the dungeon master?

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33 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Overall, I agree. I enjoyed the music and choreography. I found out that people felt Diana Ross was too old at 33 to play Dorothy, so that makes me feel a bit protective of her. I thought she did a great job. 

I need to watch the movie again I think. My Letterboxd review maybe isn’t fair. I have lots of thoughts but no idea how to express them. Would it be OK if I also watched The Wiz Live!? I’m thinking maybe seeing a different take would help clarify things. (I bought Live! for $2.99 on Amazon Prime Video. Vudu wanted $9.99.)

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7 minutes ago, Cinco DeNio said:

So Dorothy is the dungeon master?

No, that would probably be Glenda.

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44 minutes ago, Cinco DeNio said:

I need to watch the movie again I think. My Letterboxd review maybe isn’t fair. I have lots of thoughts but no idea how to express them. Would it be OK if I also watched The Wiz Live!? I’m thinking maybe seeing a different take would help clarify things. (I bought Live! for $2.99 on Amazon Prime Video. Vudu wanted $9.99.)

I’ve seen the Live version, and I liked it. They wrote a new song for it that I quite liked. I’d link it, but you might just to watch it.

 

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13 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I’ve seen the Live version, and I liked it. They wrote a new song for it that I quite liked. I’d link it, but you might just to watch it.

 

I liked the live version significantly more than this version. I can appreciate the movie to an extent. I like that it's kind of dirty looking in a way few movies are. The music is good. That's kind of it for me. The live version just pops in a way this doesn't.

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I loved this, it was very entertaining! The music is awesome. Some of the sets and things maybe lean too weird-as-fuck, but I don't mind that at all. I'm so glad I watched this!

2 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I think Dorothy here has real weak motivations and not a real arc.

Hm one of the main critiques of the original is the whole is message is "there's no place like home" which makes little sense after visiting a magical wonderland like Oz. Here, it makes a bit more sense because Dorothy is such a homebody introvert. 

But that said, Diana Ross isn't very good in this; she's the weak point in this movie if you ask me. Which sucks because out of everyone in the film, she's the one I'm a big fan of. She doesn't get the arc or motivation across well. 

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1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

I liked the live version significantly more than this version. I can appreciate the movie to an extent. I like that it's kind of dirty looking in a way few movies are. The music is good. That's kind of it for me. The live version just pops in a way this doesn't.

That's always been my impression of The Wiz as a movie. The energy of the live show didn't translate to the screen, for whatever reason.

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Hm one of the main critiques of the original is the whole is message is "there's no place like home" which makes little sense after visiting a magical wonderland like Oz. Here, it makes a bit more sense because Dorothy is such a homebody introvert. 

Agreed! Oz in the Wiz is more run down. It's bright, but there's a kind of dangerous edge to it. If I'm remembering correctly, more like Return to Oz. Also, Wiz Dorothy comes from, what appears to be a very loving and supportive family, whereas Wizard Dorothy is actively trying to escape her life and trying to protect her dog.

However, that brings me to what I think is my biggest complaint about The Wiz as compared to Wizard. I don't like the the Evilean isn't introduced until the very last act. In Wizard, the Wicked Witch is a continuous, and personal, threat to Dorothy. The witch in Wiz feel more like a box to check than a legitimate or interesting threat.

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I’ll watch this soon...I’ve returned to the Rona (my nickname for COVID)—induced loss of any sense of time or perhaps reality itself. What week is it? What year? Wait, we elected that guy? 

Truly, since the school year has ended, time has lost all meaning. I have to check my phone to remember what the day/date is. Speaking of which, I’ll do that now!

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27 minutes ago, GrahamS. said:

I’ll watch this soon...I’ve returned to the Rona (my nickname for COVID)—induced loss of any sense of time or perhaps reality itself. What week is it? What year? Wait, we elected that guy? 

Truly, since the school year has ended, time has lost all meaning. I have to check my phone to remember what the day/date is. Speaking of which, I’ll do that now!

That's what Musical Mondays and Unspooled Thursdays and HDTGM Fridays are for. Otherwise, I'd have no clue either.

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9 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Hm one of the main critiques of the original is the whole is message is "there's no place like home" which makes little sense after visiting a magical wonderland like Oz. Here, it makes a bit more sense because Dorothy is such a homebody introvert. 

I think the advantage of Return to Oz and Wizard of Oz is that we spend a fair amount of time with Dorothy pre-Oz and we get to know her as a character. We know her motivations and fears and that. Here, we barely get to met her and just her Aunt who loves her wanting to get out and see the world. It's all very short and really boiled down. To this extent I think the metaphorical nature of Oz gets kind of muddled. In the original all the things she sees are parallels to things in her real life or real world adding to those whole "was it all a dream" type situation. If we draw that out to the idea that Dorothy is a homebody afraid to get out there, the things she sees and experiences should further this notion which I think it only does to a certain extent. Sometimes it feels like it is doing things because that's what happens in Wizard of Oz and not because that would be the next logical step. 

 

Edit: Sorry morning brain I should expand. The things Dorothy sees in the original are all things to help her realize that home is not so bad. That's why the friendly farmhands are her friends, the evil witch is the mean old woman and her ticket out is a travelling huckster. If in The Wiz the thing was Dorothy should get out and see the world and not be a homebody the metaphors should be things that would want to motivate her to get out there. I get this film and the musical from what I understand is suppose to be about the black experience in America and I got that. I think the journey and metaphors serve that more than they serve as development for the Dorothy character. As a result I found her just there to move the story along (though I like as Cameron pointed out she's one at the end the puts things together) and the encounters and that don't really relate to her arc of "shy girl needs to get out more."

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Did I love this overall?  No.  

But there were some absolute gems:

  • Scarecrow's nose, a Reese's peanut butter cup wrapper?
  • As Dorothy announces she's going to confront Evillene, she takes off her earrings matter-of-factly
  • Any time they sang East on Down the Road
  • Everybody Rejoice dance sequence
  • Diana Ross' performance of Home at the end

 

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Has anybody here read the Oz books? I had a curious thought.

So in the original we had flying monkeys. In The Wiz the flying monkeys were these weird motorcycle human hybrid things. Now in Return to Oz there are no flying monkeys but there are the wheelers which are people who ride around on all fours with wheels for hands and feet which is not a million miles off from human bicycle hybrids. Now I'm curious if that was from the Oz books or is it a weird callback to the flying monkeys in The Wiz or just coincidence? 

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The Wheelers are from the books. In fact, a lot of the stuff in Return to Oz is. It might be the other way around and The Wiz was borrowing from the books.

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3 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

The Wheelers are from the books. In fact, a lot of the stuff in Return to Oz is. It might be the other way around and The Wiz was borrowing from the books.

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How did you get a picture of my nightmare?

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11 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

The Wheelers are from the books. In fact, a lot of the stuff in Return to Oz is. It might be the other way around and The Wiz was borrowing from the books.

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I thought the movie versions were terrifying but they didn't even capture one tenth of their nightmare potential.

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Wheelers! I couldn't remember the name for them. I read the Baum books in like 1988 or so, so I don't remember many details but images of wheeled monkeys stuck.

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