Moulin Rouge [retro viewing]

Because we can-can-can!

It’s a Friday night. Hubby is out on a boys’ night, playing Playstation until he’s got blisters on his thumbs and eating fried food. And I am prepared for a girls’ night in. Fire in the fireplace.

Check. Comfy PJs. Check. The big yellow comforter with flowers on it. Check. A cheesesteak calzone. Check. Godiva chocolate cheesecake ice cream that I’ve been hiding from hubby. Check, check, and one more check just for good measure. (And whipped cream!) And of course, Moulin Rouge!. Check.

Let Girls’ Night In begin!

You’ve seen this too many times when you expect the little conductor at the beginning of every 20th Century Fox movie.

0.48 Music: “The Sound of Music”, “El Tango de Roxanne”, and the gallop from the opera Orpheus and the Underworld

1.25 Music: “Nature Boy”

1.43 Man, Ewan looks really good in this movie. Sorry. I’ll try to keep the Ewan-drooling to a minimum.

2.31 How can the very beginning of a film be so freaking heartbreaking??

3.02 Not that we won’t hear this repeated 1,000,000 times throughout the movie (I’ll keep count), but the main theme of the movie is stated here for the first time: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Love that quote. I used it as part of my toast at my friend Lou’s wedding. We all ignored the fact that it came from a movie about a prostitute that dies from tuberculosis.

3.40 As we see the thigh shot, it occurs to me that for a movie about a bordello, there’s very little nudity.

4.03 That shot of Satine is actually from Nicole Kidman’s costume test. This is why Satine holds a cigarette here, and nowhere else in the movie.

4.43 Well, so much for suspense. Seriously, though, I think this is Baz’s way of dealing with the fact that the plot is (necessarily) simplistic. I suspect putting the ending at the beginning is his way of saying “The plot is not what’s important here. (And don’t bother to call us predictable since we told you the freaking end.) You know what’s going to happen, now focus on the music and the atmosphere.” I think it was a good move.

5.0 Music — “La Complainte de la Butte”. It annoys me that this is a 6:00 track on the CD.

5.20 The father, although he looks more like the grandfather or great-grandfather to me. Originally, he was supposed to be a larger character, even to the point where he and Christian had a duet together (“Relax”). But it all got cut until we got a few ranting shots of him. (See? I at least watched part of the commentary. Until I got bored. Baz is a brilliant director and a visionary, but a really boring commentator.)

5.35 Penniless existence… HAH! That room is nicer than the dump I lived in during grad school!

5.55 How can you not love the unconscious Argentinian line?

6.07 Geeze… it takes him five seconds to say his entire time. Incidentally, Toulouse-Lautrec was a real person. Remember that, it will be important later.

6.20 Ew, armpit hair. Just not a fan. Of course, I’m not overly fond of guys who shave body hair, either. I’d rather have natural I suppose, but do we need an entire screen of armpit hair? Sorry. Pet peeve.

6.29 The other Bohemians. From left to right, Satie, Audrey, and the Doctor. Now look carefully at Audrey. Does she look familiar? (Lou told me this one.) Okay, so she looks like a guy. That’s cause she is. But do you know who that is? It’s David Wenham. Yeah. That’s right. Faramir. From The Two Towers. Don’t believe me? Check for yourself — here’s the link. I’ll wait. (whistles as you go check.) See? SEE? I told you!!!! I mean, I had to check it too, but honestly — isn’t that just strange???? I NEVER would have guessed that. Oh yeah, and Baz says something in the commentary about the Bohemians being like Cerebus and guarding the gateway into Hades or something like that.

7.06 That is NOT Faramir. Look, I KNOW I told you it was, I know we all looked at the link, but come ON! It can’t be Faramir!

7.16 Love the thesaurus debate.

7.38 Ewan belts out the Sound of Music (in leederhosen). Oh man. Did you suffer through Velvet Goldmine? If you did, you know he “sings” in that. It’s on key, I guess, but it’s not terribly good. I went into Moulin Rouge! with that aural image in mind, and was prepared to be embarrassed for him. When he belted this out, my mouth simply dropped open.

8.01 Christian’s poetry — it’s probably the first thing you hear debated about Moulin Rouge!. The idea was that they wanted to convey that Christian’s poetry was way ahead of its time, and they wanted to use songs that are recognized as cultural icons in order to convey Christian’s talent. Also, Baz wanted to use today’s music to convey the feelings and emotions of someone back then. Me, I think it’s a brilliant approach. A lot of people don’t. Well, Baz is a definite taste.

8.31 Bye-bye, Faramir!

8.45 Ewan can’t get his pants off in this movie, but he does manage to draw attention to that area.

9.16 Christian says Satine will be astounded, the manuscript says amazed. I am such a freaking geek.

9.40 Music: “Love Is Like Oxygen.” “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” “Up Where We Belong.” “All You Need Is Love.”

10.19 Man. I’ve never done acid, but I really don’t think I need to. Just watch this movie. By the way, pretty much everyone knows that’s Kylie Minogue, but the voice eventually morphs into the voice of Ozzy Osbourne.

10.25 Music — “Children of the Revolution”

10.34 The tux…

10.42 For some reason I get a kick out of the way they come down the stairs. Don’t ask me why.

11.01 Baz is a genius. The chaos and color of this scene are wonderful. Music: “Lady Marmalade”

11.52 And Bridget Jones thinks she has granny panties….

12.0 Genius. Sheer genius. Music: “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

12.09 Boy, that guy in the front is working it for all he’s worth.

12.32 This is the part of Zidler’s rap that’s meant to be a spoof of Lumiere’s bit in “Be Our Guest” in Beauty and the Beast.

13.04 The Cancan. Excuse me while I watch the last chapter in its entirety, without stopping to pause. I really, really want a pair of stockings like some of these girls wear.

13.10 It’s really interesting to focus on each girl and see the different, distinct personalities they’ve been given. So far I’ve caught an angel, Arabic, a little girl outfit (Babydoll, I think), Madeline, one in a top hat and tux, a revolutionary, and a French maid.

13.41 Disturbing snippet of “Children of the Revolution.”

14.15 “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, or what my five-year-old niece so accurately calls “The Diamond Song.” My niece, who is a total girlie-girl, adores this movie. I can see why. The bright colors, the chaos, the scenery, and the gorgeous costumes are all right up her alley.

14.31 Question: has Christian ever even SEEN a woman before? It’s the only reason I can think of for him to fall in “love” so quickly.

15.0 I was really amazed at Nicole Kidman’s singing voice, as well.

15.30 The woman did high kicks in stilettos and a corset, singing all the while, and STILL didn’t get an Oscar for this role?

Forehead kissing: not all it's cracked up to be.

16.19 Music: “Material Girl”

16.30 This just cracks me up. My niece actually knows all the words to this song, and one girls’ night in she was there, drinking her virgin margarita (bad idea, by the way, because of all the sugar) and singing along to “The Diamond Song.” Right on cue she says “come and get me boys” in the exact same voice Nicole Kidman uses. Maybe you had to be there, but we were dying.

17.52 My friend Lou and I have this debate over Zidler. Lou’s one theory was that Zidler is gay. How else could be so unimpressed by seeing Satine naked? I countered with he’s seen her hundreds of times, he’s used to the sight.

18.23 Love that one totally sincere moment.

18.42 How can she just raise one eyebrow like that? I can’t do that, and it drives me nuts.

19.31 Music: “Rhythm of the Night”

19.42 Ewan so can’t dance… but man he looks good in a tux!

20.28 Did he just spit in her face?

21.37 Y’know, with bouts like this, you’d think she’d catch on that SOMETHING is wrong a lot earlier than she does!

21.38 Break for chocolate cheesecake ice cream. Mmmmmm.

22.05 Baz (and Zidler), masters of mood change.

22.37 Nini really is catty. I wonder why. One thing I would have liked to know is why she’s such a witch. Lou thinks it has to do with jealousy. For once, I think he’s right. We both wonder what she thinks of Satine’s sexual prowess versus her own.

23.19 What ARE smelling salts, anyway?

23.59 Music: “Diamond Dogs”

24.19 Okay, I LOVE this dress. I want this dress. Maybe without the butt bow, but I’m not sure. Of course, I would need an occasion to wear a dress like this, but man. Gorgeous dress.

24.39 Oh no! Don’t talk to the bird! Please! Believe me, chickie, you’re not Cinderella!

24.50 I love Zidler’s overacting, exuberance, and melodrama. Another one that surprised us. Remember Bridget Jones’ pathetic, lifeless father? Yeah. They’re both Jim Broadbent. (Although not as shocking as the Faramir/Audrey connection.)

25.05 Music: “Meet Me in the Red Room” (written for this). A very unsubtle song if you listen to the whole thing.

25.06 Okay, can I just have her entire wardrobe please? (And heck, the elephant, too?)

25.36 Gotta love this exchange. I was rolling on the floor the first three times I saw this.

26.43 Heheh. Writer’s block. Glad I deal with mine in a slightly more dignified manner. 27.22 Y’know, I really think Ewan McGregor put in the lines about “a huge talent!” himself. He’s very proud of certain things.

27.30 Music: “Your Song”

28.26 Christian belts out “My gift is my song” and Paris lights up. Satine melts. In two phrases, the entire tone of the movie changes from ludicrous and hectic to simple and heart-wrenchingly sincere. All of the artifice is stripped away.

28.27 Okay. I’m melting faster than my ice cream. No more comments until “Your Song” is done.

31.12 Sorry, Elton, but as much as I like your version, I like this version better. And it’s not just Ewan McGregor’s voice. It’s just such an upsweeping, joyful arrangement that captures that wonder and excitement of the first stages of love. It makes me want to get up and sing and dance. (And if no one is home, I do.) It makes me believe in love at first sight, even if it’s only until the song is over. This arrangement is just… well, the first time I heard it, I cried. I’m not coming up with the words to explain the impact this song has on me, except to say that it sweeps away anything that’s bothering me and just lights me up completely.

31.45 “I’m a writer” he says, and everything comes to a screeching halt. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem to need a comment.

Hmm. Your credibility is stretching just a wee bit!

32.40 The Duke is so evil and just totally smarmy. I love it.

33.15 For some reason, the dancing here just really annoys me.

34.19 When Nicole comes up here, I always think she looks like Kate Winslet in Titanic. It’s very odd.

36.01 Zidler’s quite the voyeur. I wonder if Satine knows about that telescope?

37.32 I love that the Duke is not fooled in the least. Sort of “let’s see if you can talk your way out of this one.”

38.36 Very subtle, Christian.

38.57 However, I think it’s Christian’s utter lack of subtlety that makes him such an appealing character. The wide-eyed hopeless romantic has been done to death. It’s that naked, honest approach to it that makes Christian a successful, likeable character. It’s funny. I know this will shock you, but I definitely have a thing for Christian. The funny part is, I’ve dated guys (well, one guy) that was a lot like that. And he drove me NUTS. I really like that kind of guy on paper or on the screen, but in person, I just want to smack him for being such an idiot.

40.06 Music: “The Pitch”. This is done to the tune of the gallop from Orpheus and the Underworld, which is doubly appropriate. One, because this is a retelling of Orpheus. Two, that’s the music most commonly associated with the cancan. Pretty cool, huh?

40.46 Just try not to bounce up and down to this song.

41.27 Amazing how Indian everyday objects can look when you clang them together or wear them on your head.

41.28 Ah, the complicated jumping bean choreography

41.41 Great question Duke — as any real writer knows.

43.19 Music: “Children of the Revolution” again

43.49 Whoops. Scottish accent there. I swear though — that attitude… I really would smack him. Really.

44.01 The dress again. I love that dress.

45.01 Music: “One Day I’ll Fly Away” (with a little bit of “Your Song”) I’m always a little bit relieved at this point, because the movie slows down a bit. Normally, that’s a bad thing. This time however, it’s a relief. And when you’re doing a Mutant Viewing, it’s more than a relief.

47.39 I love the way she rolls her eyes at him. I would too.

48.55 Music: The Elephant Love Medley — “Love is Like Oxygen”, “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”, “Up Where We Belong”, “All You Need is Love”, “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”, “One More Night”, “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, “Silly Love Songs”, “Up Where We Belong” (again), “Heroes”, “I Will Always Love You”, and “Your Song”. Phew!

50.24 Hehe. Notice he has to stand on a step to be taller than her when he attempts to kiss her.

50.52 The bit where he sings “Up Where We Belong” just gets me every time. I love that bit. Freedom embodied in music.

53.01 Another area of debate, as Toulouse echoes the “Your Song” sentiment. However, for once, good ol’ Baz was helpful in the commentary. Toulouse is NOT in love with Christian. (Amazingly enough, I didn’t think so, and I tend to read that sort of thing into things like this.) The real Toulouse actually lived very vicariously through his protegees and had a thing for red-haired women.

53.31 Maybe I should have counted how many times they say “How wonderful life is now you’re in the world.” Honestly. The Star Wars crew has nothing on these guys.

54.11 The Duke is not just the buffoon we’ve been thinking he is. He’s smart. He’s very smart. He’s not at all attractive or remotely good with people (in the commentary Baz laughed and said the very clichéd back story that they gave the Duke was that no one ever loved him ::gag::), but he is smart. I really like that.

55.30 Or I should have counted the number of times they say “The show must go on.”

55.38 More plot exposition. Either that or Christian has psychic powers.

56.08 Doesn’t Toulouse get a little grossed out with Christian and Satine snogging in front of him? I guess not if you look at the note for 53.01, but still. Have a little discretion, people!

Pile on Kidman!

56.19 “The greatest thing…” That’s two.

56.39 “The greatest thing…” That’s three.

56.52 Honestly, I feel a bit bad for the Duke. He’s been up front in all his expectations, and really, isn’t he a bit better than Christian? Christian isn’t paying for it, but only because he can’t afford it. The Duke is playing by the rules.

57.12 The quite famous contrast of their eyes. That one shot says so much about their characters.

57.37 Be a little more smug there, Christian.

58.40 ::Sigh:: Yet another gorgeous outfit.

59.30 Music: “Fool to Believe” (original)

60.25 This section does drag for me. I know it’s important, but I can only watch someone gasp for air for so long before my attention begins to wander. And how can she not know she’s sick? Hello!

62.0 Music: “Like a Virgin”. One of the most hysterical scenes in the whole thing. When I saw this the sixth time, it was during the showing the Graduate Student Association put on. It was a mixed crowd, and most of them hadn’t seen it before. It was a riot to sit in the audience and listen, because you could hear individuals catching on to exactly what was going on, and you could hear the distinct groans and laughter.

62.40 Okay, I know I say it about a ton of stuff, but there is some serious subtext going on here. Not so much Zidler and the Duke, but the waiters. And it’s hysterical.

64.0 The revolving bed… “Do I make you horny baby?” Whoops. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

64.47 Check out the “evil” faces on the waiters. I’m dying….

66.10 This is another spot that I really start to wonder about the relationship between Zidler and Satine, as he hears the news that she’s dying. Now, granted, you’d have a hard time hearing that news about anyone you know, but still, their relationship is definitely deeper than employer/employee.

66.42 Dude, she’s coughing and passing out. I know she’s a prostitute, but don’t you think the sick story might be just a little plausible?

67.40 Y’know, when you think about it, “I’ll write a song!” seems like a pretty dumb solution.

68.14 Music: “Come What May”. This is one of the few (if not the only) original songs in the movie. It’s original because it’s supposed to be written by Christian and Satine together. The reason it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar is because it was originally written for Romeo + Juliet, and was therefore ineligible. Too bad. Anyway, the lyrics to this song are just absolutely beautiful and a wonderful description of love. If we had not already had “our song”, I would have requested this as the first dance at our wedding. As it was, I made sure it was played.

70.08 The Duke squashes the little frog. Yeah, he’s definitely evil.

70.30 Okay, directors, take a lesson from Baz on how to do sex scenes. Just one shot of the two of them, partly naked, in an intimate pose. You don’t see anything. But that one shot is more erotic and suggestive than if you saw them going at it for ten minutes straight. (I’m talking to you, Wachowski Brothers.) The sex scene in Romeo + Juliet was just as tastefully done.

71.02 Wonder if Nini would have made a better match for the Duke, when all’s said and done?

71.41 “The greatest thing…” That’s four.

71.50 I kind of agree with Nini, to be honest. Although it doesn’t uphold the dogma of freedom, truth, beauty and love.

74.10 When the Duke shouts about the “secret song”, am I the only one that thinks of “secret sauce”? (or was that special sauce?)

74.28 If I was Nicole Kidman, I’d just run off with the costumes. That’s it.

75.20 How is sleeping with him “for us?” Bzzzt! Can you tell this is the point I usually start getting a little bored?

77.55 The one dress I don’t really like. Doesn’t matter. El Tango de Roxanne is on.

78.16 Music: “Roxanne” plus some original stuff. This is the most impressive song to me. The raw emotion and sensuality, the violence, the contrast of the voices, the dancing… it’s all just amazing. The Police should be ticked, because the emotions evoked here are what Roxanne should have evoked and just didn’t.

82.03 That necklace…. Suddenly, the dress looks okay.

83.10 The dancers physically reflect the emotions of Satine and Christian so well.

83.46 The intensity here is just incredible. If you thought the Duke was a buffoon up until now, this changes that. He is darkly, intently, purposefully evil… and very, very dangerous. But oh, the intensity here. Nothing comes close to this. Nothing.

86.0 This scene, while supposedly emotional, just does nothing for me. I know why it’s there, and I enjoyed it the first time around, but now I’m ready to skip to the next song.

87.30 What part of killed don’t you understand?

88.39 Here’s where Lou and I disagree again. Lou thinks that Zidler found Satine on the street or something when she was very young. I think she’s actually his daughter by Marie. It’s that “all my life” line. Unfortunately, we’ll never know (unless Baz mentioned it when I was asleep during the commentary.)

88.50 “He loves me and that is worth everything.” Mush moment — I know the feeling. Perfect line.

89.49 The way Satine is shown realizing that she truly is dying is very effective, even if she should have caught on well before this. I guess denial is a powerful thing.

90.46 The bird is back. I know it’s symbolism, but I have a thing against birds.

91.29 I wonder who (besides Satine) Zidler is thinking of when he says “we can’t afford to love.”

91.59 Music: “The Show Must Go On”

93.06 Wonder if the guy singing this (it’s not Jim Broadbent, by the way — his voice was too “small” for Zidler) ever played Jean Valjean?

Beg your pardon, you knickers are showing.

93.55 That outfit is so elegant. I remember singing this song at the top of my lungs when I was going to defend my thesis. Doubt it helped. Hope the memories won’t be forever associated.

95.20 It’s funny, but back at the beginning of the movie this would have worked much better. I think it doesn’t because he’s seen her emotionally naked, and he can see the mask more than the actual lie.

96.42 He could at least TRY to enter the building.

97.34 Another commentary tidbit — the little speech Toulouse gives there is directly lifted from one of the real-life Toulouse’s letters. It was John Leguizamo’s idea to use that snippet in the movie.

99.0 Music: “Chumma Chumma”

99.55 Absolutely love the production. It’s mesmerizing.

101.49 I can’t figure it out for sure. Is that the same necklace the Duke gave her in the Gothic Tower?

102.48 You can hear tones of Sid the Sloth in John L’s voice there.

104.50 Last gorgeous dress. This one at least I sort of have — my wedding dress is vaguely (unintentionally) similar.

105.57 Ouch. That’s all I have to say about this part. Ouch.

106.38 That would so be me. Dramatic, real life scene happening beneath me as I’m stuck tens of feet above the stage, and I’m worrying I forgot my line.

107.18 “The greatest thing…” Five.

107.59 The delivery here is so sincere and beautiful, it’s no wonder his heart melted completely.

109.30 I know I’ve said I’d smack him, but this part is just so romantic, when he starts singing back to her.

111.22 For some reason, I love it when all the Bohemians get up on stage to sing the finale. It’s cheesy, but it works.

111.47 Warner cracks me up.

111.57 Yup, in the last ten seconds, Warner demonstrates why he’s one of the hidden gems in this film.

112.55 YES!!!!!!!!!

113.07 This is where I normally stop it. I like the happy ending.

114.15 One hundred and fourteen minutes into the movie, he FINALLY catches on!

115.40 I did cry the first few times I saw this. I still do if I watch the whole thing straight through without pausing. I’ve heard that McGregor’s performance was so powerful several of the actors had to leave the room. But I’m not crying this time.

116.42 Oh shoot. There I go.

118.0 Ascent. It’s appropriate. It’s the only reason I can cope with the ending. The line “one not so special day” really hits home with me. It’s always “one not so special day” when healing begins.

119.0 “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” (Six)

119.24 The End.

Grab a kleenex and remember to put your bowl in the sink. I hope you enjoyed this girl’s night in! I certainly did! (But then, I had chocolate cheesecake ice cream.) Till the next boys’ night out!

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