Thursday, December 28, 2006

All you have to do is dream

The boyfriend and I first met on a Saturday morning, at a brunch. We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon together and parted ways only when … um … I had to leave for … um … another date. Which says either that I’m too stupid to recognize The Rest Of My Life when it’s grinning adorably in my face or that I’m conscientious enough that I honor my prior commitments, even if it means waiting another day for the rest of my life to kick in.

In any case, the boyfriend and I had our second meeting—which one would probably consider to be our first official date—the next afternoon. We met for a late lunch at a downtown restaurant and then saw The Devil Wears Prada and then headed to Sidetrack for show tunes. Which is probably not as gay as a pedicures-and-opera date, but it comes awfully close.

So there we were, smiling coyly at each other and making calculated small talk and singing along with our favorite show tunes, when one of the Dreamgirls clips came on. And the future boyfriend, in a fit of prescience and romantic foreshadowing, turned to me and invited me to see the Dreamgirls movie with him when it came out. In December.

Which was pretty huge; he’s a big Dreamgirls fan (I hesitate to use the word freak) who’s been waiting a long, giddy time for the movie to come out, and I know now he wouldn’t invite just anyone to share it with him.

I told him that making a five-months-out date was projecting an awful lot on our first 24 hours together, jumpy heart things and blinding fireworks notwithstanding. But I said yes anyway.

And last night, we fulfilled that date. The boyfriend got us our tickets yesterday morning and got to the theater an hour early to stake out prime seating for us. By the time I got to the theater—45 minutes before the movie started—they were making us latecomers wait in a roped-off area to the side of the lobby. Which kind of sucked because I wanted to share my pre-movie excitement with the boyfriend, but I knew that no matter how much they made us wait I’d still have a great spot saved for me next to the most wonderful guy in the theater. AND I got to see Roger Ebert himself saunter through the lobby while I waited in the cattle chute. Roger Ebert! At the movies! Who knew?

I also spent my half hour in that line standing in front of a poster for the movie version of my favorite childhood book. At the risk of sounding like a complete exaggeration junkie, I can honestly say that Bridge to Terabithia changed my life. The story is pretty fantastic, and the book was the first to show me the awesome powers of the written word. While my own writing powers waited until I was in college before they emerged, I can still draw a pretty straight line between that book and my present career. And I am SO taking the boyfriend to see the movie when it comes out in February.

But back to Dreamgirls. It’s everything we’d hoped for, and it’s generally outstanding, despite the homophobic blemishes of Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson in the cast. (Not that their homophobia has anything to do with the characters they play, but they chose to be in a gay-man-created show with a massive gay following, and their performances, though both good, will always be tainted by the things we know they’ve said about us.) The movie stays extremely faithful to the original Broadway material, cutting only a few songs and adding new ones the boyfriend and I really like. The costumes and wigs and makeup are over-the-top spectacular and must have been a hoot to design. I loved Fatima Robinson’s choreography, even though numbers like “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” and “One Night Only” looked heavily influenced by 21st century music videos and gay circuit parties. I’m pretty amazed in this age of hyper-realistic animation and perfectly synched music videos, though, that we’ve somehow lost the ability to make movie musicals where singers’ lips and voices match up realistically. We could do it in the 1940s. We could do it in the 1950s. We could do it in the 1960s. We had some obvious hiccups with 1985’s A Chorus Line, but they were the least of that movie’s problems. And 20 years later, we still have huge chunks of distractingly unsynched music in Dreamgirls—most lamentably in “And I am Telling You (I’m Not Going).”

The movie was good enough that I’d totally see it again in the theater. And before I could even suggest it, the boyfriend informed me we’d be coming back for a second showing. Which is, of course, why he’s the boyfriend.

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