Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Supreme Dreams

Today was my 8 and a half hour shift. It wasn't terribly exciting. We were dead for most of the day, and never more than steady during rush hours. I got all the trash done and all the carts gathered by 11:30. I spent most of the rest of the day doing returns and occasionally helping with the carts when the afternoon and evening baggers went on break. At least it was a nice day to be doing carts. It was sunny and windless, probably in the upper 50's-lower 60's.

It was too nice for me to go straight home after work. Besides, I just wasn't up to even heating up leftovers after working for 8 and a half hours. Strolled around the corner to Tu Se Bella's at the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center (after peeking briefly at Game Stop). I had a slice of shrimp and broccoli and a slice of tomato and what I believe to be bits of fried chicken, along with a bottle of water. Yum. They may have strange toppings, but they always somehow work.

Played some Lego Star Wars when I got home. Got True Jedi on "Retake Theed Palace," but couldn't find more pieces. Was actually able to complete "Mos Eisley Spaceport," including the red brick, True Jedi, and the final piece.

Ended the night with Dreamgirls. It's 1963, and Detroit friends Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), Deena Jones (Beyonce), and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) have been singing in local amateur talent shows in the hopes of hitting the big time, calling themselves the Dreamettes. They're discovered by Cadillac salesman Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) who makes them the backup singers for raucous R&B star Jimmy Early (Eddie Murphy). After a disastrous opening in very white Miami Beach, Curtis now thinks the girls, rechristened the Dreams, are ready for the big time. He makes slimmer Deena the lead, which upsets Effie, who has the stronger voice. Effie's anger finally bursts out in one roof-blowing song when she's replaced by a younger, thinner girl (Sharon Leal) right before a concert in Vegas on New Year's Eve. No song will change the fact that she hasn't been acting professionally; she's out.

The Dreams are a massive success, but it's weighing heavily on the group. Curtis is determined to control every single thing Deena, who has since married him, does, and Lorrell is tired of waiting for Jimmy to leave his wife and marry her. Meanwhile, Effie turns to Jimmy's former manager to help her get back into music. It takes Jimmy's death in a drug overdose and Lorrell's brother C.C's (Keith Robinson) protests that Curtis' disco obsession is sucking the life out of his music for the Dreams to finally take matters into their own hands and beat Curtis at his own game.

This is one of my favorite musicals of the last decade or so. I've been fascinated by classic rock - including R&B and Motown - since I used to spend Saturday nights listening to the oldies show on my local radio station as a child. While the story may be familiar to anyone who also knows something about classic rock, disco, and R&B history, it's the performances that really make this film shine.

I saw this in the theater with my friend Erica when it came out. I remember how the audience went absolutely nuts when Jennifer Hudson sang her film-stopping rendition of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." She deserved every bit of her Supporting Actress Oscar. The film also won for Best Sound Mixing, and Murphy was nominated for Supporting Actor as the dynamic Early. Beyonce and Foxx are fine as well as the elegant Deena and manipulative Curtis.

If you're fans of the cast or the real-life Motown music this was inspired by, you may find that this uplifting tale is your dream, too.

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