Girls, we tried. Really we did. But Flower Drum Song proved an elusive find and Musical Mondays take so long to do that by Friday, we had to give up and go to our second choice, Carousel. And holy cow, are we ever sorry. THIS was named the “Best Musical of the Century” by Time magazine? What the hell were those bitches smoking? Feh. You’ll see what we mean. On with it, then.
Yes, it’s Carousel! The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic about proto-white trash in 19th century New England! Stupid women! Angry men! Poverty and unemployment! Spousal abuse and unplanned pregnancies! It’s a laugh riot, we tell you!
Our movie opens in heaven, which, depressingly, looks like it was decorated by a prom committee. Our “hero,” Billy Bigelow (played by the not-as-hot-as-he-was-in-Oklahoma! Gordon MacRae) is dutifully polishing stars when he gets called into the Starkeeper’s office. It should be noted that neither Rodgers nor Hammerstein were known to drop acid, so make of that what you will.
In the Starkeeper’s office, we learn that there’s trouble down on earth with Billy’s kinfolk and if he wants, he can spend one day on earth making things right. Billy’s not sure he wants to without an extensive flashback sequence, so this being heaven and all, he gets one.
And with a magic wave of lens filters, we’re 15 years in the past in some small New England town. Of course our eyes are instantly drawn to the slutty girls to the left, but alas, this is their only appearance in the film.
Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones, also not as hot as she was in Oklahoma!) and her friend Carrie (we sat there for the first ten minutes going “Dinah Shore’s in this movie?”) are wandering the fairgrounds when they come across Billy, the barker for the carousel. The ladies moisten immediately.
Mrs. Mullin, the shrewish owner of the carousel, doesn’t like these virginal bitches staring at her man. No, she doesn’t like it at all.
Too bad, because Billy takes a shine to Julie immediately and he pulls his pants up to his nipples and hoists her on to the carousel. We keep trying to find some sort of metaphorical meaning for the carousel but damn if we can figure it out. We’ll just call it foreplay.
Mrs. Mullin puts her hands on her hips and tells Billy if he ever lets that slut (yes, she really called her that) ride the carousel again (okay maybe it’s just a metaphor for sex) he’s fired. Billy pulls his pants up even higher and says “Fine by me, bitch.” Julie’s all “You quit your job for me?” and Carrie’s all “Fuck this. I got a man with a good job. You losers work this out. I’m going home.”
Even though she’s going to lose her job if she doesn’t get back to her dorm soon, Julie decides to stay with Billy while they sing about pretending to love one another. Yeah, this is a great start. Julie, you’re a moron.
Not only does Julie’s boss show up to take her home, but the local policeman shows up to fill her in on Billy’s record. Julie! Pay attention! God’s sending you just about every red flag there is ! Run away!
A month later, Julie shows up at her cousin Nettie’s restaurant to introduce him to her new husband. The look of disgust on Nettie’s face is priceless.
Later, the townspeople are happy. Really, really happy. Scary happy.
Besides, we don’t know why the girls are so excited.
Every man in this town is a raging queen.
And apparently, every woman in this town is in some serious denial.
Oh yeah. Loads of potential husbands in this town.
Meanwhile, Billy is engaging in what passes for 19th century graffiti, when the other heterosexual man in the town shows up, his jailbird friend Jigger.
After the ladies leave with their totally heterosexual men to hold hands and not have sex, Nettie tells Carrie that Billy’s still unemployed and that he hits her. Julie’s all “But you don’t understand! It’s really hard for him! The other boys don’t like him for some reason!”
Carrie’s all “You’re the pretty one, you asshole. What the fuck is wrong with you? If I had those tits I’d be holding out for the richest man on the coast.” Nettie enthusiastically agrees that Julie has really nice tits and then excuses herself quickly.
Jigger comes up with a plan to rob the local mill owner of 1500 bucks and Billy’s not so sure. He’s also not so sure that Jigger’s entirely straight, what with the jaunty scarf tied around his neck and the Flashdance clothes.
Carrie’s betrothed, Mr. Snow, shows up and he’s appalled that Carrie has such low-class friends. Billy manages to insult everyone within 5 seconds. Julie is embarrassed. Jigger smokes.
Later, Mrs. Mullin shows up in a dusty old vagina hat to tempt Billy to come back to the carousel.
Julie shows a tiny little bit of spine and pushes the old bitch out of the way to tell Billy she’s got a bun in the oven. This forces Billy to examine his life and decide where he’s going with it.
It also forces him to sing. We’re supposed to be rooting for him now but all we can think is “You’ll let your boy do whatever he wants but if it’s a girl you have to dress her up pretty and shelter her? You’re an asshole.”
Later, at the clambake, everyone sings about…the clambake. There are exactly two good songs in this movie and “A Real Nice Clambake” ain’t one of them. The entire premise of the song is “Remember that meal we just finished eating?” Not R&H’s finest work.
Jigger pulls Billy aside and says “Listen, while these losers are singing about food, let’s head into town and rob that guy.” Billy’s all “I’m gonna be a father, so let’s do it!”
Honestly, it’s like an episode of COPS set in the 19th century.
And of course, the robbery goes off just about as well as you’d expect with these idiots.
Julie, once again proving just how stupid she is, cradles his head as he’s dying and tells him how much she loves him instead of beating him with her shoe and screaming at him for leaving her penniless and pregnant.
Nettie shows up and sings at her. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is an astonishingly stirring song and one of R&H’s best, which makes us wonder what the hell it’s doing in this execrable film.
Back in heaven, the Starkeeper’s all “Man, you really fucked that up, didn’t you?” He tells Billy that he has a 15 year old daughter and she’s really troubled. Wow! Who could have predicted that! Oh, that’s right. Everyone but Julie and Billy.
So Billy and his parole officer head down to earth and watch his daughter Louise dance on the beach in an annoying ballet sequence that illustrates that she’s lonely and the whole town thinks she’s low-class.
Gee, where did they ever get that idea?
God, we hate these extended ballet sequences. Ten full minutes where you’re ripped out of the story and just waiting for all the pretension to end so you can find out what happens next.
As the ballet ends with all her schoolmates taunting her, she loses it and tells them that she hates every single one of them.
Okay, she’s the first person in this movie that we actually like. She spends her time shoving her crotch in boys’ faces and telling the rest of the town to fuck off. What’s the problem here?
Billy follows her home, scares the shit out of her and tries to give her a star. When she refuses, he slaps her. Great job, Billy! Next stop: HELL!
“Mama, he hit me and it felt like a kiss. Is that possible?”
“Yes, dear. Sometimes, someone can hit you and it doesn’t hurt at all.”
WHAT THE FUCK?! OhmiGOD, this film is offensive as hell.
This was the only other clip we could find on YouTube, so here it is:
Sure, we’re supposed to think this is romantic or something, but they just spent two hours establishing how seriously fucked up these people are. One pretty little song reprise ain’t gonna wash the bile away that easily.
Billy’s got one more chance to fix things so he invisibly attends her graduation and whispers feel-good shit in her ear while her classmates sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Suddenly, everyone magically loves Louise and all her problems are solved.
Darlings, we’d never seen this before and we’d heard nothing but good things about it, but this is one seriously fucked up story. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we HATED this movie. Oh well. Can’t love ‘em all.
Next week, come hell or high water, it’s Flower Drum Song, bitches. And if not that, it’s The Harvey Girls. We need fun and fabulosity to wash away this depressing film!