Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Top Ten Gene Kelly Dance Numbers


On this, the day of Gene Kelly's birth, I was surprised to find I have never dedicated an entire post to this dreamy dancer. Sure, I've written about him in many posts on other topics, but it's time he gets his very own!

Gene Kelly was one of the first classic stars I was introduced to as a young child. My grandma showed For Me and My Gal to my cousins and I and we were hooked! It's hard to beat a good Gene Kelly dance number. He's handsome and athletic and everything you could want.

So without further ado, here are my top ten Gene Kelly dance numbers.

10. The Worry Song from Anchors Aweigh. Dancing with cartoon Jerry, pretty impressive.

9. You Wonderful You from Summer Stock. When he's dancing by himself in the barn with the newspaper.

Gene Kelly and his newspaper

8. Good Morning from Singin' in the Rain. Beware: There's going to be a lot of Singin' in the Rain in this list.

7. Singin' in the Rain from Singin' in the Rain. Obviously.

6. For Me and My Gal from For Me and My Gal. Those two are so cute together.

4. Moses Supposes from Singin' in the Rain.

3. Broadway Melody from Singin' in the Rain. Specifically, the part with Cyd Charisse in the green dress. When he flips his head back and knocks his hat off? It never gets old.

2. Ballin' the Jack from For Me and My Gal. This was always my favorite as a kid and I still love watching it!

1. The Portland Fancy from Summer Stock. I realize this may be an unconventional choice, but it's the best. Deal with it.

Gene Kelly & Judy Garland Portland Fancy

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Kids and Movies and Reality, OH MY

As you may know, I've been spending a lot of time watching movies with my kids lately. Some are old, some are new, some are in-between but there is one thing that's become clear through all of them: My kids are very confused about reality.

I really thought we were getting past this. I expect my 5 year old to still get confused, but the 8 and 10 year olds? I'm certain we've gone over this multiple times, and yet, we still have some strange, confusing conversations during movies. 

It doesn't matter if it's Jurassic Park or a fabulous Judy Garland movie, the conversations are shockingly similar. They go something like this:


Child: Mom, is this real?

Me: No, it's a movie.

Child: Ok, but did this really happen?

Me: Well, no, dinosaurs never existed at the same time as people. (Or, no, people don't break out into song in the middle of random conversations. Or, no, there's not money buried under a giant W. Or, no, there's not an eccentric man living in a submarine getting attacked by a giant squid.)

Child: Ok, but are the people real?

Me: The characters are made up.

Child: Ok, but are they real people?

Me: Well, the actors are real people.

Child: So did the people actually DO this?

Me: Well...the actors...acted it out...yes.

Child: So this is real?


And don't even get me started on movies that are based on a true story.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Old Movies With Kids: In the Good Old Summertime

In honor of Judy Garland's 100th birthday, I made the family watch In the Good Old Summertime. I've written about this movie a number of times, but it had been some years since I've watched it. 

This one just never disappoints. It has humor, songs, romance, excessive arm flapping.  What more can you ask for?

It's also right in the middle of one of the best trifecta movie remake series...es in history.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The kids were lukewarm on it. It unfortunately is missing some of the bigger song and dance numbers we get in most Judy movies, except for the arm flapping in I Don't Care which always made me laugh as a kid and did the same for my own kids!

From the Kids:

10 year old girl: 3 stars

8 year old boy: 1 star

5 year old girl: 4 stars

As usual, my son did not enjoy this movie as he is determined to reject ALL old movies except Singin' in the Rain.

The girls liked the songs, especially the one when Judy plays the harp.

They also got a kick out of Van Johnson's made-up unattractive Newspickle fellow.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

100 Years of Judy Garland

In case you haven't heard, Friday, June 10, 2022 is Judy Garland's 100th birthday! I will likely be celebrating by forcing my husband and children to watch a Judy movie. Perhaps Summer Stock. Or In the Good Old Summertime. Or Harvey Girls! It's going to be hard to pick.

I was pleased to see the Gene Siskel Film center is showing a number of Judy films this summer. I'm debating if it's worth it to spend the time and money to get downtown to catch a showing but how often do I get the opportunity to see these movies in a theater?? It's tempting for sure!

In Judy's honor, here's a roundup of past posts:

How will you be celebrating Judy's 100th birthday?

Monday, May 2, 2022

Old Movies With Kids: Singin' In the Rain AKA The One My Son Likes

So it's been some months now since I started regularly watching old movies with my kids and you would think my son has straight up been TORTURED every time. He sort of liked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but since then, it's been rough for him--apparently he's hated every movie we've watched.

So I was pleasantly surprised when he actually asked to watch Singin' In the Rain. Maybe this is cheating because this was not his first viewing of this film. We've watched it on a number of occasions including in the theater (splendid!), but how can I say no to the old movie he's actually asking to watch?


I know that the main reason he likes it is Make 'Em Laugh, which does indeed make him laugh. But he seems to actually enjoy the rest of the film as well.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Singin' In the Rain never disappoints. It truly has it all. Humor that actually holds up almost 70 years later, plus great music and dancing. It's just wonderful from start to finish!

I tried to impress the kids with my trivia the Debbie Reynolds is Princess Leia's mom, but they didn't seem impressed. I'm going to pretend that it's because they just don't care about Star Wars that much and not because they just don't care about my trivia that much.

From the kids:

10 year old girl - 4 stars

4 year old girl - 3 stars

8 year old boys - 3 stars

Kids' favorite moments:

Too many to choose!

Make 'em Laugh - everyone's favorite!

Broadway Melody for its moving sidewalk and colorful ending

Friday, April 22, 2022

Top 10 Classic Dance Numbers Featuring Props and/or Special Effects

Last weekend, when we watched Easter Parade with the kids, I was faced with my shameful lack of classic movie parenting skills when the children were confused by Fred Astaire's solo dance number to Steppin' Out With My Baby. They couldn't figure out where Judy was or why he was doing this dance with a bunch of other people randomly in the middle of the movie. Naturally, I had to explain to them how most of these old musicals have the big climactic dance scene, typically featuring Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly using some sort of prop or special effect. Clearly, I need to watch more of these with the kids!

But that got me thinking about all my favorite big climactic dance numbers. I can imagine how fun it would have been for 1940's me to show up at the movie theater and wait with anticipation through most of the film for the big moment. There are so many good ones! 

 So here are my top 10 favorite dance numbers featuring a prop or special effect:

10. Gene and the trash can lids. So creative and I'm sure I would have seriously injured myself attempting such a thing.

9. Fred and the hat rack. Simple and wonderful.

8. Fred and the shoes. If you're into disembodied feet, this is the one for you.

7. Gene and the newspaper. Listen, we all know that the Portland Fancy is the best dance number in Summer Stock, but Gene is adorable here with his newspaper.

6. Donald and the dummy. And the wood plank. And the brick wall. And the hat. This one does make my son laugh!

5. Gene and Jerry. High tech.

4. Fred and the slo-mo. Lots going on in this one!

3. Gene and the rain. Obviously.

2. Fred on the ceiling. Mesmerizing. I could watch this all day.

1. Gene and Cyd and ... the hat? Ok this one maybe doesn't have a stand out prop or special effect but there's a hat. Glasses? The guy flipping his coin? Anyway, it's just my favorite dance scene ever. What does it have to do with the rest of the movie? Basically nothing. But we know these guys (Fred and Gene) need their moment to shine and this takes the cake!

I know this is not a comprehensive list at all. What are your favorites?

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Old Movies With Kids: Easter Parade

Well, it's Easter weekend so of course, I had to make sure the kids watched Easter Parade!

If it wasn't already obvious, Judy Garland is pretty much my favorite. I've written about Easter Parade before and all of my opinions there still stand.

This film features a stressful love square, the less common relative of the love triangle. These people just go around in circles. It would have all easily been solved if Judy had just gone for the much more handsome and debonair Peter Lawford. But no, it has to be Fred. And poor Peter Lawford is stuck with Nadine who's been awkwardly chasing him through the entire movie.

A major debate came up during our viewing: Does Peter Lawford have a British accent? I say he obviously does. My husband doesn't think so at all and my 10 year old daughter agreed with him, though I don't necessarily trust her opinion. He was born in London, but spent time in many different countries. Nonetheless, IT'S SO OBVIOUS THAT HE HAS A BRITISH ACCENT. I don't even understand how this is a debate!

From the kids

10 year old girl - 4 stars

8 year old boy - 0 stars - "Boo"

5 year old girl - 3 stars

Clearly, my son was not into this movie. It seems he's becoming more adverse to old movies the more we watch them. Bad news for him: We're not going to stop watching them.

The girls liked Judy Garland, of course! They really enjoyed the songs and dancing, especially Fred Astaire dancing in slow motion.