Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Dreamgirls
A fun fact about ol’ Jess Tholmer: if I really enjoy a movie, I will see it in the theater more than one time. Yes, even if movie prices are out of control these days. I mean, I don’t get popcorn every time, you guys, don’t judge me so hard.
I saw Titanic eleven times in the theater during its first run (one for each Oscar it won!) and I have now seen it fifteen times in the theater.
(And yeah, I know the pride in that sentence is why I am single, or like…one of the hundreds of reasons that I am single.)
I saw Mean Girls four times in the theater, and gasped every time Regina George got hit by the bus.
I saw Princess Diaries 2 four times in the theater, and I can’t even explain that one.
But the movie that holds the second place title in my creepy theater-going obsession is Dreamgirls, that Broadway inspired beautiful film about sassy Black women belting their hearts and souls out. This is my literal perfect movie, and I am about to confess something here:
I did not like Beyoncé until I saw Dreamgirls. I know it is horrible. I know it is unbelievable. I know I am ashamed of myself as much as you are now. But Bey, man, she blew this movie out of the water. When she sings “Listen,” I still clap afterwards, tears springing to my eyes. Sometimes, people need to grow into your heart, and plant themselves there for life. Bey did just that with this movie, the movie she claims is the first time she considered herself an actress. Me too, Mrs. Carter. You go, Mrs. Carter.
Dreamgirls was nominated for eight Oscars, and it won two, though it should have been three. Sorry, Eddie baby. You were robbed!
EINTKILF Dreamgirls (the Movie)
1. Never get involved with a taken man.
Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose, the cutest woman alive), the sweet Dreamette who has no problem being a backup singer, who has no problem being in the shadow of both Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Deena (Beyoncé) falls totally in love with Mr. Jimmy Early (Eddie Murphy) basically as soon as she meets him. He is quite the charmer, and immediately has his eye on her. Though she tries to stand up for herself in the beginning of the tour (“well, then, you get your married hands off!”), she gives in eventually and ends up in an eight year relationship with the married man.
She eventually leaves him, and leaves them both broken-hearted. Jimmy dies shortly afterward of a drug overdose.
Straight tragedy, ladies. Do not get involved with a man who will never leave his wife for you. Err…do not get involved with a man who has a wife in the first place.
2. “R&B” means “rough and Black.”
Okay, I think “R&B” actually means “rhythm and blues,” but you know I would probably believe anything Eddie Murphy told me, including that the kid is not his son.
Sorry, guys. I just…really love Eddie.
3. Murphy really can act.
Murphy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Dreamgirls, and upon my death bed, I will still hold a grudge about the upset of Alan Arkin winning for Little Miss Sunshine.
Murphy plays the best soul singer around, channeling his inner James Brown, singing at the top of his lungs, tugging at our heartstrings throughout his drug addiction, making us fall in love with him as he makes Lorrell fall in love with him. MAN, MURPHY. You are my dude.
4. Boys like sugar sweet girls.
Deena: I’m just saying, you might do a little better if you were just a little more, you know…
Effie: Shy? Sugar sweet like you?
Deena: Boys seem to like it!
Effie: Well, I am not interested in boys, then.
Preach it, sistah. I am always contemplating trying to be more what I call, “damsel-in-distress“y, but that never lasts for long because I am, what Effie calls, a real woman.
5. Fake your way to the top.
I mean, there are hardly any lyrics in this awesome song, but when the girls shake those tambourines in those hot red sequin dresses, I am fully committed to faking everything for the rest of my life.
6. Good looks will get you the top spot.
Though the writers of Dreamgirls (play and movie) do not necessarily admit it, the story is loosely based on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes, in which Miss Ross is the famous one of the trio because she is the most attractive, not necessarily the one with the best voice. In Dreamgirls, Deena eventually gets top billing because she is “the pretty one,” though she factually has less of a powerful voice as Effie. Sex sells, though, which is a sad fact that has remained true throughout the years. Sometimes talent takes a backseat to sex appeal.
I guess it helps to have both, which Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson both do IRL. You go, divas.
7. Never, ever turn your back on your family.
I mean, how dare Cece not support Effie, not to mention Deena and Lorrell. They all just sang that “we are a giant tree” song and all of a sudden they are replacing her with that lady who used to be on Boston Public. I will never get down with Cece not standing up for his sister. I know money talks, yo I get it, but his sister is being totally backstabbed and Cece just lets it be.
Jamie Foxx’s character Curtis Taylor Jr. is a dog, dawg, so I understand why he doesn’t care about anything but making it rain, but come on. This just breaks my heart every single time, which leads me to our next lesson:
8. The song “And I Am Telling You” is the most emotional song of all-time.
I will take suggestions of songs that top this bad daddy, but I will most likely not be swayed because the emotion coming out of J.Hud in her OSCAR WINNING SCENE is UNREAL. I mean, this girl just BELTS that ish.
“Please don’t go/away from me/stay with me/stay with me.”
I mean, she is just begging him to stay with her, and I get so many chills as I start ugly crying and ugh, this is my most unattractive state, watching this scene.
I am so happy Hudson won an Oscar for this movie. Justice.
9. Men are the worst.
The men in this movie are just awful people.
Curtis is a skeez, a liar, a cheater, and a thief. (But he is super hot.)
Cece abandons his sister to make a dime.
Jimmy Early has a long affair with Lorrell while still married to his wife, becomes totally addicted to drugs, and ends up causing his own demise. To be fair, I would call Jimmy less of a bad person, and more just a sad story, but still. The affair thing is not great.
The only good man in this movie is Danny Glover, because Danny Glover is the king of the world.
10. Soul music is the best music.
One of my favorite parts of Dreamgirls is the time span coverage. The movie covers plenty of genres of music, even reaching the disco era, the weirdest era in music history, probs. When all is said and done, don’t you jam most to the soul music? I know I do!
“Man, I got soul. You cannot kill a man with soul!” Jimmy Early
Soul music is the best. Nothing speaks to love, or life, or struggle better than soul music. I spend my days with Aretha, Etta, Otis, and Ray because they understand my every moment. Can I get an amen?