Movies where actors sing?
March 30, 2006 6:19 AM   Subscribe

What are some good movies with musical numbers sung by the actors?

My wife and I really liked "Everyone Says I Love You" as well as "El Otro Lado de la Cama" and "Los Dos Lados de la Cama". Are there other contemporary movies with songs sung by the actors? In both of these cases, the songs were well-known hits that fit into the movie plot.

We're not interested in musicals made into movies. Those of you who are familiar with the movies listed above probably know the vibe we're looking for.
posted by BigBrownBear to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The Saddest Music in the World: most of the musical numbers are instrumental, but Mark McKinney does perform "The Song is You".
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:27 AM on March 30, 2006


Dancer in the Dark?
posted by subtle-t at 6:28 AM on March 30, 2006


Walk the Line
posted by necessitas at 6:32 AM on March 30, 2006


Moulin Rouge vaguely fits your criteria. The soundtrack is all well-known hits sung by the actors.
posted by FreezBoy at 6:39 AM on March 30, 2006


Chicago
posted by visual mechanic at 6:41 AM on March 30, 2006


everyone says i love you (or something like that) - woody allen
posted by echo0720 at 6:42 AM on March 30, 2006


Breakfast at Tiffany's includes Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River.
posted by kdern at 6:42 AM on March 30, 2006


oh shoot, not interested in musicals made into my movies. sorry.
posted by visual mechanic at 6:42 AM on March 30, 2006


Also - check out the Tracy Ullman show on DVD. They often had sketches where the actors spontaneously burst into song.
posted by kdern at 6:43 AM on March 30, 2006


"Singing in the Rain" in A Clockwork Orange.
posted by pracowity at 6:54 AM on March 30, 2006


There is a very charming song-and-dance number at the end credits of Down with Love.
posted by mimi at 6:59 AM on March 30, 2006


In Duets, Gwyeth Paltrow sings with Huey Lewis.
posted by iconomy at 7:10 AM on March 30, 2006


Meryl Streep did her own singing in Postcards From the Edge. She was frighteningly good at that too.
posted by Heminator at 7:13 AM on March 30, 2006


im thinking more movies that are based around musical number scenes as in with everybody says i love you. not just a song sung by an actor....

movies that arent musicals but sort of musical-like in away.

basically other movies like ESILY or el otro lado de la cama.

definitely not dancer in the dark :), though that is along the line i suppose.
posted by BigBrownBear at 7:18 AM on March 30, 2006


Magnolia - almost all the actors sing a song together, albeit inhabiting different scenes.
posted by pollystark at 7:23 AM on March 30, 2006


"Once More With Feeling" is the musical Buffy episode. Everybody sings. You'd like it.
posted by viewofdelft at 7:24 AM on March 30, 2006


"Newsies" has some singing by the actors. (It's got Doogie's best friend Vinnie singing, how much better does it get??)
posted by inigo2 at 7:27 AM on March 30, 2006


im thinking more movies that are based around musical number scenes...movies that arent musicals

"Movies based around musical number scenes" is pretty much the DEFINITION of a musical, isn't it?
posted by antifuse at 7:35 AM on March 30, 2006


Dennis Quaid wrote and sang "Closer to You" in "The Big Easy."
posted by sixpack at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2006


A Life Less Ordinary (strange movie) has a scene in which Ewan McGregor sings very well and Cameron Diaz sings very very badly. I think Cameron Diaz has a very very bad song in The Mask, too, if I remember correctly. And everyone bursts out in song in My Best Friend's Wedding, but thankfully I'm pretty sure Cameron Diaz is drowned out by the rest of the cast in that one.

Will someone stop her, please?
posted by srah at 7:40 AM on March 30, 2006


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
posted by muckster at 7:51 AM on March 30, 2006


The Ruling Class isn't quite contemporary -- 1972 -- but it's well worth watching and fits your criteria; the musical numbers are part of the plot, rather than the typical musical "now we'll stop the movie for a while while everybody sings at you" thing. Peter O'Toole's second-best movie.

And I second the recommendation for Moulin Rouge; of all the movies listed above it's probably the closest to what you describe.
posted by ook at 7:58 AM on March 30, 2006


Muckster, UoC looks like it has potential. will have to check that out.

antifuse - i agree that is the definition, but I guess I am talking about a specific "kind" of musical - ones where it is essentially just a movie, but that happens to have musical numbers in it.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:02 AM on March 30, 2006


oh, and i didnt like moulin rouge. did anyone here actually see el otro lado de la cama? we're really just looking for other movies like that.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:03 AM on March 30, 2006


Here's a link to IMDB.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:04 AM on March 30, 2006


"Movies based around musical number scenes" is pretty much the DEFINITION of a musical, isn't it?

Yeah -- Everyone Says I Love You is a musical. I guess you what you're saying is that you like musicals, but not broadway musicals?

Why not older musicals like "Singin' in the Rain", "Paint Your Wagon" (but ONLY to see Clint Eastwood try to sing), "The Sound of Music"... and someone mentioned "Down with Love" which was an homage to Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies like "Pillow Talk" which has songs but isn't a musical by your definition.

Even the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" would fit the bill.

Plus just about every Marx Brothers movie.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:06 AM on March 30, 2006


In Reality Bites, Ethan Hawke sings part of the Violent Femmes' song "Add it Up" while on stage as part of his character's band. (On the soundtrack for the movie, Hawke sings another song called "I'm Nuthin'" that I think he wrote himself.
posted by rmless at 8:07 AM on March 30, 2006


How about My Best Friend's Wedding? The entire cast sings "I Say A Little Prayer" at a restaraunt (I still see Lobster oven mitts when I hear this song).
posted by blackkar at 8:10 AM on March 30, 2006


my best friend's wedding and willy wonka fit closer to the bill. well said robot jonny.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:12 AM on March 30, 2006


based on the above criteria, would 8 Mile be a musical?
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:15 AM on March 30, 2006


Also, "Blazing Saddles" has a few musical numbers, but is hardly what I'd call a musical. Though because it's such a broad comedy, maybe it doesn't fit with what you're really looking for since it's already so far removed from reality.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:16 AM on March 30, 2006


based on the above criteria, would 8 Mile be a musical?

No, because 8 Mile is a story about a rapper, so when Eminem sings (er, raps) it's part of the story, not a fantasy element like in other musicals.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:20 AM on March 30, 2006


Forgot to mention that I think it's stupid that "Walk the Line" won the Golden Globe for "Best Musical or Comedy" when it was neither of those things.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:21 AM on March 30, 2006


Are you talking musical biopics? Jamie Foxx did all his own singing and piano playing in Ray (it won him an Oscar). Kevin Kline did a bit of it in De-Lovely, in which he portrayed Cole Porter, although some of the pop stars singing Porter's standards (I'm glaring right at you, Alanis Morissette) did a ghastly job.

I have heard good things about Kevin Spacey's job as Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea. That's in my Netflix queue.

In terms of non-biopic movies featuring music sung by the actors, Emmy Rossum, Aidan Quinn, and others sing Apallachian Mountain music in Songcatcher, the story of a musicologist studying the link between English ballads and mountain music. In terms of great music, I'd also recommend O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Buena Vista Social Club.
posted by phoebus at 8:29 AM on March 30, 2006


Ah. forgot about O Brother, Where Art Thou? That's along the lines.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:31 AM on March 30, 2006


This might be a reach, but what about The Phantom of the Paradise?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:37 AM on March 30, 2006


never heard of it, but that sounds really cool. now that i think of it, rocky horror also fits the criteria.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:39 AM on March 30, 2006


Nashville, naturally. The actors had to write their songs too. In fact, Gary Busey was slated to star, wrote a song, and then didn't appear, but his song did.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2006


i guess there are probably some good bollywood too, but i dont know much about bollywood.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2006


Not a music, but a mockumentary (along with several different musical styles and the actual actors singing.) Spinal Tap.
posted by filmgeek at 8:47 AM on March 30, 2006


Nearly every major character sings in The Night of the Hunter. Mostly hymns and spirituals, to a very creepy effect. Not too contemporary, though.

Absolute Beginners is a musical, but an odd one. Some of the songs are presented realistically as part of the normal plot, and some are a little out there.

More movies about musicians: Velvet Goldmine, The Jazz Singer, A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Hustle and Flow, A Mighty Wind.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:50 AM on March 30, 2006


some great titles to pirate! mininova here I come! (did I say pirate? I meant rent from my local blockbuster).
posted by BigBrownBear at 9:07 AM on March 30, 2006


I think the Dennis Potter serials "The Singing Detective" and "Lipstick on Your Collar" are good examples of this, not to mention worth seeing in their own right. They both contain loads of songs which are not "musical type" songs - they are just regular popular songs from the period in which the drama is set, which are lip-synched by the actors. I'm pretty sure he did this with "Pennies from Heaven" as well (which was also made into a movie) but I haven't seen it.
posted by teleskiving at 9:28 AM on March 30, 2006


De-Lovely features Kevin Kline (as Cole Porter) singing and playing the piano. His singing (and the singing of other performers in the movie such as Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Alanis Morrissette, etc.) may have been overdubbed, but Kline played the piano himself, live, in those scenes.
posted by emelenjr at 9:37 AM on March 30, 2006


In Almost Famous all the main actors sing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" on the tour bus.
There's more music in the movie, obviously, but this instance is just random singing on the bus, and not part of the musicians-on-stage story line.
posted by easternblot at 9:37 AM on March 30, 2006


A Chorus Line, Rent, Moulin Rogue
posted by heartquake at 10:20 AM on March 30, 2006


My favorite western ever, Rio Bravo.
posted by ewkpates at 10:36 AM on March 30, 2006


p.s. i'm a dumbass, you mentioned everyone says i love you in your post, i just read the first part. sorry, not so helpful of me.
posted by echo0720 at 10:37 AM on March 30, 2006


In Annie Hall, Diane Keaton sings 'Just Like Old Times' very sweetly.
posted by tula at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2006


Monty Python's Life of Brian - "Always look on the bright side of life."
posted by matildaben at 12:53 PM on March 30, 2006


Would "Jesus Christ Superstar" fit the profile, or is it a musical? Anyway, awesome movie, awesome music regardless.
posted by aeighty at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2006


The 1994 Albert Brooks/Nick Nolte vehicle I'll Do Anything was supposed to be like this, but the preview audiences hated the songs, so they were cut out of the release version.

The DVD release doesn't contain any of the song and dance numbers, apparently, leaving some people feeling cheated. As the reviewer at Digitally Obsessed eloquently puts it: "Where's my singing Nick Nolte footage?"
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:16 PM on March 30, 2006


good call on JSC. The monty pythons are worth noting, too.
posted by BigBrownBear at 6:59 AM on March 31, 2006


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