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Singing in the Hereditary

Two reviewers. Two genres. Dan loves horror. Erin isn’t a fan. Erin loves musicals. Dan doesn’t feel the love. Can we convince each other to appreciate each other’s favorites?

Dan’s pick for Erin:

Believe it or not, Erin has seen most of the horror classics that came to mind initially (The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.), so I chose a modern classic for her: writer/director Ari Aster’s debut Hereditary. (See page 10 for our review of Midsommar.) As much about grief and family dysfunction as it is about, well, even more horrific things, it features actors Erin will recognize (Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne). Come for the emotional impact and thespian skill, stay for the… well, you’ll find out.

Erin’s pick for Dan:

How is this possible? Dan has missed out on one of the best musicals in Hollywood history,1952’s Singin’ in the Rain. This classic not only offers great songs and dances, but it’s also an original musical from MGM that shows the creativity of the studio system with its bright, tuneful look at early Hollywood. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, a young Debbie Reynolds and Oscar-nominated Jean Hagen are marvelous. Even Dan should like it.

OK, what did we think?

Dan on Singin’ in the Rain:

I’ll admit to something: I love watching tap-dancing. So scenes with Gene Kelly and/or Donald O’Connor clappin’ the taps (is that a term?) are delightful, and they make it look so easy. Jean Hagen is pretty amusing; it must be difficult to sound like such a dumb blonde. Also, for a 1952 film, some of the cinematography is really impressive: the Cyd Charisse number? Wow! But the corny dialogue and sudden breaks into love songs must not be my bag, man. (Although it does give me a better appreciation for the musical numbers on Family Guy.) To say that I was underwhelmed would be unfair, but I’ll allow that I was whelmed. 

Erin on Hereditary:

Hereditary is an amazing movie. Too bad I couldn’t look at the screen for 30 percent of it. For those who don’t like musicals, is it due to the tension that builds and builds, that stops your breathing and knots your gut as you wait for a song or dance number to start? Face it, the problem with horror films is that bad things are going to happen to characters. I hate waiting for those bad things to happen, and that’s why I stay away from most horror films, even one as good as Hereditary—especially one like Hereditary. With great performances by Collette and Alex Wolff, plus a relentless script that makes even a family dinner terrifying, I’m glad I saw the movie. Just let me now watch something less stomach-churning.

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