Les Miserables Taught Me How to Hate Again

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Last night I went to a showing of Les Miserables. And when I say “went to” I mean “hogtied and dragged at gun point by my wife, her sister and her mom”. By the looks of many of the other men in that crowded overheated theater, I was not the only hostage victim in attendance. In fact I saw one dude commit Hara-kiri while shouting “death before dishonor” in the parking lot prior to the screening. At first I thought he was slightly overreacting. And then the movie started.

I have to say, after watching the entire film, it was actually a thousand times worse than I could have imagined. Les Miserables will stand forever as the most miserable cinematic experience I’ve ever suffered through. And this is coming from a guy who saw “Christmas with the Kranks” in theaters, so that should tell you something.

Let me run through a few points about this excruciating horror show for anyone, especially any man, who has not yet been forced to endure it.

Les Miserables apparently holds the Guinness world record for longest musical about a minor parole violation. It tells the utterly pointless tale of an ex-con as he tries to elude a bumbling parole officer for 20 years. This is also, it should be mentioned, the first film to show two decades pass by in real time. So if you’re heading to the theater tonight make sure to pack a change of clothes. My wife told me afterward that the movie, despite its torturous running time, actually CUT OUT several scenes from the original play. Too bad they didn’t cut out more scenes. Like every scene. Of course it didn’t have to be that long. Hugh Jackman, the criminal guy, could have just, you know, MOVED OUT OF THE FREAKING CITY IF HE DIDN’T WANT TO BE CAUGHT. Instead this whole game of cat-and-mouse between Jackman and Russell Crowe takes place in one neighborhood. The dumbest criminal of the millennium vs. a law enforcement officer that makes every Leslie Nielsen character look like Sherlock Holmes in comparison.

Oh. But it gets worse. Much worse. They sing. Dear God do they sing. They sing EVERYTHING. Look, I know it’s a musical. I get it. I’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music and West Side Story. They sing in those films/plays also. But then they break up the musical numbers with normal dialogue. But that’s just too simple and not nearly irritating enough, according to the maniac who wrote this tornado of crap. Every single line in the movie is sung. It doesn’t matter how pedestrian the dialogue, they have to put it to music: “Pass the salt”, “Hang on I gotta take a leak”, etc. All put to song. My sister-in-law cried throughout the whole movie. I cried tears of blissful joy when Russell Crowe threw himself off a bridge at the end because it meant he’d finally stop singing. BUT EVEN THAT DIDN’T STOP HIM. All the dead people had to come back before the credits for one last encore. By the way, Crowe, you’re the guy who played the gladiator but now you will live in infamy as the most awkward casting decision in Hollywood history. You reminded me of someone’s dad who was tossed into the school play at the last minute after his son came down with laryngitis on opening night.

But let’s talk about the “big” musical numbers. You don’t need to buy the soundtrack. I’ll sum up every song in the movie. Here you go: “I’m so lonely, I’m so alone, look at me my life is hard, I’m alone, I’m on my own, there’s this empty chair here, it’s empty because I’m alone, I’m lonely, all this bad stuff has happened to me because of my inexcusably stupid life choices, I’m alone, I feel so alone, on my own, on my own, on my own, did I mention I’m on my oooooowwwwwn?”

Not a dry eye in the house after we heard that one. For the 40th time.

Vapid, shallow, predictable, self indulgent and emotionally manipulative. “BUT IT’S A CLASSIC!” No. No it’s not. Who cares if the play has been around for a while? Malaria has been around for a while. Just because something is old doesn’t make it a “classic”.

And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that half the characters in this flick– which is set in France — have an inexplicable limey British chimney sweep accent. That would make sense for Mary Poppins but not this. Incidentally THAT’S a musical I’d sooner watch 5 times in a row before being subjected to another 3 minutes of Les Miserables.

Then, two thirds of the way through the movie, we get the obligatory tragic love story. Here’s how it goes: a young French revolutionary spots a blonde chick across the street. The two lock eyes and literally THAT NIGHT the dumb desperate loser is singing about how he’d “die for her”. Really? And I’m supposed to become psychologically invested in a plot device that has just reduced the beauty, joy, pain and sacrifice of romantic love to something you can catch like a cold or fall into like a puddle? I know Hollywood has been peddling that nonsense for ages but this was simply too much to cope with.

To make matters worse we’re all supposed to be super impressed because the songs (and by “songs” I mean “every single word uttered during the course of the entire picture”) are performed live instead of being recorded in a studio and dubbed into the film. “GEE WOW I’M SO ENAMORED WITH YOUR ARTISTIC INTEGRITY”. Is that the reaction I’m supposed to have? I don’t know because my initial reaction was something like “Man, this sounds awful”. Instead of lip syncing pre-recorded songs, the actors sputtered out of key while choking back tears and gasping for breath. It was like listening to someone sing karaoke while being chased by a swarm of African killer bees. Coincidentally, that is the actual premise of a reality show on TruTV. Except that show likely has more depth and intelligence. I don’t care if the “let’s do it live” move was “revolutionary”. Not all revolutions are good. Just ask France.

I could go on. But I won’t. I hated Les Miserables with a violent passion. Let’s leave it at that.

And at this: my wife now has to watch four mob movies, three war movies and two History Channel documentaries with me.

That’s the exchange rate.

Sorry, honey, I don’t make the rules. But I will enforce them.

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914 Responses to Les Miserables Taught Me How to Hate Again

  1. It’s alright honey – you’ll be ok…emotions are a normal part of growing up. I want to know why your wife didn’t go with some GIRLFRIENDS i instead of that horrible trade you think she is going to honour ( call me (your wife that is) and I will give you an easy out on that)

    Your funny and you are entitled to your opinion. I went (with my 21 yr old nephew) and WE loved it. To each their own eh?

  2. How funny this writer is being attacked by women and winning the approval of the men. Ladies-get a sense of humor. Yes…he doesn’t get it. I don’t get watching Baseball…9 guys out in a field waiting for a ball to come to them. I can make fun of it but appreciate how others may enjoy it. I like Les Mis. But the songs (and there are really only 4 themes here) are STUCK in my head. Can’t sleep. Keep singing…Look down…look down…and Bring him home. Driving me nuts. It was much better on Broadway but the movie has it moments and its flaws. He’s dead on about Crowe. Horrible casting. He’s also right about the actors crying through these songs in EXTREME close-up. It was claustrophobic. And before some of you start in on how I should research and learn more about Les Mis, I’ll stop you by mentioning that I’ve read the book, seen earlier versions (non musicals) of the classic AND I’m an actor/director. I love his review. I appreciate how some people won’t appreciate the film or the music. Art is subjective and funny is funny. It’s a good film with some bad and awkward moments. It isn’t perfect by a long shot. To me, its rather like the movie Titanic. Everyone HAD to see it. It’s sooooo amazing. It won so many oscars. I tried to watch it last year on DVD. I got bored and turned it off- Les Mis is NOT a guys film. Jack Reacher is- Give this reviewer a break. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. ldw says:

    I watched the dvd of the 10th anniversary concert and enjoyed the music. Believing that I should learn more I began listening to an audio version of the Les Miserables novel.Eventually I gave up, all that misery. My first thought was ‘ why did the hero keep escaping from prison and find that his sentence extended to 19 years. ‘ He could have been out after 5 years.

  4. Best. Fucking. Review. EVER. And I liked, LIKED the movie. Seriously. But this review had me peeing in my pants. And my bladder is fine. Well, until I read this review. Then, incontinence.
    Hilarious.

  5. Tom Wheeler says:

    WHEN did the idea that you’re cool if you can speak disparagingly about someone else’s (work, life, product, whatever…) get traction? What a bore this review was!

  6. Wow, I don’t know what to think now. I originally didn’t feel compelled by the theme or subject matter of the film. Whatever songs I’d ever heard from the musical must not have stuck with me much because I couldn’t name a single song in the show. (And I know thousands of songs!) But then I heard from a woman I respect that it was an incredible film, so I was all psyched up to go see the movie. But now I’m thinking, NOT SO FAST! I appreciate the sincerity of your negative review. It seems very well informed. (Yeah, that would annoy me too, to have every single word of dialog sung–makes the whole thing sound very contrived!) I’ll probably go to Youtube and listen to some songs from the show, and if I like them enough, I’ll go see the movie.

    • MRC says:

      “(Yeah, that would annoy me too, to have every single word of dialog sung–makes the whole thing sound very contrived!)”

      Um, guys, IT’S A MUSICAL. That’s what a musical IS.

  7. Anon says:

    This has nothing to do with culture. I’m sure that if some dude in the 1980′s wouldn’t have decided to make a musical out of it, 95 percent of the hardcore fangirls out there wouldn’t even know or care about the book today. That book, by the way, although it is an old bestseller, was received poorly by most critics of the time because of its simple and repetitive characters, story and stereotypes. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile or it’s good. Just because something is a bestseller doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile or it’s good (see 50 shades of grey). If that’s your understanding of “culture” then I have to wonder what other filth you like waste your time with thinking you’re oh-so cultured and intellectual.
    I think Les Misérables is hopelessly overrated mainly because of that cheesy eighties musical. If there were no musical, no one would give two craps about the book today. I hate how everyone pretends it’s such a masterpiece when clearly it is not.
    As to the film: Although there were some really, really idiotic errors and anachronisms (like “Santa Claus” in red on a sleigh with reindeer for example. Really, Americans, really!? Then the dicrector doesn’t seem to know what a dry dock is and how it works. Also wrong flags, wrong uniforms, wrong orders, etc.), cinematographically it was very well made I think so the film strictly as film does have some merit.

    • Thomas says:

      You’re objectively wrong on multiple levels here.

      “no one would give two craps about the book today. I hate how everyone pretends it’s such a masterpiece when clearly it is not.”

      Citation desperately needed. I’m not sure how to tell you this, but a book doesn’t live or die by its initial critical reception.

      First of all, the book was extremely popular in serialized form when it came out, regardless of the mixed critical reviews.

      Second of all, despite its initial reception, in the past 150 years “Les Miserables” has come to be regarded as a masterpiece of literature. Not just by the troglodytes you rail against so heartily, but by various groups of literary critics and other groups that should meet your standards of worth.

      Does that mean you have to like the book – heaven’s no. I’ve disliked lots of highly acclaimed works. But stop pretending that the book’s modern popularity is some unfortunate effect of the musical. The book would have endured without it, though you’re almost certainly right that fewer people would have read it (it is very long, and it does have lots of tangents.)

      Evidence? Despite your claim that the book would have been practically dead had the musical never come out, the story had been adapted into a good dozen popular films (in Hollywood and France) before the musical (two of the best versions came out in the 30s.) It has also been the inspiration for countless more books, films, stage plays, etc.

      Quite a few of those versions are very good, and several of them were both critically acclaimed and popular at the box office. That might suggest something to you about the enduring popularity of the story.

      “Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile or it’s good. Just because something is a bestseller doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile or it’s good (see 50 shades of grey).”

      This is all very true. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually apply in this case. “Les Miserables” isn’t great because it’s old or because it’s popular – it’s great because of its story and the way in which that story is told.

      “If that’s your understanding of “culture” then I have to wonder what other filth you like waste your time with thinking you’re oh-so cultured and intellectual.”

      “Filth.” Methinks you’re being a bit melodramatic here (“melodramatic” – kind of like the film you’re railing again.) Look, I worry about the state of Hollywood too. I worry about the crap that people choose to celebrate and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on. I really wish that people would open their eyes to the much wider spectrum of movies being made around the world.

      However, the fact that this is doing well actually gives me hope (just like the relative popularity of last year’s silent film “The Artist” gave me hope.) Not because I think it’s the greatest thing ever or anything like that, but because it shows that people are willing to watch a wider range of fare than the usual Hollywood offering.

      Is this film melodramatic? Does it pounds emotions into you with a sledgehammer? Yes. But it’s also a 3-hour sung-through musical – a format that has been decidedly unpopular in the cinemas for several decades – and it’s still making hundreds of millions of dollars. (It also doesn’t hurt that I consider the musical to be one of the most gloriously cinematic of film genres, and an extraordinarily underrated one nowadays, so any musical doing well makes me happy.)

      Hollywood has become very one-note in the last few decades. There are only a few different kinds of movies being produced within the system now. The fact that they’re willing to pay for this, rather than, say, the latest lame Christmas movie or whatever, makes me a tiny bit more optimistic that people could enjoy a wider range of movies if they were offered to them. Regardless of what I think of the material, that can only be a good thing.

      “Really, Americans, really!?”

      Brits, actually. The director is British. Most of the cast is British and Australian. Not very many Americans involved. But don’t let facts get in your way.

  8. Rafael says:

    This was a real shocker of a movie. So much money spent to cast really inadequate people. I struggle with the fact that clearly star presence was sought over than talent. Why oh why was Russell cast? It is mind boggling. I think I was in one of the few cinemas where people walked out and people started laughing every time Russell opened his mouth. Certainly no crying to be had.

    • joshua says:

      Rafael you do realise that russel crowe is a professional musicain right? He is in a pretty damn popular band in New Zealand or australia which ever it is. And as for most of the other actors in this movie they are on regulars on broadway

      • Robert Blenheim says:

        I don’t care if they have letters of accommodation from Enrico Caruso. Most of the singing in this film is deplorable.

  9. Samuel Thiel says:

    There are plenty of singers around who can act as well…but they keep casting actors in singing roles (Pierce Brosnan in “Mama Mia”) who can’t sing. A stage piece or a movie that is totally sung should be entrusted to those who can do it. Believe me, you didn’t like the story partially because the singing was inadequate…or probably terrible. I will not see this film because I know the piece very well and it’s probably as big a bust as “Sweeney Todd” was with a bunch of brilliant actors who can’t sing. Stage is stage and film is film. The medium film has its own language as does the stage. They are not readily interchangeable. It is just as awful to see an opera directed by a film specialist as it is too see a stage work stuffed into a film. Everyone should just do what they do best and leave the other stuff to those who can those things. We would all be happier.

  10. just.jim says:

    Thanks for the warning. I’ve already commited to take my wife and mother to see Les Mis, but after reading this I’m looking for a theater which is running a showing of Django Unchained at the same time. That way the women in my life can enjoy a good cry while I don’t.

    • ajstor says:

      I’m a woman. I was tragically dragged to Les Miz, a soul-ear-sanity killing piece of utterly abhorrent CRAP. Spare your women the horror and take them to Django instead.

  11. Cindy Northup says:

    It is so nice to see others who hated this movie as much as I did. I don’t think I should be required to research a movie before I see it – the movie should stand on its own. And this one just kept falling down. I don’t hate all musicals, but this one is at the top of the list of awful. Really, singing dialogue is just inane, especially when it is done in high-pitched voices half the time. I was surprised there weren’t dogs howling in the background. The love-at-first-sight romance was totally unbelievable. The attempts at humor were WAY too broad and not funny (cutting off a cat’s tail for a stew, oh how hilarious. Not.). I couldn’t care about the characters because I didn’t believe or understand their motivations. When Russell jumped off the bridge I wish he had taken all the other characters with him.
    Thank you for a hilarious review – it almost made sitting through the movie worthwhile.

    • Thomas says:

      “Really, singing dialogue is just inane”

      I can understand the “high pitched” complaint, but singing dialogue is far from inane – it has been used very effectively in certain musicals and operas for many centuries. You might not like the way it’s handled here, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always inane.

  12. Richard HArdt says:

    Men like you give men a bad name.

  13. "chippen" says:

    “These are some of the things that I think”…what kind of sentence is that?
    Anyone who cannot use the English language correctly has lost his credibility in swaying audiences!
    Trashing a recently released film gives no one the right to deprive others the opportunity to judge for themselves the said merits of said film; so please Mr Matt, stay in the realm with which you are more familiar; perhaps cartoons or something more to your preferred genre where maybe you can display some expertise!

  14. Cynthia says:

    Yes indeed, this movie should not be critiqued by anyone who has not read the 1400 page book, seen the play, and researched this era of French history. NOT! A movie needs to stand on its own. If a compelling story can’t be told within the limits of the movie medium, then it shouldn’t be made into a movie. The reviewer has clearly articulated why he feels this is a bad movie – it isn’t because he is too ignorant to understand what he has seen. Get over yourself.

    • Thomas says:

      This is true. The idea that you need to read the book and do all sorts of other research in order to critique the movie is pretty dumb. If a movie can’t be appreciated without reading the source material, then that’s a fault of the movie. (Fortunately, I don’t think it really applies in this case – I know lots of people who have never read the book or seen a previous version of the story that still love the musical version of it.)

  15. Kim says:

    Most accurate review I have ever read. And hilarious. I hope you are dragged to more horrible movies so we can be entertained by your misery. I’m with you. The movie was horrible!

  16. Meg Feeley says:

    I recall seeing the play. Fell asleep midway through, in a remarkably unresponsive theatre audience, only to be awoken by a thunderous standing ovation offered , presumably, to themselves for having survived the ordeal.

  17. Pingback: Feeling that blah feeling « Memoirs of a Soon-to-Be Former Fat Guy

  18. misdreavus79 says:

    Oh snap. I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’m supposed to be a violence-loving, opera-hating, misogynistic, beer-drinking sex addict in order to be a man.

    How can I live with myself knowing that in supposed to be a man, but I liked this movie?

  19. Peter Brewer says:

    funny! A bit over-laden on the assumption of male perogative anti-sentimentalism, but dead on for the even more onerous assumption that collective tear-jerking is true catharthis. “Love Story” comes to mind as another cultural nadir.

  20. Armie says:

    I guess no one is cultured anymore these days, it’s one of the greatest novels by one of the greatest writers of all time. If you appreciate the story of the French revolution and a broadway play about it, you wouldn’t say all these hateful things about it. To each its own but open mindedness is also necessary for anything, or at least appreciating and seeing the good in everything. The saddest part is that you let your family drag you to such an awful experience and then ruin it for everyone else from your lengthy negative close minded review. I guess you should skip watching the academy awards to see all these awesome actors and actresses add another statue in their collection.

  21. Colleen O'Neil says:

    oh my god…funniest review I’ve ever read…and I forced my husband, son and daughter to Les Mis for my birthday. It was agony from the first 5 minutes. My first thought was “seriously???? are they going to sing EVERY line??” My son was polite, my husband HATED it and my daughter said her ass was killing her. And there were SO many good movies we COULD have gone to.

  22. Donna says:

    I thought the movie was OK for a musical. I personally didn’t like the story, or how filthy everyone was. I thought the songs got in the way of the dialog too much. There’s a way to do a musical where you don’t sit there and think “why are they singing now?” To me “Sound of Music” did it really well, this movie was depressing, dark and dirty in the literal sense. I could have skipped it. I did think that Russell Crowe had the best voice of the men who were singing in the movie… total surprise.

  23. kobolila says:

    Have not seen the film & I’m not planning to either; loved your thoughts on it though.

    I find interesting as well the disparaging remarks from those who condemn you for expressing your opinion on your own little nook of the web. If you shouldn’t be allowed to post a negative review about something you did not like and, according to them, did not understand; why are they making comments about your opinion which they neither understand nor like?

  24. Mark Spark says:

    The Piano was also a piece of dreck.

  25. siskinbob says:

    Enjoyed the review. No doubt, like you, I will be dragged along to a screening by my wife. I reserve my thoughts until then. Must admit I like the idea of trading viewing subject matter so I’ll give that a go. See how I get on. :)

  26. Adrianne says:

    You, sir, have no heart. You missed the entire purpose of this beautiful story .

  27. John Forrester says:

    First up …. I’m straight …. just to get that out the way !
    Second ….. I can’t ever imagine having such a closed and insensitive mind or soul . Your life must be the most sad and miserable existence if this sweeping story and the ground breaking music that accompanies it fails to move you .
    As a classically trained musician ( with a university degree in music to back it up ) your philistinism is in itself ground breaking … I feel sorry that you exist as you do …..

  28. Melanie says:

    I loved your review! I hated the movie.

    I have read the book and I know the history of the French revolution. I know the distinction between opera and musical and I like them both. That’s to counter those people who said your problem was you are ignorant, uncultured and have no appreciation for art, literature or history.

    The movie was TERRIBLE. There were times when I felt like I had to cover my ears they were so off key. And the tunes were absolutely unmemorable. Cosette’s voice was a crime against humanity. Frankly, it didn’t even sound like a human. That voice belonged on a mouse. The story was so condensed as to be incomprehensible and lost all of the meaning of the original — and yet still dragged on and on and on! Yes, it was a dirty time and that needs to be portrayed, this can be done well or poorly. Like everything in this movie, it was poorly and way over-the-top. Oh, and that brings me to the way the whole thing is insanely overacted and melodramatic! Could they get the camera any closer to the despondent actor’s faces?

    Oh, and what about: “Knock, knock? Whose there? French revolution!” Is the homage to Monty Python? In this setting? STUPID!

    The basic problem with this movie is that it is about the movie. It is about the egos of everyone involved. It is not about the story.

    I’m through ranting. I would have left early but I was with a friend who was obviously enjoying it.

    • Robert Blenheim says:

      A voice of reason and intellect!!! Thank you! RIGHT ON.

      And you inadvertently make me wonder why so many who are angry at Matt’s review can’t seem to comprehend that a treatment of a story (especially cinematically) is different from the story!!! Why can’t everyone have the intelligence to understand a good story can make a bad movie through incompetent direction and editing? I wonder why many more of those who love the book (as well as the original stage show) aren’t livid at this crummy movie for mucking it up!!!!

  29. MRC says:

    Why in god’s name would your wife even WANT you to go with her, given that you probably ruined the entire experience for her by sulking and complaining afterwards??

  30. Allen says:

    Wow, go watch a monster truck pull, knuckle dragger.

  31. Sten70 says:

    And how does Jean Valjean never have to work again, for the rest of his life, after he stops being the mayor of a provincial town? Was his factory of women sewing so successful he invested prudently enough in the stock market to live off the dividends FOREVER. Forget the limey accents Scaha Baron Cohen sings his first song in a French accent that he promptly loses. He must have missed the meeting about either we all do French accents or no-one does French accents.

  32. Joe says:

    LOL I actually really liked this movie but this review is amazing!

  33. Michael says:

    I guess there’s not much more to add since everyone already hit the major viewpoints. My two cents would be that he has a right to blog what he wants. I thought his review was hilarious. I haven’t seen it, and may or may not go. I have a feeling I won’t love it, but could probably stomach it. But to be offended by the review seems ridiculous. I mean it’s just one man’s opinion that many agree with and many don’t. There’s no reason to call into question his intelligence or state of culture. Like I said, it’s an opinion!

  34. Robbie says:

    You just proved your lack of intelligence by this awful review, I am a male and it was the best I have seen in a long, long time, shedding a tear,YES I did

  35. estellevw says:

    How can 3 hours of watching Wolverine sing, Cat Woman cry and Gladiator hunt Wolverine not be awesome?

  36. Dennis says:

    Dude, all you have to puhish your wife is get her to read your review. Sheesh. Yes, there was a lot that could have been improved with Les Mis, including scrapping Russell Crowe completely, but honestly, you knew what you were getting into, don’t expect me to feel sorry for you, and do us all a favor, GET OVER YOURSELF!!!!

  37. Michele says:

    I often wonder why people write blogs on subjects that they know nothing about. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion but don’t write on a subject which you are uneducated or uninformed about.
    Les Mis is a Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s mammoth novel. It is one of the longest running and successful musicals in history, worldwide, having been performed in almost every language. The score is magnificent, and yes, it’s sung through like an opera. The story is condensed to fit in to under 3 hours for stage and screen. The film captured all the grittiness of the time, thus the dirty fingernails and rotten teeth.
    Criticism of the actors who had to sing without the use of a track has been rampant. Having seen many opera films, I know it doesn’t work. I think the actors did their best to put forth dynamic portrayals of these heart wrenching characters using their voices and emotions, raw emotions not always honest when recorded in a studio. As one of the actors said, if they had recorded it months before and then filmed it, they would have had to make their acting choices months in advance and wouldn’t have been able to explore their choices during filming. . I loved the film and give a big bravo to Cameron Mackintosh and Tom Hooper.

  38. Amy says:

    I love the musical Les Miserables and I loved the movie but I completely understand how you feel and would not have dreamed of dragging my beloved husband to that. I dragged him to see the Avengers and he fell asleep. He made me watch Unforgiven last night and I tried to enjoy it but there are just some movies that don’t need to be shared. Love Les Mis if you do (and I do) but don’t ask someone who hates musicals to sit through that!!!!!

  39. I’m a huge fan of musicals both on stage and screen and it was with unbearable excitement that I walked into the Broadway Theater back in 1987 to see LES MISERABLES (less than a month after opening). The tickets were very hard to come by, and both the NY reviews and word-of-mouth were phenomenal. Up until that evening I think I loved (to varying degrees) everything I’d ever seen live on stage (I was 26)… but by 15 minutes into the play I realized I was in for a looonnnggg evening of mediocrity or worse. Anthony Lane in his NEW YORKER review of the movie states that not having the seen the stage show he was unprepared “for the remarkable battle that flames between music and lyrics, each vying to be more uninspired than the other.” That pretty much sums it up.

  40. Brittany says:

    Men like you are normal and your review is hysterical! I too am an actor. I have probably seen every version of this movie except the current one. I have heard mixed reviews from many friends. This was written from a masculine point of view and I have know doubt my husband would echo many of your opinions. I am totally amazed that people outright attack you for simply having an opinion different from theirs.

  41. ok ok, Matt, go back to peeing in the snow.

  42. Oh, but I got so worked up over your review of a movie you slept through, that it helped get rid of my pending migraine. So thanks! I’ll try to love you, to see the face of God.

  43. Rob Ashby says:

    Angry white guy pans musical because its long and has too many songs. Nothing to see here folks, Ugly American strikes again.

  44. Cindy Northup says:

    Well said, Cynthia ! I just had to come back with a few more comments:
    I don’t know how Jean saved Marius in the book or the play, but dragging a man with a fresh gunshot wound through raw sewage is probably NOT going to result in him recovering from his wound. Or did infection not exist in this version of history ?
    I wonder if the very last scene (taking place, I presume, in Heaven, which apparently was also having a revolution) was partly done with CGI, or if a bunch of poor set decorators spent months putting a pile of furniture together the size of the Great Wall of China. If not bigger.
    I am noticing a lot of “cultural snobbery” coming out in those defending the movie. It is possible to not like a “classic” story and still not be a cultural Neanderthal.

  45. Ashley says:

    I think he must have been magically transported to Legally Blonde or something using words like “vapid” and “shallow”. Les Mis, among other issues, deals with big things like war, women’s rights, death, religion, treatment of prisoners, guilt vs. innocence, remption, forgiveness, love vs. hate, greed, human suffering, and most importantly despair vs. hope. I’m pretty sure these issues are at the core of grapling with what it means to be human and I’ve yet to find something that does it so exquisitely, truthfully, and profoundly.

    • Ashley says:

      BTW, I’m not a follower of this blog, thank god. I just saw an angry post about this review and how sexist it is. I’d have to agree. Oh, and since I’m a perfectionist **redemption**, there you are! :)

  46. Joni says:

    Actually, it was really good. Being a woman, however, I did, indeed, cry…no make that sob at the end. My boyfriend, Marc took me to see it, because he “owed” me a “chick flick” for all the war movies I’ve had to endure. Perhaps he was lying when he said that he enjoyed it. It was, however, rather (REALLY) long.

  47. bigcitylib says:

    I’m getting flashbacks to when my wife took me to Sex and the City II. Bottom line: she owes you FOREVER. Milk it.

  48. Sebastian says:

    I’ve always enjoyed a good musical. The costumes and make up were great, some of the acting was great, I’ve never read the book but i’m sure it is excellent and beautiful. Full of great culture and history. But in this movie, the musicality was so incredibly boring and painful, my brain was just exhausted after trying to absorb it after 2.5 hours. When they finally stopped singing,I felt like i had just waited in line at the DMV on the Monday after thanksgiving for several hours.

  49. Tritt says:

    I was about to take you seriously, then I saw that you were a hipster and it stipped you of all creditability. Now I just laugh at your feeble attempt to understand culture. Perharps you should go back to watching your men in tights grabbing a ball from each others balls, :). Yeah…. Riveting…

  50. Ralph says:

    Obviously you are entitled to your own opinion about the movie. However, it is sad that you missed the theme of the whole movie in which a man turns his life around after being shown kindness and forgiveness. He unselfishly takes care of a prostitute’s daughter and he was even willing to sacrifice his life in order to save the man his adoptive daughter loves by rescuing him from the rebellion’s front line. He could have stayed bitter, resentful and mean until his death but he didn’t. It was not so much about a man running from the law as it was about redemption, grace, forgiveness and love. Also, the story being set to music is just another form of art. If you are a man who doesn’t like it, it’s just too bad but don’t assume that all men hated it and all women loved it. It has nothing to do with gender but with the universal theme of the story. Try getting out some more and expose yourself to more art and culture will ya?

    • Robert Blenheim says:

      I guess the terrible direction shoving singers’ faces at us like crazed puppets and awful singing that truly competes with chalk scraping a blackboard has nothing to do with a film’s quality!!! Right? I mean, film is all about the story, right? (SARCASM.)

      Do you really miss the point of what makes a film bad, or do you not want to get it?

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