Les Miserables Taught Me How to Hate Again


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. Jeff says:

    Wow, calm down dude. Sounds like a review written from a guy from the 50s. Yes, all men like mobster movies and war. Congrats on keeping the stereotype alive.
    Now, chill out and go tell your woman to bring you your pipe and slippers!

  2. cantalgal says:

    I am french. We had to read and study the book in school, around age 12. It is a classic and I assumed almost everyone knew the story. It always sounded strange to me that anyone would want to summarize this long complicated tale in a musical, let alone a single movie, when american directors stretch out thin plots in lengthy trilogies. Anyway, the review is funny to me because Matt was genuinely looking for something different, and describes well his disappointment. I probably won’t go see the movie though, and keep my good reading memories, as fond of Russel and Hugh I might be.

  3. Ayesha says:

    I am a big Les Mis fan and I loved the movie, but I laughed at this anyway. Get a sense of humor people! I do agree that Russell Crowe’s singing was terrible.

  4. MacSalas says:

    The review of a Cro Magnon

  5. My husband and I saw the movie last evening. We have seen the stage production as well. We both thought the movie was wonderful. The actors poured their souls into this story and it showed. The music was rich and conveyed the story perfectly. I think it was the best film I have ever seen.

  6. danpinkerton says:

    What’s mildly surprising here is that people are treating a snarky humor column as if it were a review of the movie. Right at the start, with the stereotypical image of the guy being forced to go to a musical with his wife, sister, daughter, grandmother, etc., the alert reader will realize that not a word of this rant is to be taken seriously. I thought the movie was above average (Crowe’s singing notwithstanding). I thought the blog entry was above average, for a blog entry (not to be confused with real writing).

  7. gretchen nichols says:

    I couldn’t agree more but I knew when it came out it was terrible! By the way, I love “the tornado of crap” description! That is SO prime! Can I use it, too?

  8. Kevin McMillan says:

    Brilliant review writing…and VERY funny! I know you speak somewhat in jest, but I’m a classical singer and I’ve always loathed the thing. The set music is absolute drivel, the quasi-recitative dialogue is laughable, and it is at least an hour too long for the sparse material those dudes could come up with. They wouldn’t deserve the opportunity to shine Rodgers & Hammerstein’s shoes. I’ve seen it twice on stage (also dragged there each time), and came away with a splitting headache both times, due to both the terrible score and the ridiculous over-amplification of the pathetic singers they hire for these things. Now that I know a little more about the film version, I’ll certainly try my best to avoid it.

  9. Dave says:

    This is not only a stupid review but it’s pretty sexist, too.

  10. Dude. You saw “Christmas with the Kranks” in the Theater?

  11. Arel Mishory says:

    I thought the review was hilarious and I am familiar with the story of the book, like musicals, and get annoyed at pretensions. I enjoyed reading all the comments-except for the ones who were annoyed at Matt’s remarks and couldn’t restrain themselves from simplistic, nasty comments on him personally. Those comments I am pitching in the river with Russell. I prefer to enjoy the wit of Anna and her husband and some of the others who don’t take themselves so seriously.

  12. PT says:

    Love this review! As one of very few females who loathes almost every musical (movie, I don’t go to the “theater”) I thank you for the warning. What you’ve described is exactly the impression I have of les mis based on the endless AH interviews and movie trailers I’ve been unable to avoid. After sitting through hours of the same endless 5 chords of Phantom of the Opera a few years ago I swore “never again”.

  13. Sara Wright says:

    OK, I’m gonna say up front that I have never seen a stage production of Le Miz, so went with no preconceived expectations. I’ve heard some of the songs, of course, sung by actors with big voices meant for the stage. We know that Hugh Jackman can sing “big,” but he didn’t. I doubt that any of the others could, but I was glad because I don’t think I could have tolerated a twenty-foot tall head blasting songs that were actually very affecting sung in a more introspective manner. Anne Hathaway acted hers and made me cry.

    Also, I think the people were more accurately portrayed, dirty fingernails and all, because we’ve gotten so used to being tidy that we expect our bathing habits to exist in the past, even as portrayed in movies. I came from the movie glad that I have access to hot water, soap, and a shower whenever I want one. These were people who had no hope daring to hope. I see it more often every time I go downtown – beggars, thieves and gangs all making their way any way they can. It brings to the fore the difference between the classes (haves and have-nots), something that is also becoming more of a concern in our contemporary lives.

    And I did wonder early on about Russell Crowe’s obsession with, as Matt Walsh stated, Jackman’s “minor parole violation” which resulted from the theft of a loaf of bread. Huh? WTF?
    Jobert must have had some sort of OCD that kept him from facing his depression – he couldn’t understand being forgiven for being a major asshole, so leaped off a bridge.

    And that dry dock at the beginning – didn’t they just somehow float the boats in, then drain the lock? And the boat was lying on its side at an angle that would have gotten it caught on the wall of the lock. Naw.

    The friend I went with has seen three stage productions of Le Miz. She enjoyed the movie. Other people around us enjoyed it as well. They were fans of the show and had been to see it numerous times. When my friend talked about the show, she talked in terms of production values, she didn’t mention the story line or the music. Not once. That, to me, is the mark of a weak show. Whenever I get caught up in the “how” rather than the action on-stage, I know that something is missing. So, count this as my one and only time to see Le Miz. And I think it’s more due to Hugo’s story than the singing, costumes, or acting.

  14. Fern Courtright says:

    And you really hate life too, don’t you. You remind me of someone who goes around finding all the negatives about things, so you can spoil it for as many as you can. Not me, Mr. Gloom and Doomb. If you can’t see the heart of the story, that comes from recognition of many people’s plight that becomes incredibly; moving that they can survive, and that it includes good and evil, then step aside. Let others find their own evaluation of a play/movie that may or may not be many people’s cup of tea. I loved the play enough to see it four times. I have not seen the movie, mostly because I don’t want to compare the two.

    • Robert Blenheim says:

      How many times need it be pointed out that the MOVIE sucks because of awful direction, editing, singing, etc. It’s NOT an attack on the story per se, or the ideas that could have been developed by a good filmmaker who wasn’t trying to squeeze out undeserved tears and hammer us over the head with a pile drive

    • Robert Blenheim says:

      How many times need it be pointed out that the MOVIE sucks because of awful direction, editing, singing, etc. It’s NOT an attack on the story per se, or the ideas that could have been developed by a good filmmaker who wasn’t trying to squeeze out undeserved tears and hammer us over the head with a pile driver!

      I’m not only sick of this film, I’m sick of hearing others attacking people like Matt who are pointing out ‘the emperor has no clothes’ by saying he hates life or going around looking for negatives!! Hey, what is this? Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

  15. Will says:

    There is nothing stupid about this review. Except the fact that he saw “Chrstmas with the Kranks” in the theater.

  16. Yvette says:

    Hilarious!! You said what so many wanted to…the Truth….but you don’t have to risk being raked over coals…by every news outlet on the planet and possibly have your career damaged by giving your Opinion….like Adam Lambert…whom was also speaking the truth and just doing what we all have the right to do. I agree with you 100% and have a hard time understanding why anyone would think this is entertaining. Thanks for sharing and the laughs!

  17. Robina Rae says:

    Your comments are so sad! You are not grasping the real and true purpose of this poignant and profoundly beauttiful story. You must read the book, then actually see the play. Perhabs then you might, just maybe, fall in love with this timeless and beautiful treasure of a film (and book, and play)! Which hopefully will stick around for awhile during this renaissance. Your not getting it yet, keep trying, it will change you!

  18. Red says:


  19. Red says:

    Movie sucked ass…

  20. Kosta says:

    The only thing more upsetting than your utter lack of taste is thinking that your wife actually has to put up with you

  21. aDOLF says:

    you’re an ass. seriously , dude, you have an EQ of an african killer bee.

  22. Susan says:

    My heavens. You missed the total point of the movie. Of course they sing through the entire motion picture. Have you heard of Phantom of the Opera? Evita? Are you an artistic pigme? So busy cutting it apart that you didn’t stop to listen to the beautiful message it contains? Did you thik Phantom of the Opera was about some idiot in a mask that haunts a beautiful young actress on his stage? Perhaps you should look a little deeper into the message being sent rather than HOW it is being portrayed. Maybe you should stick to Adam Sandler movies. Cheap, vulgar, entertainment.

    • Matt says:

      I love that you consider Phantom of the Opera and Evita high art. Phantom of the Opera is for people who don’t have the patience to sit through a real opera. And Evita? Please. If you’re going to talk about musical theatre at least pick some well crafted shows as a reference! The writer mentions having seen West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music. Now those are GREAT musical plays. Both on the stage and the screen. I haven’t seen the movie of Les Miserables, but I did see the stage production and I felt many of the things this writer felt about the movie so I think I’ll skip it. Sure it’s a great story of redemption. But read the book! Not this sappy pop opera musicalization of the cliff notes to Les Mis.

    • JJ says:

      I love opera. I hate Phantom of the Opera and Evita AND Les Mis. Yes, I think it’s about some idiot in a mask (and a really scary chandelier!). I think he got the message, he just didn’t like it. Isn’t it possible that someone has different taste from you and is not “an artistic pigme”? Why such a vitriolic response to someone’s rather amusing opinion?

    • the cib says:

      Do you not have a sense of humor? And yeah, the Phantom was a total creep.

    • Pam says:

      OMG. Lighten up and put a smile on your face. It makes for a better day :)

    • Steve Skubinna says:

      You misspelled “pygmy.”

      Oh, and lighten up, Francis.

    • shortcake says:

      amen to that, Susan. I agree wholeheartedly.I haven’t seen the move yet, but the book and the stage musical were works of art. I’m sure this guy thinks all opera is about stupid people standing around singing about nothing, too. And it’s true…some of the stories ARE outlandish, outdated, outmoded,etc. etc. But the music is uplifting and glorious, and the artist is telling a story in song, no matter how trifling of an event in history is being sung about. The story of the resistance that Les Miz tells would have been lost to history, had not Victor Hugo penned it. I’m usually not a fan of moveis that are made from stage musicals, because they are usually so inferior, nor are they faithful to the book. We know that Hollywood is normally not in it for the art, but for the money the movie generates. The casting in this Les Miz sounds pretty awful. But as you say, this blogger sure missed the point of the story.
      I like his clever ending about what his wife now owes him, but it sounds like he was having too much fun tearing the movie apart to pay attention to the message.

  23. mkesling63 says:

    “Death before Dishonor” Well then do something about more males being executed as terrorists, more males in prisons, more males in insane asylums, more males, in AA, NA, more males in all criminal-drunk driving, rape, more homeless males, more male failures in every population to be had over the females.

    You are bitching about a movie? Sir, priorities.

    • comatus says:

      Not to mention those slave galleys.

    • Scott says:

      There are also more male Governors, Senators, Representatives, CEOs, chefs, architects, scientists, professors, engineers, writers, pilots, soldiers, etc. than women. Women, by and large, are not responsible for the vast majority of social pathologies but they are also not responsible for the vast majority of social advancements either. Get off your misandrist soapbox.

    • Steve Skubinna says:

      And you’re coming to a film review to bitch about social justice? Sir, proportion.

    • Rick Spung says:

      yes, because somewhere, somehow, somebody is getting the shaft so we should always be sad and angry. forever. without stopping.

      • mkesling63 says:

        I agree. I do not agree with forgive and forget. Males went for domination and they got it. The perfect community taking away all the coping needs from the public and starring every male domniated population they had. They have taken away everything from prostitution to smoking. Not much in public propaganda there.

      • Robert Blenheim says:

        Well, Rick, I guess we should always like every film, no matter how incompetently made, and ignore every unpleasant thing we come across in the world.

        The truth is when an intelligent and discerning person criticizes a piece of tripe like this miserable movie, it’s because the films that are truly accomplished and truthful mean so much more. Only one who really loves the good can really know the crap when one comes across it.

        If we like everything, we understand nothing.

    • Annie says:

      Maybe the reason more males are a part of all those things is because their wives pushed them into it.
      Why do men die before women? Because they want to.

  24. Marie says:

    It is true there is a lot of singing and the plot is not terribly deep. That is not why people love this musical. The power of the music and lyrics is what moves audiences. I am sorry that you are so commercialized you cannot appreciate real art. There were some amazing performances in that movie. For the uneducated, those lyrics require hitting pitches and notes 99% of the population cannot. And, those actors sang many of those songs in one shoot. Les Miz is one of the best pieces of art to hit theaters in … well, maybe ever. Bad review, my friend. Stick to reviewing action movies.

    • glamity58 says:

      I’m sorry Marie, but I was distracted by Crowe’s performance. He is not a singer but I know he is a great actor. I just couldn’t get beyond the average singers (not Jackman or Hathaway, the kids or the two guys), but why does Hollywood have to put in some people who are not clearly singers? I loved the show except for that. I realize it is live and the singing is raw, I get that and accept that. But what sin would be committed if they put in a great Broadway baritone who sang live for years in the same musical.

      But also, why shouldn’t I get to have my opinion, you yours and this blogger his? I love all the praettle….it’s fun. I don’t hate Matt or his opinion because he doesn’t get it or love musicals like we do.

      • shortcake says:

        You are so right when you ask the question about why Hollywood puts people who can not sing in these movies. It’s the same reason Julie Andrews, who played Eliza Doolittle on Broadway, was not cast in My Fair Lady, and Audrey Hepburn’s singing had to be dubbed. Natalie Wood was great in the movie WSS, but she couldn’t sing.Hollywood wants Hollywood names, never mind if they are good in the part or can carry a tune.

    • glamity58 says:

      Oh and Eponine was pretty good as well.

      • BroadwayJoe says:

        Eponine played the role in the theater production (as did the students), and she was in the 25th anniversary show.

    • JJ says:

      “For the uneducated”… “99% of the population cannot.” Please show me the support for your 99% comment. Which research study supports this claim? Also, for an uneducated, commercialized rube like myself, please explain the difference between hitting “pitches and notes”?

      He acknowledged the one shoot business (if you read the whole thing). I think his point was that it didn’t improve the material nor make it more impressive.

    • Rick Spung says:

      …and when you say “people love this musical”, you mean women and gay men.

  25. Ben says:

    Brilliant, simply brilliant! Great sense of humor.

  26. john says:

    LOL, Not stupid nor sexist, just knee-slapping funny. Great review. :)

  27. Wayne says:

    I can tell from the detail in your rant that you watched every moment. You missed a wonderful opportunity for a long holiday nap like the rest of us husbands. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….’Yes honey, it was wonderful and Crowe, Jackman and Hathaway were fantastic! Let’s grab a burger .’

    • Kim says:

      Wayne, you are so hilarious and correct.

      I didnt take my husband because I knew he would be bored too.

      I had avoided this movie, story, book my whole life. But decided to go with some friends.

      And boy, was I surprised that they sung every word. :/
      The part with him finding God and Anne Hathaway was really good, after that the movie could have rolled the credits and I would have been ready to go.

      But it kept going on and on and on…
      I could have cared less about the rebels of France and the lame love story. Belch :p

      Still, I hope Hathaway gets the Oscars. Because she was excellent !

  28. Buddy says:

    Years ago (Many years ago) I too was kidnapped (by my NOW wife), flown to San francisco, Tied to a chair, and forced to watch this thing Live at the total cost of a New Jetpack.

    My wife just sent me this review, and made me SWEAR I didn’t write it.
    I could have. I should have….. I wish I had.

    100% Spot on, except you didn’t emphasize enough that she was alone; all alone, so so very alone (and cold if I remember orrectly)

    Unless you somehow KNOW that this is something you want to experiance, please please please believe this review.

    We should use Le mizeable to get information from POW’s, except the Genea Convention prhibits it specifically (Page 356, article 27.2.9 : Cruel and Unneeded singing about being alone (and cold))
    Spot on Dude!!.

  29. Buddy says:

    Years ago (Many years ago) I too was kidnapped (by my NOW wife), flown to San Francisco, Tied to a chair, and forced to watch this thing LIVE, at the total cost of a New Jetpack.

    My wife just sent me this review, and made me SWEAR I didn’t write it.
    I could have. I should have….. I wish I had.

    100% Spot on, except you didn’t emphasize enough that she was alone; all alone, so so very alone (and cold if I remember correctly)

    Unless you somehow KNOW that this is something you want to experience, please please please believe this review.

    We should use Le miserable to get information from POW’s, except the Geneva Convention prohibits it specifically (Page 356, article 27.2.9 : Cruel and Unneeded singing about being alone (and cold))

    Spot on Dude!!.

  30. Worse than the Hobbit and the Dark Knight and Star Trek? Wow.

  31. Gms says:

    I thought your review was hilarious and spot on. There is a reason it’s called Les Mis of course. A musical onomatopoeia.

  32. Dave Kovac says:

    I just laughed until I peed myself!!! Maybe I should put it into song.

  33. barbara says:

    Methinks thou doth protest too much

  34. Tim says:


  35. Alexander says:

    Sexist, ignorant, and standoff-ish. We get it, you’re clever. And you didn’t like the movie, or the story (which, by the way, is based on an iconic novel that IS a classic), however, you seemed to make that decision before you even entered the Theater. Despite what you may think, the show is a classic (you are not the authority on what is and is not a “classic” or “timeless”, etc., despite the fact that you clearly believe you are), and is one of the longest-running, most successful, and beloved shows of all time. Is it perfect? No, but it’s damn good. There is no such thing as a perfect show, or a perfect film, moreover. I have many issues with the film, but as a whole, it’s an extremely worthy adaptation of a wonderful piece of Theatre/Literature, and is exceptionally moving. Of course, as you’re a man, I understand, there’s no way you could endure a musical where, y’know, people sing a lot.

    Though, this all makes sense. It’s more fun to hate everything and be one of the cool kids.

  36. Golfmadchick says:

    Brilliantly funny! Completely disagree of course with every word, but had me in stiches all the same.

  37. Tracye says:

    This show is one that I both Love and Hate simultaneously. I actually love musicals of all kinds and there are some epic songs in this show. I have seen it in the theatre, in concert versions, and now in film. But DUDE…your perspective is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I laughed until tears were streaking my face. And I even agreed with you about the film version on a few points! But the overarching message of redemption….if you can find it amidst all the other stuff….is beautiful and inspiring.

  38. John Baker says:

    I believe you have rendered a valuable service to “mankind”: not “womankind” or “gaykind” but mankind. I was feeling vaguely guilty about not seeing this. Don’t ask me why. We’re all susceptible to hype whether we acknowledge it or not, but your brave diatribe has reinforced my initial dismissal of “Let’s make guys Miserable.” If I must see this it will have to be on someone else’s dime. Thankfully I am happily married to a woman that hates musical tripe even more intensely than I do so I will be spared the dragooning you suffered.

  39. I agree that the love-at-first-sight plot was very weak and I wish they could have set up their love for each other a bit more realistically.

    But it was still an AMAZING movie. If you hate it, you have no soul.

    • Toughluck says:

      What is it with you people and the “If you didn’t like it, you have no soul” or “You don’t know are” etc. Just accept that people have well thought out, valid opinions that are different than yours. And lighten the hell up.

    • JF says:

      Weren’t lions supposed to males? (Pardon me if I missed the news about your emasculation)

  40. Irukandji says:

    Husband and I just watched the 1933 film version with a minimal about of singing involved. We both enjoyed the film, all 4.5-hours of it. Not a musical, lovely and laughingly flamboyant French actors, and only an occasional and appropriately placed bit of song. I can’t IMAGINE why anyone thought a musical version of this would be a good idea. LOVE your review!

    • heartndixie says:

      Someone probably thought it was a good idea for a musical because the musical stage play from which this movie is adapted ran to packed houses on Broadway and in London for decades. Some may not like it, but clearly more do.

      “The London production, as of late 2012, has run continuously since October 1985: the second longest-running musical in the world after The Fantasticks, The Broadway production opened 12 March 1987 and ran until 18 May 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. It is the fourth longest-running Broadway show in history. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

      The show placed first in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of Britain’s “Number One Essential Musicals” in 2005, receiving more than forty percent of the votes. A film version directed by Tom Hooper was released at the end of 2012.”

  41. blsf says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! You are 100% right! (The “singing” throughout, recitative, has been used in opera for centuries. Yet somehow way more annoying here…) It was horrendous. And as a musician and music lover, I think it is sad that anyone is impressed or moved by such mediocrity. As for the music direction…cho. king. phra. ses. do. not. mean. e. mo. tion. It’s called a line, people. Sing one! Oh – that’s right. you can’t. you are too busy honking through your nose, forcing a weird vibrato or crying. And the whole show stays at one suffocating dynamic level. No subtlety or shading. Although, Sasha Baron Cohen is always awesome. Glad I’m not ALONE (sniff sniff…and cold. with. out. my. hair….) in thinking this. (NONE of my friends agree with me. And by the way, I’m a mom with three little kids. I cry at chick flicks as much as the next girl.) This was torture!

    • glamity58 says:

      OMG you are funny. I was a bit disappointed in the singing, not quite as much as you were. I had some friends who thought Crowe was fabulous…are you kidding me? No phrasing, no dynamic change, no finishing the phrase with some texture or emotion. I was so distracted by him, but I’ve seen the live stage musical about 15 times. My expectations were very high. Love Crowe in all those macho roles he’s had, but this was a bad fit for me. Jackman, Hathaway, Eponene, the kids and the two guys were ok. Adam Lambert was crucified for giving his opinion. I don’t know why, but hopefully I won’t be for giving mine….great acting but mediocre singing.

    • Kerry says:

      Every trained singer I know is panning the vocals, so I do not plan to see it. I am convinced all I will do is critique the poor vocal technique. The cast of the stage productions sing live every performance and handle it, so why are we giving a “pass” to the cast for their live, “raw” (aka poor) singing quality? why the casting directors chose to hire “Hollywood types” instead of people with the proper skills is beyond me. I guess they knew Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe would sell tickets.

      • glamity58 says:

        I agree with you Kerry. I’ve been complaining about Hollywood for years putting non-singers in musicals to sell tickets. This is just my opinion, but starting way back (e.g., Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Hepburn in My Fair Lady, now Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages, Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia) I have complained about this. I’ve seen Les Mis so many times and I have expectations of hearing a great baritone in the part of Javert (Crowe). I was mortified by his performance and did take some heat for that. Look at Adam Lambert….people don’t like him or are afraid of him or whatever and crucified him just for his opinions. He could have been sweeter….why? I totally agreed with him (although I did like Jackman and a few others). It’s just an opinion. Crowe ruined this show for me because of my expectations.

      • Marti says:

        Except that Hugh Jackman actually IS a theatre performer and was one well before he ever became your so-called “Hollywood type” (which he is so not).

      • thegruntled says:

        At least Jackman was a musical stage performer long before he became a “Hollywood type.” Among other things, he was Curly in the Royal National Theater (London) production of Oklahoma! Even after becoming big in Hollywood, he has regularly done musical productions.

        • Robert Blenheim says:

          How would one know from the tonal destruction he displays here? Jackman must have been strapped to an out-of-control exercise machine when trying to sing this junk. He’s awful.

  42. BobbyPeru says:

    Encore! (To this review, that is!!!)

  43. Pingback: Random Straight Guy Symbolizes Musical Theatre’s Branding Problem | The Clyde Fitch Report

  44. LawrenceMahusky says:

    It is a show not a play !!!! Let’s get our terms right …..before we judge……..5678

  45. Hedley Lamarr says:

    Superb. I was once forced to see the musical and all I could think about was setting fire to the place with everyone trapped inside.

  46. John Constantine says:

    Tsk, tsk… sir, all you have achieved by this “review” is reveal your poor taste and lack of knowledge concerning world literature. A more educated person would know that Les Miserables is originally a historical novel published by French novelist Victor Hugo in 1862, and any critique of a movie based on it should take that into account. Perhaps you should avoid such works and stick to Michael Bay movies. That should suit your level of intellect and assuage your insecurities about your masculinity.

  47. Bill says:

    Believe it or not – Evita was freaking worse!

  48. Veralynn says:

    You are clearly an idiot. This movie was made for competent, intelligent, intellectual individuals who have read Victor Hugo’s novel prior too and are able to grasp the insightful philosophical and psychological feets discussed throughout the novel. Last I heard Victor Hugo IS one of the most accomplished authors to have ever lived, so maybe you need to reanlayze your blatant stupidity

    • Robert Blenheim says:

      HA HA HA HA.!!! HA HA !!!! HA…. (calming down), well, hey, Veralynn, film isn’t only about philo… HA HA HA HA! (calming again). Film is more than its ideas and stor– LMAO!!!! (Rolling on floor). A film is actually about direction and … HA HA HA HA! LMAO!!!! (Rolling on floor again in hysterics.) OMG HA HA HA HA!! Sorry, but I can’t finish this comment….

  49. Matt says:

    Nice review – and I say that as a DUDE who actually sort of liked the movie.

    You really ought to read the book, though. Musicals are crap. The ah hoc love story seems much less ad hoc when it comes 2/3 of the way through a 1200-page novel. It’s also a lot deeper and more interesting than the eye-contact-from-across-the-street portrayal.

  50. James Fencil says:

    Theater captive Walsh (Welsh) now khows how his peasant forebears felt upon being reduced to forcible servitude in Kilkenny County, Ireland. Apparently descendants of the storied Irish lesbian pirate queens are still calling the shots in his household even today. Lacking the manhood to resist their imperious dictates this docile dolt connives in his own humiliating obeisances while submitting to this enforced attendance. Those early Welsh (Walsh) captives were noteworthy for their unseemly nonstop menial whining as well. Matt Walsh is a sorry representative of a sorry breed.

    • mojavewolf says:

      It’s called love, you dolt. Men sit through all kinds of dreck for their wives and kids to show their devotion to the family. Women do likewise. Any married person who has endured tedious hours spent at relatives’ houses during the holidays, shaking off shrieking nieces and nephews and trite conversations about food restrictions or surgeries will understand.

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