Alright. We've now settled in at Armond Dangerous, having answered our backlog of comments (the ones that needed answering, that is), spoken our piece on the Armond White reviews we felt needed a challenge, and even tackled that silly "Better-Than List" that got everyone all in tizzy. Now it's time to get happy. Sorta.
At first we were in complete agreement with Armond's review of the atrocious Dreamgirls but couldn't understand why he was all worked up about it. Then we learned the extent to which people -- friends and co-workers as well as critics -- actually love this piece of garbage. And we were shocked, not so much that anyone could give a pass to the horrendous representation of music and history that Dreamgirls puts forth (if Forrest Gump proved anything it's that the American public will readily pay to view its own belilttlement), but that moviegoers -- you know, people who attend movies -- enjoy the barrage and din that Bill Condon and company pass off as entertainment. In other words, we're flabbergasted that human beings with functioning eyes and ears actually like Dreamgirls.
So this is one of those moments where we fully sympathize with AW's alarmist response to both an individual film and the general state of film culture (especially after seeing a near-double bill of Kansas City and Jazz '34, two films that at least respect the unbreakable bond between life and art.) "Sure," writes White, "Dreamgirls is basically a confection, but its core is soul-rotting." Amen. There's pretty much no moss- and slug-covered stone AW leaves unturned regarding Dreamgirls, so we'll just leave the terrific lashings to his prose except to point out the best line in his review: "Condon zips past the styles of the era without feeling (characters step out of a recording studio into—uh, oh—a race riot)." That's Dreamgirls in a nutshell, probing into the intersections of pop music and social change only as far as it gives itself the appearance of authenticity and a servicable background for the undistinguished, synth-drenched, Broadway-bland numbers that only allude to the feeling of the real-life moments of musical bliss that supposedly provided the film's inspiration. We love that White can point out and mock the Dreamgirls' pretensions in a single sentence -- it's the critical equivalent of a well-rocked solo.