Thanks to some audioblog out there, I have now heard both versions of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", the emotional linchpin of the musical. I saw the movie but not the play. I was not impressed by the movie. The stage performances were very good but the off stage stuff was weak. Everything off stage had me asking for the next stage performance...that doesn't make a good movie, which is why I am not surprised that it wasn't nominated for an Oscar.
The other thing was that this reinforced my hatred for most musicals! I can't stand those damn things. This song is a prime example. The music in so many musicals is such a bombastic mess. This is one where you can sorta compare the source material (Motown) with the stage/screen production and you can see that even the most emotional song in the entire production lacks the substance, the subtleties and breath of a truly emotional ballad. Part of it is that fucking Broadway ending - the song gets bigger and bigger and STOPS. Every once and a while that would be fine but there are so many songs during a given show that end exactly the same way.
Anyway, my face-off b/t the two Jennifers: Jennifer Holiday wins hands down. Her version has style, and deep emotion and subtleties that Miss Hudson can't manage. Not one time have I listened to Jennifer Holiday and wished she'd stop but every time I've listened to Jennifer Hudson I've wished she would stop. Don't get me wrong, there was lots of power and emotion in Jennifer Hudson's version but there was no depth, no frailty, no real sadness that this song is talking about. I haven't figured out how to post mp3s to my blog so you'll have to hunt them down like I did, somebody out there has both.
See the movie, it's enjoyable. All the songs are wonderful, Eddie rocks the crowd...the 20th Anniversary show (or whatever it was) and the finale are worth the price of admission alone; oh and the scene where Effie & Deena get in each others faces.
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