Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

I was standing in line the other day at Walgreens to pick up meds and listening to the music. It was a Mamas and Papas cover and before I knew it I was shaking my vitamin bottle to the beats.


That was not the strange thing. The person who came up behind me started humming and dancing a little when the next song – “It’s My Party” by Leslie Gore – started playing. The woman in front of me looked as if she might be willing to tap her feet if given a chance.


All that started me thinking about movies where characters spontaneously started singing or dancing in an ordinary place without the film being a musical. It had to be an organic action that made sense with the plot but not a part of the total story.


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I immediately thought of The Full Monty with Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy. The movie is about men who have been laid off from the local stainless steel plant who are trying to find work and not getting anywhere. So Carlyle decides he and his buddies should put on a show – a dance act – to perform at the pubs women like to going.


And they plan to take it off – take it all off. There is no way that this movie is appropriate for small children, just so you know out of the gate. But there is a lot of hope and joy in this flick along with some serious outpouring of emotion.


The scene I am thinking about occurs in the middle of the movie when the majority of the troupe is at the unemployment office. They are in line at various points when the speakers overhead begin playing the song that goes with their routine. While trying to keep their cool, the men start doing the moves to the dance. Not all at once and not one of the men do the whole routine to the song. But it is this wonderful moment in the middle of a movie about desperation and re-kindling of joy.


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I also thought about a wonderful scene in Tortilla Soup in which the three sisters sing “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.” And there is that moment in Almost Famous when the band sings “Tiny Dancer” on the bus while they are really hating on each other. It is a reconciling moment.


I was trying to think of a family movie that has a scene like this and my brain cannot find one. Remember the movie is to not be a musical in the first place. I thought about the moving truck scene in Toy Story or the first Latin dance scene in Toy Story 3.


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The other example I can think of is in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009). Miley is writing music when he father joins her and she has him sing with her. It is supposed to be a spontaneous moment but I like it for the emotional closeness between father and daughter that is displayed.


All of these are enjoyable movies to watch as we get ready for the holidays, remembering the love and joy of being with family.

What movies do you remember having moments of song? 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.