Put on your dancing shoes and tune in to these energizing musical movies
Musicals have been on the verge of “coming back” for decades. Once upon a time, musical movies were as common as superhero films are today (well, maybe not that much), then they all went away. Ever since, we seem to get a major game-changing couple of musicals every few years, but somehow it’s never enough for the genre to stick around for good.
2021 may be when it all changes though. Last year’s streaming release of Hamilton set the stage for In the Heights and the West Side Story remake to capitalize on audiences thirsty for more musical movies. Luckily for those audiences, you don’t have to wait for those new releases in order to get your groove on! There are plenty of musical options available to stream right now.
Check out this selection of musical movies and get ready to sing & dance along!
La La Land
Not to be too basic as we start this list, but we kind of have to mention recent almost-Best-Picture-winner La La Land. Yes, it’s old fashioned to a fault, and it came across as terribly superficial when competing against something like Moonlight during awards season. But you know what? It got people excited about musical movies again. For a while, everyone had the soundtrack playing on Spotify. Give it a shot.
You can currently stream La La Land on Cinemax Go.
Step Up 2: The Streets
If you’re one of those purists that demands characters break into song in order for movies to qualify as musicals, you should skip to the next pick. But we wanted to highlight the second film in the Step Up series because it’s the one that best showcases the energy & ingenuity of the franchise’s dance numbers. If you don’t feel like locking & popping after watching this one, you may be dead inside.
You can currently stream Step Up 2: The Streets on Hulu.
West Side Story
You know you’re going to be watching the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake, so why not check out the OG West Side Story in the meantime? It’s a little dated (or very dated, depending on how you feel about Natalie Wood playing the Hispanic heroine), which is why we are A-okay with it getting an update. But the power behind the songs & the choreography remains a force to be reckoned with.
Surprisingly, the 1961 West Side Story is only available as a rental on most streaming services. But it’s worth the $3.99!
Footloose (both versions)
Make it a double-feature on Footloose night! Start with the 1984 version, getting your Kevin Bacon on, then swiftly transition to the 2011 remake, and let Kenny Wormald take over rebel duties. The two films are different enough that watching them back to back won’t feel repetitive, and you’ll come out of the experience ready to take over the dance floor.
You can currently stream both versions of Footloose on Prime Video or Hulu.
Back in 2002, Chicago was unfairly accused of bringing musical movies back to traditional standards. Audiences had been blown away by the hyper-kinetic Moulin Rouge, and they were thrown off by a return to classic Broadway tunes & choreography. Thankfully, Chicago survived that initial backlash, and has endured as a jazzy delight all these years later.
You can currently stream Chicago on Starz.
Across the Universe
Now, if you want a musical that colors outside the box, then this love letter to The Beatles should do the trick. A joyous experience for Beatles fans – and a journey of discovery for those who aren’t familiar with the band’s music – Julie Taymor’s film should’ve made huge stars of its three leads. Since it didn’t, it’s up to you to tell everyone you know about how great Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, and Joe Anderson are.
You can currently stream Across the Universe on Hoopla.
Let’s close by celebrating the 80s in a way only an amateur teenage Irish band can. John Carney has made a filmmaking career out of his passion for music – starting with Once, then following it up with Begin Again – and his third directorial effort is easily his best yet. And don’t worry, you don’t even need to like 80s music to appreciate this sweet story of friendship, brotherhood, and romance.
You can currently stream Sing Street on Tubi.
What other musical movies would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!