It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which film kicked off the modern obsession with movie musicals, but it’s clear that these types of films are here to stay. What’s not to love after all? For theatre fans like myself, nothing is better than seeing the magic of Broadway from the comfort of our homes. Netflix has surprisingly become one of the streaming services dedicated to adapting as many beloved shows as possible. From “The Prom” to “tick…tick…BOOM!” the service has delivered some truly stellar outings, and now their new “Matilda” film joins those ranks. With the film being filled to the brim with talented performers young and old, as well as a budget being utilized to its fullest potential, it has the makings to become one of the best movie musicals of the last couple of years. In honor of this new adaptation, here are a few other awesome movie musicals you can stream right now.
In the Heights (2021)
It was a tough call between this film and “tick…tick…BOOM!” as the best movie musical to come out of 2021, but I had to give it to the film that not only brought me back to the movie theaters, but also brought me to tears as well. The way director John Chu shoots this setting and the dance sequences is unbelievable, and it’s thanks to this film that I have complete faith in him directing the upcoming “Wicked” adaptation. On top of that, the movie’s cast is stacked with familiar Broadway faces, including songwriter and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as the Piragua Guy.
“In the Heights” is streaming on HBO Max.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration (2022)
This one is technically cheating, but I knew I wanted to include a Disney musical somewhere on this list and since this special is brand new, I decided to make my job easier and put it here. However, that doesn’t mean this special isn’t fantastic, because, in my opinion, it blows the live-action film from 2017 out of the water. For starters, the cast is terrific from top to bottom. Whether it’s H.E.R. and Josh Groban in the lead roles or the scene-stealing Joshua Henry as Gaston, everyone brings some brand new energy to one of Disney’s most beloved classics.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration is streaming on Disney Plus.
If you consider yourself a fan of musicals then there’s a strong chance you’ve already seen this masterpiece, and if you have then you should watch it again because it’s that great. “Hairspray” stands as one of the few movie musicals to be better than the original source material. This is clearly helped by the terrific songs and unmatched cast with the likes of Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer and so many more. It’s a movie that never fails to put a smile on my face every time I watch it and I find myself loving it more and more each time.
“Hairspray” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
While not based on a pre-existing musical, “Spirited” is without a doubt one of the best modern retellings of “A Christmas Carol” out there. Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell don’t seem like the two actors you’d pick to lead a movie musical, but they’re fantastic and truly carry their own weight in the numerous musical numbers. Whether it’s Reynold’s “Bringing Back Christmas,” Ferrell’s “Unredeemable,” or the irresistibly catchy “Good Afternoon,” every new song is one banger after another.
“Spirited” is currently streaming on Apple TV+.
Mamma Mia! The Movie (2008)
ABBA is fantastic all on its own, throw in a cast that’s having an absolutely joyful time and a gorgeous setting, and you have a certified classic. It’s tongue in cheek in all the best ways with the musical sequences making you feel like you’re at a non-stop party and containing terrific versions of ABBA’s great discography. If you have the chance, make this one a double feature with the equally entertaining “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”.
“Mamma Mia! The Movie” is currently streaming on Peacock.
West Side Story (2021)
It only makes sense that one of the greatest living directors, Steven Spielberg, would be responsible for one of the best movie musicals ever made. “West Side Story” is a visual marvel with each frame being just as gorgeous as the last. The cast is acting their hearts out with Rachel Zegler giving a performance so good that I’m still not over her being snubbed at the Academy Awards. It’s a Sondheim musical so it should go without saying that the music is phenomenal, but for his first movie musical, Spielberg directs the dancing and singing flawlessly. This may be a remake, but to me, this is the definitive version of “West Side Story”.
“West Side Story” is currently streaming on Disney Plus and HBO Max.
By Adam Beam