With Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson all sittin' pretty in Schaefer City these days, and fresh from checking out the Barack Obama 2.0 Inauguration and Super Bowl XLVII celebrations, I finally came around to watching Dreamgirls (2006) -- and liked it. Here in Bill Condon's adaptation of the 1981 Broadway show, the setting is moved from Chicago to Detroit. This fits well with its alternative universe take on Motown and the rise of a "girl group," in this case the transformation of the Dreamettes into the Dreams, with a few attendant nightmares thrown in to keep things spicy. There is a firm sense of historical backdrop, things like Martin Luther King, Jr.'s early tryout of the "I Have a Dream" refrain at Detroit's Cobo Hall during the "Great March to Freedom" of June 23, 1963 (distributed on vinyl by Motown) and the 1967 Detroit riot.
The full story of Motown is a hundred times more compelling than the streamlined refraction of it depicted in Dreamgirls, but for legal reasons, we'll have to wait for the mini-series with the real music. Maybe by the year 2060 or so, somebody will get to see it. Still, in Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy is good as an amalgam of singers, Jamie Foxx stands in deftly for Berry Gordy, Beyoncé equates with Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson with Florence Ballard and the Dreams with the Supremes. Let's not forget Danny Glover as an old school manager, plus Anika Noni Rose as the third main Dreamette-to-Dream singer.
Today's Rune: Journey.