Tough day for Big Ten and “Les Mis”

The Big Ten finished its college football bowl season with a 2-5 record after going 1-4 on New Year’s Day. From what I can tell, that’s the worst record for any conference. Seven bowl games remain but the Big Ten is mercifully finished.

New Year’s Day also was a tough day for me and “Les Miserables.” I loved “Les Mis” on the stage and anxiously awaited its film debut which I saw today (Jan. 1). Clunk! Too long, too many long closeups, too tedious. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe are actors, not singers, but they were acceptable because most of the songs are in minor chords. Most people who sing in church can sing dirges in minor chords. Nevertheless, you won’t mistake Anne, Hugh and Russell for Gordon McRae and Barbra Streisand.

“You know nothing about music,” scoffed my wife.

She’s right. I only know what sounds good to me. The story is about misery. The songs are about misery. It’s three hours of unmitigated misery.

One other comment and then I’ll get off my theater-critic soapbox. They took realism to a gritty extreme. Victor Hugo’s novel was set in early 19th century France, when poor people went years without bathing. The movie makeup department went to heroic extremes to make the actors look dirty. The interminably long closeups of filthy, unhappy faces wore me out. When we left the theater I wanted to go directly home and wash my face.

That’s all for now. Good luck to Jimmy Haslam.

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