Thursday, November 8, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Hairspray (1988)

On this edition of Throwback Thursday (honestly, does that phrase ever get old?), I want to talk about Hairspray. The original 1988 version. And how, despite early reservations, the film was something I actually really liked. Seriously, you guys. It was surprisingly awesome! And I can totally see how it became the cult classic it did.

About a month ago, a friend glowingly and enthusiastically recommended this film to me. I'd heard of it, of course. But never had any inclination to watch it. But my friend insisted, even loaning me her personal copy....which then proceeded to sit, untouched, on my coffee table, making me feel increasingly guilty each time I glanced at it. Still, I put it off. I had to finish Season Two of Stranger Things. And, of course, there was my annual viewing of Hocus Pocus, which had to happen before Halloween.... Excuses. I know. Until the other night when my husband cornered me with the dvd and said, "How about we watch this tonight?" I was out of excuses (and my guilt was getting the better of me), so I caved.

And OMG, you guys!

Hairspray centers on unlikely heroine Tracy, a plus-sized teen from the 1960s with big hair and a big dream. Tracy sneaks into the set of a local dance show and her sweet moves on the floor quickly skyrocket her to fame. Soon she has stolen the heart of every viewer in Baltimore. And there's a new romance to boot! But things aren't all sunshine and smiles and cheesy teen movie tropes. This film also deals with some pretty heavy issues, which are just as immediate today as they were in Tracy's time. Racism is at the forefront of this seemingly sweet teen drama. And Tracy and her friends get caught up in the center of the struggle. Also, there's a certain Mean Girl Bully who will stop at nothing to strip Tracy of her Dancing Queen crown. And let me tell you, things get pretty explosive. Can Tracy and Co. prevail? You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

Pair this film with Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. In this fun novel, Willowdean, a plus-sized teen, defies traditional stereotypes and launches a plan to take back her self-confidence by entering the local Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant. Her plan is to prove that beauty can come in any size--not just 2. This feel-good story with an instantly lovable heroine is soon to be a movie, so be sure to read the book first! You don't want to miss it. 

Oh...and while you're at it, don't forget to watch Hairspray. You can check out the original (like I did) or the 2007 remake, which features John Travolta in drag (hilarious). OPL has both --AJB

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