Monday, June 9, 2008

The Boy from Oz

Author(s): Brian
Location: AZ

"The Boy from Oz"

Directed by Frank Oz
Written by Mark Sherman
Produced by Martin Brown
Based on the Musical “The Boy from Oz”

Main Cast

Hugh Jackman (Peter Allen)
Ashley Judd (Liza Minnelli)
Patrick Wilson (Greg Connell)
Susan Sarandon (Judy Garland)
Ed Sanders (Young Peter)
Geoffrey Rush (Dick Woolnough)
Judy Davis (Marion Woolnough)

Tagline: "From Down Under to Over the Top"

Synopsis: Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen once said his songs were his biography. “The Boy from Oz” proves that he was, indeed, correct. The film begins when a young Peter Allen is touring Hong Kong with his somewhat aggressive stage parents Dick and Marion, who have turned him into a somewhat well-known act, where he sings quirky, cabaret-style songs. Peter, however, wants more. He wants to be able to write and perform his own songs, have his own record label, and sell out concerts. And in one night, that becomes within his grasp. As he performs to a medium-sized venue, the iconic Judy Garland, who was in Hong Kong for press-related reasons, hears his voice, and believes that she can make him a superstar. Peter happily accepts her proposal for him to make a guest appearance on her show, and before he knows it, he’s a regular.

Also while working for Garland, he meets her rising-star daughter, Liza Minnelli. Peter, now in his early 20’s, is beginning to realize his intense homosexual feelings. Peter, alarmed, begins dating Liza, and within only a little more than a year, they are married. Both Liza and Peter’s careers are growing at exponential rates daily. Therefore, the two are apart for a large portion of the time. While apart, Peter develops an attraction for his assistant, Greg Connell. Both Greg and Peter know the feelings are mutual, however, Peter refuses to act on his feelings, being a married man. He compensates for them by overworking, and by having secret, . Peter has now written songs for stars such as Olivia Newton-John, Peggy Lee and Dusty Springfield, and his own singing career is starting to pick up as well. However, things between him and Greg are more fervid than ever. No longer able to deny his feelings, he comes out to Liza, and then to the world through his song “Not the Boy Next Door.” He and Liza divorce and he moves in with Greg. The problem now, however, is that his once on-fire career is expected to come to a halt. He doubts that the world will be able to accept a gay man as a singing sensation. That mindset changes, however, when he releases his signature song “I Go to Rio.” The song, a flamboyant, energetic tune, climbs up the charts overnight, and he becomes an international sensation. And soon enough, his entire act becomes over-the-top, campy night-on-the-town performance. And for Peter, that was enough.


1. The Lives of Me
2. When I Get My Name in Lights
3. When I Get My Name in Lights (Reprise)
4. Love Crazy
5. Waltzing Matilda
6. All I Wanted Was the Dream
7. Only an Older Woman
8. Best That You Can Do
9. Don't Wish Too Hard
10. Come Save Me
11. Continental American
12. She Loves to Hear the Music
13. Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage
14. I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love
15. Not the Boy Next Door
16. Bi-Coastal
17. If You Were Wondering
18. Sure Thing Baby
19. Everything Old is New Again
20. Everything Old is New Again (Reprise)
21. Love Don't Need a Reason
22. I Honestly Love You
23. You and Me
24. I Still Call Australia Home
25. Don't Cry Out Loud
26. Once Before I Go
27. I Go to Rio

What the Press would say:

“The Boy from Oz”, the acclaimed adaptation of the 2004 Broadway musical of the same name, is unquestionably one of the best films this year. Some of it is hilarious, some of it is captivatingly dramatic and some of it is a little bit of both at the same time. However, at any given time, you can expect two things. One: the always entertaining songs of Peter Allen, and two: the best musical performance of all time. Read that last phrase again. The best musical performance of all time. I would like to say that that’s an exaggeration, but it simply is not. Hugh Jackman reprises his Tony Award winning role as the eccentric Peter Allen divinely, for lack of a better word. Certainly the best performance this year, it often feels as though Jackman has three roles in the film. The first is an ambitious young man determined to make his dream come true. The second is a married man struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. And the third is a flamboyant, overly energetic singer. He plays each of these sub-parts very differently, but we still believe that he is the same person throughout the film; just one who is changing. If you were to tell me that Jackman was, in reality, Peter Allen himself, I would not doubt you for a second. I suppose the only real criticism I can make about Jackman’s performance is that he will make the Best Actor race at this year’s Oscars boring. He is nothing short of a lock.

Another great thing about Hugh Jackman’s performance is that he does not at any time upstage his co-stars, which leaves room for Ashley Judd and Patrick Wilson to give some of the best performances this year as well. Ashley Judd beat out dozens of A-list actresses for the role of Liza Minnelli, and all I have to say is thank God she did. Judd captures the singer/actress’s persona perfectly: ambitious and self-centered, but ultimately understanding and forgiving. She, too, can expect to pick up her statuette as well come Oscar season. Finally, Patrick Wilson takes on the role of Greg Connell, Allen’s lover for nearly 20 years. Wilson claims to have spoken with gay men who have been in, or are in, relationships with closeted men, and that is evident throughout his performance. Wilson shows total understanding of such a unique, emotionally turbulent time. He, too, is a strong contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

“The Boy from Oz” is a fascinating, tuneful film featuring clever direction, an emotional and humorous script and, of course, the performance of a lifetime. The film can expect Oscar nods (and a few wins) in the following categories…

Best Picture
Best Director (Frank Oz)
Best Actor (Hugh Jackman)
Best Supporting Actress (Ashley Judd, however the studio has announced that she will be run in Best Leading Actress [Musical or Comedy] at the Golden Globes)
Best Supporting Actor (Patrick Wilson)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design

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