I don't know what the creative team behind The Last Five Years movie were thinking...
Didn't they know this isn't the way movie musical adaptations are supposed to work?
Didn't they know they were supposed to cut key songs from the score for "time reasons"?
Didn't they know they were supposed to cast A-list stars, throw them in the recording studio and auto-tune them to the point we believed they could actually sing?
Didn't they know they were supposed to cast the original stars of the show? Who cares if their current ages don't fit the characters anymore!
Didn't they know instead of songs, the lyrics should be spoken without music because we all talk in rhyme?
Didn't they know they were supposed to change the original ending, thus eliminating major plot points and pay Jason Robert Brown enough money to act like he was okay with it?
No....The creative team behind The Last Five Years didn't think to do any of this which is why Hollywood will hate them, but we love them for it.
The film is a textbook example of what a movie musical adaptation should be: faithful to the original and only elevating the source material.
With little to no change in staging, the film transfers what we saw on stage, the good and the bad, what worked and what didn't. But it's all there on screen.
For years I've been waiting for a movie musical adaptation that wasn't a let down. There were too many Disney alterations to Into the Woods, most of the cast of Les Miserables couldn't carry a tune, Mamma Mia was ...well let's just say they decided to make a Mamma Mia movie.
Over and over again Hollywood has been taking Broadway properties and turning them into bloated, studio friendly messes.
But not The Last Five Years.
Thankfully, having been made in the independent circuit, Hollywood was unable to touch it. The film is fantastic. Mixing live vocals with studio recording, the sound is seamless. With usage of an entire orchestra rather than a small pit of musicians, Mr. Brown's music soars.
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan turn in incredible performances as well. You can't just sing a Jason Robert Brown song, you have to embody it. And Ms. Kendrick and Mr. Jordan are perfect as this couple spiraling downward and upward given the style of the story. While no one will ever top Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz, these two come close.
Everything about the film seemed to go against what Hollywood would do. "Summer in Ohio" could have easily been filmed as a big production number but instead was done with just a handful of (hilarious) dancers. "The Schumel Song" could have been a spectacle of light and special effects but settled for Christmas lights and two actors by themselves in a room. "Nobody Needs to Know" was brilliantly filmed as a single shot sequence with various actresses. Hollywood would have never stood for this.
Sadlly, because this film won't be the commercial success to change Hollywood's ways, we can expect their usual retooling in upcoming adaptations of the likes of Pippin, American Idiot and gasp....someday Wicked. I would lobby for a Parade movie, but God only knows what Hollywood would do to it.
But for now, The Last Five Years stands alone like the field in Field of Dreams. It reminds us what movie musicals were, what they could be and what we hope they will become again.