Dance sequences are an integral part of musical films for, well, obvious reasons. But there are some non-musicals that deliberately included elaborate dance sequences, and the results were often incredibly confusing. Here are five completely out of place dance sequences in film.
“Feeling So Good Today” – Kickboxer
We’ll start with one of the classics. Kickboxer is an incredible film, and by “incredible”, I mean silly and ridiculous and terrible and amazing. It’s just a pile of adjectives, really, but one big reason for that is this unreal sequence that, at the time, was surely meant to show us the pure sexual being that was Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now, it’s more of a time capsule of 1989 fashion than anything, with huge khakis and a tank top that somehow looks more like a chef’s apron than anything.
“ABC” – Clerks II
Clerks II was a decent sequel, but any success it might’ve had probably didn’t have anything to do with this dance number. Obviously meant as a parody of musicals, that didn’t make it any less out of place when scores of professional dancers began dancing to The Jackson 5’s “ABC”. At the very least, I guess it’s easier to digest than what happens in the movie when “Goodbye Horses” starts playing (don’t Google that one, maybe just take my word for it).
What could we really say about that emo swoop that hasn’t been said already? Spider-Man 3 falls short for a bajillion different reasons, not the least of which this insane jazz number where “evil” Peter Parker woos Gwen Stacy right in front of Mary-Jane by cutting a rug and glowering like you’ve never seen a milquetoast hero glower before. It was one of many nails in the coffin of this version of Spider-Man, and I can only hope that Homecoming is completely and utterly jazz-less.
“The Age of Aquarius” – The 40 Year Old Virgin
The 40 Year Old Virgin was a massive hit 12 years ago, helping to launch the careers of Jonah Hill and Kat Dennings, and it made Steve Carell a household name. But what on earth was “The Age of Aquarius” doing in the end credits? Originally made famous by The Fifth Dimension, the song is a powerful number that (I guess?) is used here to show the titular Virgin’s exuberance? If Jean-Claude Van Damme showed up, would it have been any more weird?
“Golden Years” – A Knight’s Tale
Sometimes, anachronistic song choices work, like the inclusion of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Moulin Rouge. But the choices in A Knight’s Tale are less effective. Take, for instance, a scene in which Heath Ledger’s character must basically “Yes, And” an entire musical number to the tune of David Bowie’s “Golden Years”. I won’t begrudge anyone a Bowie number, but couldn’t they have at least shelled out the dough for Bowie to appear in full jester get-up? Now that, I would watch.
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