The Fantasticks - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fantasticks Reviews

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January 12, 2016
I loved Jonathon Morris as El Gallo in The Fantasticks. Morris was charming, witty, a talented dancer, charismatic then abrupt, emotionally removed, distant.
Perfect for the role.
August 4, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
½ February 7, 2013
2/3/13 This is a "cute" film. It is a classic broadway love story, but with some little twists. Some of the songs were catchy, but there isn't a ton of substance here. It is a little cheesy. I thought it was just OK.
November 18, 2012
The Fantasticks, based on the iconic off-Broadway musical, follows the story of two fathers who use reverse psychology in order to manipulate their children into marriage. Now, I have never seen the musical that this film was based on, but I feel that I can still fairly judge The Fantasticks on its own merits. Unfortunately, even without the most basic knowledge of the source material, The Fantasticks falls flat. The writer and director attempts to make the film odd and magical, but unfortunately it just comes off as creepy and needlessly dark due to over the top visuals and the inability of the writer to get down a clear and consistent tone. While the film has many great songs, for the most part the director is unable to find character actions that complement the music, causing the songs to harm the film's quality rather then help it. That said, I actually do like this film. Is it good? No. Is it entertaining? Hell, yes. I'm not sure if it's because the film is so bad, or if there it's because of the interesting plot and songs, or maybe just because of a charismatic performance by Jonathan Morris, but even though I acknowledge that the film is bad, I was incredibly entertained watching it. I guess that this film is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Despite the fact that I know I shouldn't like it, I enjoy it in spite of myself. While I perfectly understand why so many people dislike The Fantasticks (it is a bad film after all) I find some personal enjoyment out of watching it. Overall, while "The Fantasticks" does fall flat due to it's inconsistent tone and bizarre visuals, it's also very enjoyable based on how bad it is and the interesting premise. I recommend this film to anyone who either likes musicals, or finds a lot of enjoyment out of bad movies. I give The Fantasticks 3 out of 5 stars.
January 11, 2012
You will either love it, or you will completely feel inferior to it, and therefore hate it...

Pros: Good casting with Jonathon Morris {plays a comedic role in Bread}, Jean L. Kelly, Joel Grey {best known recently for playing the "Wizard" in the Musical show: Wicked, and Joe Mcintrey. Very nice locations in Arizona. For a Low Budget Film, it still managed to have small little special effects that added to the simplistic but whimsical story.
Cons: The rest if the cast were to be desired, and the directing was quite unprofessional.
{look on youtube for: "Just a little girl fantasticks"
and you'll see the real reason why there's such an allure to the film.}

Here's the Lowdown: It's a beautiful story, with wonderful actors and actresses, butchered by an inexperienced director and producers who definitely give it "cotton candy" like quality to the film. Which means:
You may like the underlying taste of it, the pretty appearances of some of the cast, but it isn't overly substantial, and is finished off much to quickly. {I still like to watch it on occasion though.}
*Jonathon Morris plays the seductive, El Gallo, and definitely carries this film's rather weak plot along. {You can't blame me for this statement! Morris has the well crafted physique like those Grecian sculptures! This may explain why it's mostly females who love this film. And maybe more than one reason why the male population grumbles and feel less than masculine when watching the 'sword fighting scene'}
Joel Grey serves up a stellar performance too, bringing his obvious experience in broadway influence to the film.
And Jean L. Kelly, and Joe Mcintrey serve as the re'latable victims, like when we were young and childish.
Still reading? Good, keep going
***The film adaption of the Fantasticks could have been better, I assure you. But it still serves a good point, which is that despite all our romantic and immature thoughts. we all have to grow up one day. And through life's trials, it's the ones who come back to stand beside us, who can be trusted. And not the suave amorous posers, who seem to fulfill our dreams for the moment, but disappear as quickly as they came.

Summary: This play originally was based loosely on 'Les Romanesque'. Now I really don't know precisely what 'Les Romanesque' is about, but it sounds absolutely elegant, because I think it's an Italian opera, or something like that.
The story is about two fathers who use reverse psychology to get their children to fall in love; but, when the day comes when they want to marry them off, they don't know how to do it and not make their children suspicious of the set up.
So the fathers decide on hiring the ringmaster of the traveling circus to come and "rape" the girl, so that her boyfriend will save her, and give a reason for ending the feud.
Things get complicated when the "rape" is a little too successful though. The naive girl actually becomes enamored with the more sexy Jonathon Morris.
And the boy becomes more ambitious when he experiences the "thrill" of saving a damsel in distress.
Both children have their wishes fulfilled, and learn their lessons, becoming wiser and more mature human beings. Hope this helped, and you win a noble prize for reading my review!
~Musical Lover
½ January 9, 2012
It was okay. I have yet to see it on stage, but I know that it is in the minimalist tradition. Movies seldom are, yet this film tries to meet the original half way with mixed results. There is a circus, but it is small. There are houses, but they are tiny. There is magic, but it is cheap. It probably would have been better to just pick an extreme and go for it. The music is still good, and Joel Grey moves well for an old guy.
½ November 22, 2011
Wasn't quite of to Off-Broadwa snuff but still a good watch.
May 16, 2011
This movie was fantastic but it was kind of creepy in some ways and el gallo reminded me of the phantom.... And not in a good way . Plus songs were kinda corny
½ March 11, 2011
Deep in December

There is, apparently, great conflict about the quality of this particular movie. Supposedly, you can tell whether or not someone's seen it live by whether or not they like it. So, then. There is but one obvious question to follow that, and I must admit that the answer is no. No, I have not seen it live, though I would kill to be able to have seen it in its original Off-Broadway production, at the beginning of its run (it went over 17,000 performances), when Jerry Orbach was in it. I have the soundtrack, a Christmas gift from a college roommate, and I hold deep and lasting affection for it. I have the only existing copy of a recording from camp, many many years past, wherein a group of us crowded around the piano at break and sang show tunes and music from Disney. As I recall, on that tape, Richard Meyer--semi-famous composer of orchestral and band music for junior high musicians--sang "Try to Remember" alone. I've got to get that onto a more lasting format at some point.

Amos Babcock Bellamy (Joel Grey) lives in a neat and tidy house in the middle of nowhere with his daughter, Luisa (Jean Louisa Kelly). Right next door is the house of Ben Hucklebee (Brad Sullivan) and his son, Matt (Joe McIntyre of the New Kids!), which is not so tidy. Luisa and Matt are forbidden to speak to one another. Their fathers have a long-lasting feud, started as soon as they became neighbours. And so naturally Matt and Luisa fall in love. It further turns out that their fathers knew it would happen and conspired on the whole thing. Only now that it's building to its successful conclusion, they don't know how to mend the break. To that end, they pay El Gallo (Jonathon Morris) to stage an abduction of Luisa from which Matt will rescue her, and they will combine their farms and Live Happily Ever After. End Act One. Only Luisa still hasn't had her fill of romance, and certainly the reality of living with people never quite works the way you imagine. After much fighting, Matt leaves to see the world--and Luisa asks El Gallo to take her to see it as well.

There's a reason this show has lasted bloody forever, and I think it is tied to why the movie bombed so spectacularly. (A fate I don't think it actually deserved.) It's both fanciful and philosophical. At the end of the stage production, El Gallo reminds us to leave the wall. We must always keep the wall. This is an exploration of human nature which I think play-goers are more inclined to accept that movie-goers. Especially given that this played Off-Broadway, so it probably wasn't the tourist draw of, say, your [i]Cats[/i] or your [i]Producers[/i]. It's amusing to see the fathers play with reverse psychology, but the longings in Luisa's heart are ones not everyone understands. Agnes DeMille said that either Rodgers or Hammerstein, I don't remember which, objected to her putting a dream of being a dance-hall girl into the ballet of [i]Oklahoma![/i] He said his daughter didn't imagine such things, and she told him that, if she didn't, he needed to keep a closer eye on his daughter. Luisa dreams of being a bad girl, and not everyone understands that the dream doesn't go away just because she's found love with the New Kid next door.

It is of course also true that the American love affair with the movie musical was, if not over, definitely in abatement in 1995. We are prepared for a movie of a big-name musical, but even then, people are much more likely to just watch [i]The Sound of Music[/i] again. For all its tens of thousands of performances by now, this is still kind of obscure. My understanding is that its original house was quite small, and it wouldn't surprise me if they got a lot of repeat business. I only really heard about it for the first time through Mr. Meyer, though it seemed vaguely familiar when I looked into it, and I was not merely a musician but a serious fan of musicals. What's more, the movie doesn't really have any big names. Yes, as I keep pointing out, it had a New Kid, but they'd long since peaked by '95. In fact, they'd about peaked at the point at which the movie was made, several years earlier. Joel Grey is probably better known to my generation as "Jennifer Grey's father" (it's worth noting that Jerry Orbach played her father in [i]Dirty Dancing[/i]) and to the one ahead of us [i]maybe[/i] as the emcee from [i]Cabaret[/i], if they know him at all. And Teller wouldn't be a draw even if he did get lines.

I can see why fans of the show don't reliably like the movie. It's not the best adaptation out there, and they don't give much weight to the songs. Their El Gallo is acceptable, and Jerry Orbach was getting a bit old to be the dashing, romantic figure who draws Luisa away to see the Wide World. Some of the other acting is a bit stiff, which is of course the problem with casting people who are singers and getting them to act, though I'll take that over the butchery which could be done to some of the songs by a non-singer. However, I do still like it. The bleak nature of the locations suits the story. It may even enhance it, given how fanciful it makes the houses seem. (No one for miles, and the houses are each ten feet or so from the fence.) No one is too attractive, though of course Luisa is quite pretty. I would say that this adaptation is preferable to no adaptation at all, but I really would like it if someone would come along and get it right. With or without random Teller.
January 10, 2011
I haven't seen this stage version of this, but I will be in May, so I may eventually have to change my star rating of this movie. I did find the music to be not nearly as good as that of the stage version, but I enjoyed the movie nonetheless.
½ September 8, 2010
I was hoping this would be more of a diamond in the rough musical gem. Unfortunately, I found the directing/editing distracting and the music was less than stellar.
½ May 26, 2010
So much better as a stage production!
April 23, 2010
Hahah...a bit bizarre
March 9, 2010
As the movie got going, I started to worry it was just going to be an overly sappy, corny musical. As it got futher in I realized there's a reason for this bing the world's longest running musical, aside from the fact that it's cheap to put on.

Sad, wise, romantic, and a little silly. If you liked Moulin Rouge or Strictly Ballroom, I'd suggest giving this a try.
December 13, 2009
While I love the stage version dearly, a lot of the magic is lost in this movie version. Part of the problem is the awkward staging and editing and performances of the songs and some scenes. One such song really suffers (Never Say No) as the energy is drained out and the editing is too slow and awkward. However, Jean Louisa Kelly and Joey McIntire are good in the roles of the young lovers, but they can't save the movie.

Quite a disappointment that may deserve a slightly lower score if it weren't for the fact that all of the source material is good.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2009
A couple catchy tunes. Probably one of the only stage musicals to require such a small cast and such minimal scenery. In this film production it just comes off as creepy and odd.
September 27, 2009
This movie is entertaining for a B movie. Not very well made. You might get a kick out of it though. At times it becomes a poorly performed musical. There is a good vs evil plot going on while young love springs forth! It is not great, but I have seen far worse!
September 12, 2009
It has a couple good songs, but overall it seemed weak.
½ August 30, 2009
This movie was just as it is titled, FANTASTICl I only wished that the girl got her necklace back. It belonged to her mother. It lets you know how trusting you can not be to strangers. Yet he was touched.
August 30, 2009
didnt get the film was kinda awkward to watch
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