It’s that time of year again when mediocre songs and flamboyant performances illuminate our TV screens. With the dreaded ‘deux points’ score for the United Kingdom having become a staple of Eurovision disappointment. So why not settle in with a large glass of wine and watch a movie instead?
Movies have the ability to bring popular music, energy and diversity into your home in equal measure to any Eurovision party. So grab the snacks, pour the drinks and get ready to dance into the small hours with our pick of the best alternatives to Eurovision. Every one designed to have you dancing in your living room by the end credits.
Buzzing with energy, humour and joy, the film version of the classic stage musical does an impressive job. While bringing the story of Tracy Turnblad to the big screen in a sea of colour and diversity. With a truly impressive cast working alongside rich and colourful cinematography. Hairspray doesn’t disappoint, creating a truly joyous and feel good film that ripples with a 60s beat. And have no doubt this is a film that will have you singing along, smiling and dancing from the first scene to the last. While the neighbours beg to join in the fun.
Studio 54 Directors Cut (1998) (2015)
The world famous New York discotheque ‘ Studio 54’ is brought to life in glorious technicolour in Mark Christopher’s 1998 film. Following Shane O Shea (Ryan Phillippe) as he attempts to make his big city dreams come true.
54 ripples with the disco beats of 1970’s New York. While Mark Christopher’s directors cut replaces the sexuality and desire inherent in his original vision. Ensuring that the sexual liberation of 70s dance culture and emerging drug culture sit centre stage. This is a film that takes you back to the era of syncopated beats, strings and rhythm guitars. With a glorious journey into a changing society.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Prepare to be rocked with a beautiful, joyous and emotional rollercoaster of music. With Rami Malek’s Oscar winning performance full of soul and reverence for Freddie while also backed by a superb ensemble cast. Bohemian Rhapsody shows love and affection for the band at its heart. While also never seeking to dismiss the trappings of fame or the destructive nature of money and loneliness. But where this films excels is in its ability to bring the music of Queen to a new generation. So turn up the volume and celebrate the genius of Freddie and Queen.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Buzzing with energy, Emile Ardolino’s romantic summer trip is still as fresh and creative as the day it was released. Following Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she falls for her dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). During the long hot summer nights of the Catskills resort. Known for the classic dance routine that has inspired so many others.
Dirty Dancing is so much more than a simple dance movie, it’s a divine trip into sexual liberation. And there aren’t many better ways to spend a Saturday night in front of the TV.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Even if you have never seen John Badham’s film, you will undoubtably know the Bee Jee’s score that made the film famous. Following Tony Manero (John Travolta) an everyday Brooklyn boy who lives for the weekends at his local discotheque. The stress and social isolation of the week danced away in world of music, lights and status. Replacing the mundane world of reality with colour and beats. Both Electrifying and unique, Saturday Night Fever captures the atmosphere of 70s disco like no other film of its genre.
This is Elton John at his most flamboyant, vulnerable and honest. With his stunning back catalogue of music woven into key moments of joy, despair and change. Taking us from the young Reggie Dwight, born into a dysfunctional family in Middlesex. To the glittering excesses, joy and risks of global stardom. While using its stunning cinematography to convey the highs and lows of a life lived in the glare of public attention.
Meanwhile, musical numbers are creatively dovetailed into the key narrative of each scene. With the resulting aesthetic of gleaming west end show. While equally maintaining the fantasia of the overarching film.
Unlike 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, this is a film that has every intention of creatively playing with the life story of its subject. Providing a unique vision of a man who survived the darker side of fame, while finding himself in the process.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Released in 2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch brought post punk/glam rock back from the grave in a way not seen since Rocky Horror. Encapsulated in a film adaptation of a short lived but truly unique 1990s Broadway Musical. From the outset, Hedwig has no intention of toning down or distilling its kaleidoscope of colour, humour and raucous energy. Helped by the writer, director and lead performer (John Cameron Mitchell). Bringing his own creation and vision to the film translation. As result, never forgetting the Broadway showmanship. This creativity and bravery also encompassed by all the films songs being sung live. Equally creating a real sense of the Broadway spectacular of 1998 on screen.
Just sit back with a huge glass of your favourite drink and let Hedwig wash over you with its glorious visuals, humour, music and performances.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Very few modern musicals have left a footprint the size of the The Greatest Showman. Providing us with a film that entrances with its fantastical roots while also embracing social diversity and inclusion. The cast revelling in a film that sounds and looks fresh, while its tunes do the heavy lifting.
The Greatest Showman will have you singing out loud, tapping your feet and embracing the beauty of life before the credits roll. While equally providing a true masterclass in modern film musical design and delivery.
Mamma Mia (2008)
ABBA kickstarted their career with Waterloo at Eurovision. Therefore no alternative list of films for Eurovision night would be complete without them. ABBA’s blistering upbeat pop melodies blaze through a film full of colour and joy. And while Mamma Mia isn’t perfect, it is a sun drenched trip into ABBA heaven that will have the whole family singing along.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A cult classic in every sense, Rocky Horror is deliciously dark. Like a big slice of decadent chocolate cake, it coats the senses. While urging you to go back for more on every viewing. It’s tunes rippling with a delightfully subverted exploration of 70’s sexuality.
In our modern world it is easy to dismiss the power of this film, but sit back and let it wash over you with its gorgeous difference. Without it the world would be a darker place.