Concluding my personal ranking of the 25 movie musicals deemed essential by the American Film Institute…
#1. Grease – 1978
(#20 on the AFI list)
I don’t know if this will be a controversial choice as my #1 musical on the AFI list, but I have to say it wasn’t even close. Since I first saw Grease as a kid, this has been not just the best musical I’ve ever seen but one of my favorite movies, period.
This movie is such a blast from start to finish — from the melodramatic beachside embrace to the greatest end-of-school carnival ever. It’s impossible to start Grease and not finish it.
Bolt promises to be the final non-Pixar computer animated film released by Disney, and it’s not a bad way to go out. Pixar films remain on a whole other level, cinematically and in terms of resonance, but there is certainly a place for solid family entertainment of a more pedestrian nature.
Bolt is certainly pedestrian, borrowing elements from everything from Toy Story 2 to The Truman Show, and there isn’t a moment you don’t know exactly where it’s going. But it’s also funny, exciting and charming and a perfectly nice way to spend an afternoon with your kids.