Tomorrow has finally arrived, and it has brought with it the trailer for the upcoming Annie remake, starring Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular orphan and a supporting cast that includes Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as the modern-day Daddy Warbucks, Will Stacks. In this version of the classic story, Wallis' Annie lives with her evil foster caretaker (Diaz) and several other over-worked, unappreciated girls in Harlem before she is plucked out of her apartment by the billionaire mogul Stacks, who is running for mayor and looking for an attention-grabbing photo opp. After she moves into his penthouse apartment, the two grow closer and both of them find the family they've been searching for.
Of course, any time a beloved classic is remade or updated, people are bound to be apprehensive. But no matter how you feel about the score getting a vaguely hip-hop remix or Diaz chewing the scenery as the obnoxious Miss Hannigan, Annie fans can take comfort in the fact that the trailer shows the new film featuring an important staple of musical cinema. We are instead referring to the scenes of Wallis and the rest of the cast dancing around the rooftops of New York City, which has long been a feature of films, movies and musicals.
In honor of the new Annie trailer, we've decided to salute Wallis and her castmates for their bravery and and well-executed choreography with a list of ten great rooftop dance sequences from film and television. Although please, don't actually try this home. We really don't want to be responsible for inspiring a wave of severe injuries just for the sake of a light-hearted dance routine. We're including clips, just live vicariously through them.
Empire Records After you've damned the man and saved the Empire, what better way to celebrate than with a rooftop dance party? Joe owns the store now, everyone's forgotten about Lucas stealing the money, Warren has a job, Corey and AJ are officially together, Gina and Deb are finally getting along and Mark... well, he's Mark, so everyone gets to spin around the roof in the glow of the newly-fixed sign. If you're looking for a way to celebrate Rex Manning Day, this is it.
10 Things I Hate About You If we've learned anything from the teen movies of the '90s, it's that a story has never properly ended until someone gives a rooftop performance while the credits roll, and 10 Things I Hate About You wrapped up the love story of Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles by having Letters to Cleo perform a Cheap Trick cover on what appeared to be the tallest castle spire in all the land. And lest you worry that this scene doesn't fit the "dancing" criteria of this list, we'd like to remind you of the two guys in this band whose sole purpose it is to arm-dance behind the lead singer. Don't shatter their dreams.
The Princess and the FrogTeen movies aren't the only ones that like to wrap up a story with some well-lit, rooftop dancing; Disney has fallen victim to the same urge, and The Princess and the Frog ends with Tiana and Naveen dancing a giddy Charleston in the skyline over New Orleans at sunset. You know how people say that Disney films have given them unrealistic expectations about love and life? This scene is one of the reasons why.
West Side Story Yes, the main character of this film is technically sweet, innocent Maria, but everyone knows the real star was Anita, who was played to perfection by Rita Moreno. The scene that established her dominance over the movie musical genre is the rooftop-set dance off "America." She gets all the best lines, all the best dance moves, and once she starts sassing the boys and twirling her skirt, it's impossible to care about Tony and Maria's sappy romance anymore. If you watch carefully, you can pinpoint the exact high kick that earned Moreno that Oscar.
Friends, "The One With the Ballroom Dancing" In order to keep the superintendent, Mr. Traeger, from evicting Rachel and Monica, Joey sucks up to him by helping him learn how to dance for "The Super Ball," which culminates in a tender, beautifully choreographed dance sequence between the two on the roof of the building. Who knew Joey was so smooth?
Mary Poppins When you think "dancing on the roof," it's almost impossible not to think about the chimney sweeps tap dancing and high kicking around the roofs of London. Thanks to the repetitive lyrics, everyone can learn to do this dance (once you figure out what Dick Van Dyke is saying through that terrible accent), and everyone did when they were little, stomping and twirling their way around the living room along with all of the chimney sweeps. And if you were really adventurous, you probably threw in some couch-hopping as well.
Clerks IINo matter how foul-mouthed your characters are, there's always an opportunity to work in a romantic rooftop dancing scene, and so Kevin Smith managed to work on into Clerks II with Becky attempting to teach Dante how to dance to "ABC" by the Jackson 5. Unlike the rest of the films on this list, this one turns into an all-out, elaborate dance party, but it all started with Rosario Dawson shimmying around the roof.
High School Musical 3 Sometimes the rooftop dance sequence is important to the plot, sometimes it's a fun moment of celebration, and sometimes it's just there to look pretty, which is the case with Troy and Gabriella's number in High School Musical 3. Theoretically, it's part of Troy asking her to the prom, but mostly it's just in there because Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens hadn't sung a touching ballad to each other since the pervious movie. However, we do give director Kenny Ortega bonus points for managing to work in a second rom-com staple: dancing in the rain.
Victorious, Multiple Episodes What can we say? Tween movies and television shows love to feature people dancing on top of roofs. No show made more use of this trope than Victorious, where seemingly every performance took place on the school's roof, including a prom number featuring Victoria Justice and a pre-pop stardom Ariana Grande singing a song about having a crush on your best friend's older brother. Again, bonus points to Dan Schneider for managing to work a thunderstorm into this performance, which surprisingly doesn't concern the kid playing the electric guitar at all.
Moulin Rouge In a film that featured characters singing, dancing and falling in love all over Paris, it's no surprise that the biggest, most romantic moment occurred on a rooftop that was covered in flowers, fairy lights, and a giant windmill that was often utilized for dramatic moments. We are, of course, referring to the "Elephant Love Medley," which is less formally known as the moment that everyone fell head over heels in love with Ewan McGregor. Forget "Come What May," this is the dance sequence that teenage girls the world over dream about.
Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
Step aside Giants, Patriots, Packers and whatever other teams thinks that it stands a chance to make it to the Super Bowl this year — it's time for Team Hollywood to get in the game. (We'd draft you if we could, Tom Brady and Eli Manning!)
While we may not be looking for the sweatiest jocks in town, we definitely know how to scout. Whether it's scoping a good arm or projecting a new play, these are the stars that we choose to draft for Team Hollywood. This is guaranteed to be a championship winning team!
Sandra Bullock as Coach
Bullock must be one of the most well collected individuals when it comes to being in front of a camera. She knows how to remain calm when a storm (like Jesse James) attacks — and she always can plan her next strategy. She would be a PR dream come true if it came to leading a football team. And it doesn't hurt that she won an Oscar for role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. (My pick)
George Clooney as Quarterback
He's great at devising new plays, especially if he's up against Brad Pitt's team. He also isn't deterred by old, grisly-like men who try to tackle him, especially if the playing field is in D.C.
Gina Carano as punter
If she can kick Michael Fassbender's ass, imagine what she could do with a football. (Aly Semigran's pick)
Joe Manganiello as a Running Back
This may be 98 percent based on the fact that he looks really, really good running through the forest in True Blood, so by the transitive property, he’d look great running to catch a pass on the field. The other two percent comes from sheer curiosity: what does a werewolf’s end zone dance look like? (Kelsea Stahler's Pick)
Angelina Jolie as a Running Back
She’d catch the defense standing and staring every time she runs with the ball — especially if she flaunts a leg, Oscars style. This could backfire, however, if the defense tries to tackle her… like, lustfully. (Brian Marder's pick)
Jason Schwartzman as the Placekicker
He’s plucky, he’s courageous, he’s wily. He might not be big, but he’s got heart, and the sarcastic wit that keeps the team upbeat in times of duress. Most importantly, when it comes down the last point of the game, it’s always the small guy who believed in himself when no one else did (I got all of my football knowledge from movies in the ‘90s). (Michael Arbeiter's pick)
Winona Ryder as the Wide Receiver
Her expertise in snatching and running (a football is about the size of a bag of Sachs Fifth Avenue garments, no?) will come in handy when fleeing from the authorities opposing team. (Matthew Patches' pick)
Channing Tatum as a Tight End
The reasons for this are obvious, but he's physically fit enough to be a fast runner and still broad enough to be an effective blocker. Plus, can you imagine that body in a football uniform? The title says it all — this guy deserves to strut his stuff out on the field. (Kelly Schremph's pick)
Taylor Kitsch as a Tight End
Tim Riggins lost his way when he left the Dillon Panthers, and Taylor has had some serious misfires in big-screen land. Let's get him back to TE, where he can work his magic on the O-Line AND catch Clooney's Hail Marys. (Shaunna Murphy's pick)
Justin Bieber as a Head Cheerleader
The swarm of screaming girls that follow him everywhere he goes would put any team's cheering squad to shame. Also, we could use "Boyfriend" or any of his other hit songs as the theme song for our team. Taylor Swift can be the co-captain. Why do girls become cheerleaders in the first place? Because they can't carry a tune!
And of course, Rob Schneider has to be the Gatorade jug! (Kate Ward's pick)
Hut, hut, hike!
Jason Trawick Locks in Conservatorship Over Britney Spears
Miss Lohan Goes to Washington
Alpine University film student Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) needs to start her senior project but she's stymied by a case of screenwriter's block. Then a chance encounter with the new campus cop (Loretta Devine the only link to the original "Urban Legend") gives her an idea: She'll make a film about a serial killer who slays college students in ways related to urban legends. Needless to say her cast and crew members (Joseph Lawrence Eva Mendez Jessica Cauffiel) start to disappear in a series of bizarre and mysterious incidents. And yes the killer is the person you would least suspect but only because he/she lacks a plausible motive.
Morrison ("Stir of Echoes") never finds the right mix of vulnerability naïveté and attitude to play the slasher flick damsel-in-distress-turned-heroine. (And she's never in any real peril.) Sorely missing are the outrageous performances that Rebecca Gayheart Danielle Harris and Julian Richings provided in the original "Urban Legend" -- the supporting players shackled to tired Hollywood clichés and a lackluster story never get to exercise their dramatic talents.
Freshman director John Ottman struggles with an already sputtering script by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Apparently the muse of over-the-top schlock horror blessed the first 15 minutes of the film then succumbed to spontaneous human combustion. With the exception of a mildly amusing "Blair Witch" cinéma-vérité parody the balance of the film generates neither thrill nor swill.