Damn, pretzel man.

Spike Lee’s well-choreographed record of the last performance of the musical Passing Strange may have a (very) familiar narrative arc–young alienated man, seeking true expression and self and art, misses the reality of relationships and love. Yet it has this rock-(and-r&b-and-soul-not-to-mention-cabaret-and-a-little-Kraftwerk-and-a-thousand-other-eclectic-musical-allusions-)operatic vigor that made me forget I’d ever seen a musical before. Narrated by singer/writer Stew and his greek-chorus band, this movie is as funny, moving, and deliriously melodically gorgeous as any I’ve seen in some time. The cast is sweaty and superb; Stew is a fucking wonder; the songs are as lyrically twisty as Sondheim, and there are moments of thumping keyboard and percussive soaring guitar and choral chant that almost had me, alone in my living room, on my feet.