Barbra Streisand is exceptionally good at being famous. She can sing, she can direct, she can act. She has a mall in her basement, and there’s even a play about someone working in that basement mall. Recently, she called Tim Cook because she was bothered by the way Siri pronounced her name. Right now, Streisand is on tour — “I’m killing myself for this tour, because there’s a painting I want,” she told the New York Times — and she just released her 35th studio album, a series of duets titled Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Most of these partners are very handsome men. Most of them sing about being in love with her. It is a scam of the highest order; everyone seems to have a good time.
For evidence of that, turn to Streisand’s YouTube page, which includes a series of videos that seem to come from an alternate reality where the the vlog was created in the ‘50s by gay man with access to a professional orchestra. Of course, some of the videos are better than others, but they are all soothing and good. Here they are, in order from least to most charming:
10. Seth MacFarlane, “Pure Imagination”
If you’re making any sort of show-tunes album, it’s inevitable that Seth MacFarlane will want to get involved. “I thought Seth MacFarlane would be great,” Streisand says early on, never once naming a project he was involved in. Was she the only person who liked his “We Saw Your Boobs” song at the Oscars? Does she put old episodes of Family Guy on a projector screen when she wants to relax? We have a lot of questions.
9. James Brolin, “Fifty Percent”
Barbra has her husband James Brolin deliver a few lines at the beginning of this song, but the video is otherwise all about Barbra, which isn’t a bad thing.
8. Alec Baldwin, “The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened”
“When they first asked me, I thought, Oh God, this must be some mistake,” Alec Baldwin says, turning to the camera with 30 Rock–level timing, “But here I am.” He doesn’t have to do too much singing, but boy, the two of them have fun.
7. Antonio Banderas, “Take Me to the World”
Barbra Streisand called Stephen Sondheim in order to change the lyrics to this song so that it would make more sense on the album, which is pretty much the definition of a power move. She also flew to London to work with Antonio Banderas, who mostly seems confused about why all of this is happening to him.
6. Hugh Jackman, “Any Moment Now”
Here is a GIF of Barbra Streisand describing Hugh Jackman’s role in the X-Men movies: “He could be a werewolf, or whatever he is. Wolverine?” Other than that, this is pretty standard fare. Sure, getting to sing with Barbra Streisand is a great thing to happen to Hugh Jackman, but a lot of great things have happened to Hugh Jackman. We can move along.
5. Jamie Foxx, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”
Highlights: Barbra wears a black cap and hugs Jamie Foxx, who is wearing a scarf; Jamie Foxx says that his mom will be very excited to hear about all this; Barbra finds everything Jamie Foxx says incredibly funny.
4. Melissa McCarthy, “Anything You Can Do”
Melissa McCarthy very clearly came into this with little to no musical experience and still acquits herself very well. Bonus points for getting to make fun of Barbra’s basement mall, and for being generally adorable. We would definitely watch the fake movie they’re pretending to make, and not just pretend to have watched it, like we did with The Guilt Trip.
3. Patrick Wilson, “Loving You”
Did you realize that Patrick Wilson can really sing? This is a fact that seems to take Barbra herself by surprise, which makes you wonder why anyone asked him to come on in the first place. Anyway, he’s really good. Do a movie musical, Patrick! (As faithful readers have pointed out, there is The Phantom of the Opera, but we would like more.)
2. Chris Pine, “I’ll Be Seeing You/I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”
Though this is really a matter to be discussed elsewhere, Chris Pine — or specifically, Chris Pine with long hair — is the best Hollywood Chris, followed by long-haired Hemsworth, Parks and Rec Pratt, Snowpiercer Evans, short-haired Hemsworth, short-haired Pine, Guardians Pratt, and finally, indie-movie Evans (all ratings final). Anyway, as Barbra puts it, “Chris Pine … he’s one of the hotties today.” As you might expect, the flirting here is off the charts (Chris, buddy, you missed a button on that shirt) and the singing is good, too.
1. Anne Hathaway and Daisy Ridley, “At the Ballet”
This clip could only feature Daisy Ridley giddly talking about her first experience in a recording studio and it would still rank among the greats. But it also has a very pregnant Anne Hathaway doing her best to mug for the camera (and a mention of her Oscar, of course, and Babs’s Oscar, of course) and you have some gloriously high-camp ridiculousness. If you ever doubt your place in the universe, watch Barbra sway back and forth while Daisy Ridley sings, and know everything will be okay.