Monday, November 28, 2005

Disappointments

dis·ap·point·ment - n.
The act of disappointing.
The condition or feeling of being disappointed.
One that disappoints.
I saw the movie version of RENT this past weekend. Needless to say (because of the title of this post) I was quite disappointed. Before going, I read the reviews online and was hoping that they were a bunch of snotty, stuffy bastards who had nothing better to do than slam this movie. I was wrong. They were right. The movie was lukewarm at best. Let me preface this by saying that I am a HUGE RENT fan. There was a time in my life when I considered myself one of the RENT HEADS. I have seen the show on Broadway, seen many tours, own the soundtrack, and even personally know some of the cast members. I was still disappointed. This story was written for the stage. A very specific stage. The songs are very expository. The lyrics speak for themselves, and the story unfolds in the mind of the audience. It seemed as if the director called up all the original cast members, threw them into the East Village and said, "Do the show!"
After watching the movie, I pondered if the making of this movie was a task that anyone could have done. I like to believe so. I can remember years ago when the buzz was starting that a movie would be made, I was so very excited. This story spoke to me. It had to speak to everyone. What better way for it to speak to everyone than to put it on ever silver screen.
Maybe its my age.
Columbus has directed such box office hits as Home Alone and the first two Harry Potter movies. Why didn't he direct the last 2 Potter movies? I believe that they reason is because of CONTENT. Columbus is very good at directing, dare I say it, children's movies. His lush, indulgent, shallow style is quite beautiful, but empty. And that is how I felt this movie played. Emptily.
Did I care about the characters? Yes. Because of the movie? No. The actors in this film appear to be slightly distant from the world that they are portraying. Is it because the actors are 10 years older and 10 years beyond the material? Perhaps.
The movie Chicago is a great example of what should have happened to this story. That movie LEPT off of the stage and on to the screen. But Chicago isn't the same as RENT....ok, how about TOMMY--thats another rock opera. That movie rocked the screen. It was rediculous, over the top, yet still gripping. The story of RENT is already gripping. I think that the movie could have been.
Unfortunately this movie doesn't speak to a wide audience. Perhaps it just doesn't speak to me anymore. I had hopes that this film would have a mass appeal. Somebody's grandma in the Midwest would go see it and be shaken to her core. I was when I saw it 10 years ago. Why? Because I lived it....or at least thought I did...or at least wished I did.
Now that I have actually been here and seen the gentrification of the lower east side and village and how it is now...and seen neighborhoods that were like it was then, i know i wouldnt have wanted to be there. Maybe thats why the movie made me feel empty.
But I know these characters. I love these characters. I have lived with them for many years..their words and stories echo in scrapbook-like sections of my life.
Has "No Day But Today" lost some of its hold on me? Yeah I think it did a little...yesterday.

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