People I know. People I trust. People I would lend more than fifty bucks to. People I would pick up from the airport at three in the morning. People like these have told me how much I’ll enjoy film version of the Broadway blockbuster RENT.
I just finished watching the DVD and something’s wrong. Something is terribly wrong. I thought it stunk to high holy heaven.
Could so many people be wrong and I am the only one who is right?
Perhaps I have a disorder of the brain. Some sort of chemical imbalance that affects the way the neurons snap my synapses. But there would be signs other than conflicting views on Broadway musical, right? If I really had a brain disorder I would be doing things like filling my pockets with salad dressing, and naming and caring for my individual dandruff flakes.
No, the more I think about it the more I think I’m the one who is right and they’re the ones with Creamy Ranch oozing out of their Khaki pockets.
For starters, I think you should be able to sum up the plot of a good play in a single sentence, with less than fifteen commas. You can’t do that with the film version of RENT. I’m not certain that I can explain the plot if I had all night and half of tomorrow.
I also think you should be singing and humming songs from a good musical for days and weeks after seeing it. The only song from RENT that I can recall involves some sort of numeric equation. It was something about ten-thousand-three-hundred-forty-seven hours in a umm, something something something. There was a song the whole cast sang in a restaurant that was kind of catchy, but I forgot it as soon as I heard it.
Nearly all the songs in the movie version of RENT, and there were a lot of them, sounded exactly alike. And the thing of it is, there was no reason for half of them to even exist. For the most part, the songs they were singing consisted of chunks of dialogue these characters should have been sharing. I’m a firm believer that a good song can certainly move a play along, but I had the distinct impression that the playwright was afraid to have people sitting around talking, so he simply jammed the information he wanted to convey into a talky song.
It’s always nice to see Sarah Silverman in anything, and Taye Diggs is one of the more handsome men to set foot on planet earth, but their combined might could not hold my attention to the screen.
Perhaps everything made more sense on the Broadway stage. Perhaps there were plot elements and even some character growth that never made it to Hollywood.
And one last thing that I know will bother me for months to come unless I do a miniature exorcism right now; the character of the budding filmmaker drove me bonkers. He runs around the whole movie with a sixteen-millimeter movie camera, pulling it out of his bag and shooting from the hip at awkward moments. He mentions several times that he wants to make movies that make a difference, and there’s no way-no how he’s going to sell out to the man. Toward the end of the movie he starts spending some quality time on the Movieola, editing together his opus, and during one of the last songs of the movie he turns on the projector and lets it rip…and the whole film (that we see) consists of badly framed, badly out of focus, under and over exposed snippets of film. The guy’s pet project looked like it had been filmed and edited by some of the street people he’s so fond of filming.
Again, perhaps his movie serves as a terrific device in the stage production. I could see where it might. But I wasn’t lucky enough to see it on stage. I had to see it in my living room.
If I were into clichés I would moan something about saying goodbye to two hours of my life that I’ll never see again.
Now I have to go find my Chorus Line CD and wash the madness away.