Wednesday, November 23, 2005

 

Rent

I thought this review of the movie version of the stage musical Rent was pretty interesting. Some of my favorite excerpts:

"Based in part on La Bohème — you know, that famous opera by Baz Luhrmann — Rent observes 525,600 minutes in the lives of the healthiest-looking, most highly functional junkies, strippers, AIDS patients and starving artists who populate the cold-water flats of New York City’s Lower East Side, circa 1989."

"The characters in Rent suffer for their art — we never really find out if any of them are actually talented, but we’re asked to believe that they’re all brilliant — and they suffer in other ways, too. The whole movie is like a paean to the nobility of suffering. Mark’s ex-girlfriend, the aforementioned artist Maureen (Idina Menzel), has recently ditched him for an attorney named Joanne (Tracie Thoms). Roger and Collins are both HIV-positive — something which, in Roger’s case, becomes fodder for a song, “I Should Tell You.” Fortunately for Roger, the object of his desire, the beautiful but tragic Mimi (Rosario Dawson), is HIV-positive herself — and a junkie and a stripper to boot, which I suppose makes her the winner of the Alphabet City triple crown. And just to make sure he has all his bases covered, Larson throws in one interracial lesbian engagement party, a wisdom-spouting homeless prophet, and a Latino, cross-dressing street performer unsubtly named Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). No oppressed minority or special-interest group is left unturned (save perhaps for paraplegic albino hermaphrodites). Was Larson really hoping to have a career on Broadway, or was that just going to be his springboard into politics?"

"For the considerably cheaper price of a movie ticket, new audiences can now be showered with such meaningless, up-with-people aphorisms as “No day but today,” “Take me for what I am” and “How about love?” They can be reminded that, no matter how grim things get, they’ll work themselves out for the best (or how, failing that, they’ll become martyrs who inspire all their friends to live their lives to the fullest). And they can rest assured that by swallowing this hooey, they are somehow expressing their own individuality, just like all the lemmings in their Che Guevara T-shirts. Rent wants to teach the world to sing all right, but only if the world buys a Coca-Cola first. "

Jay, Keri, and I saw Rent in Kalamazoo back in January of this year and I have to say, I'm glad the woman playing Maureen was hot because it enabled me to forgive alot.

Comments:
Carina Chocano, of the Los Angeles Times, called Rent:

"Commodified faux bohemia on a platter, eliciting the same kind of numbing soul-sadness as children's beauty pageants, tiny dogs in expensive boots, and Mahatma Gandhi in Apple ads."

Which were my feelings exactly, and also why I have little interest in seeing it.
 
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