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my big book of little catastrophes
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rent rant 
2nd-Dec-2005 09:01 am
Last night I was watching The Daily Show, and my TiVo showed me a scene I recognized from Rent. I backed up to watch the whole commercial, and was really fucking annoyed at what I saw. The entire commercial was about the Roger/Mimi romance, with barely an image of any of the other characters. It was basically the straightest, most gay-marginalizing, un-diseased, drug-free take on the story you could conceive of. I can only imagine all those poor, duped, straight, straight-laced people who go to see the movie thinking they are getting a standard straight, urban romance, only to find gay and lesbian romantic duets, and half the characters infected with AIDS. It's tantamount to advertising The Wizard of Oz as a movie about farming in Kansas.

OK, rant off. Now, about the movie. (No ranting, I promise!)

I went to see the movie Rent last weekend with saintmichael and his hubby. I had seen the theatrical production when it toured in SF a couple years ago, but wasn't too impressed. I loved the music and got The Best of Rent on CD so I could enjoy the songs again, which I still do often. But I found the story confusing and hard to follow. Maybe it's because my hearing is sub-par and I couldn't understand most of what they were singing. I had the same problem seeing Les Miserables - I was totally lost watching that! It didn't help that the stand-in who was playing Benny that night was a white man, but when they played Mark's documentary at the end it showed the regular black Benny. Anyway, I only had a vague idea what the show was about.

The movie was really different. I actually understood the story and what the characters were up to. I was so happy that they didn't shy away from the gay and lesbian relationships and the AIDS and the fucked up nature of the characters' lives. I was worried they would tone that down to make the movie more palatable to middle America (like the commercial I saw last night). There were a few changes I didn't like, but I have to admit they mostly made the story work better for the movie. The one artistic change that disappointed me was how some material that was sung in the theatrical production was converted to spoken dialog. Come on, it's already a musical! Singing answering machine messages aren't any more unreal than people bursting into song in the middle of a snowy street.

It was nice to see most of the OBC reunited for the movie, but after nearly 10 years they didn't look like the young 20-somethings most of them were supposed to be. Oh well, can't have everything!
2nd-Dec-2005 05:26 pm (UTC) - LJ ate part of my comment - let's try this again
I was totally underwhelmed by RENT when I saw it at the Orpheium. Great music, sure, but I found the story convoluted and bloated.

It had been way overhyped to me by all the RENT fags - I was expecting it to change my life or leave me a sobbing wreck (and I'm a sucker for sappy shit so I know it wasn't me), and when ended, I sorta just went .. yay?

*** SPOILER ***

When Mimi wakes up from her overdose/hypothermia and you realize that Roger and Mimi *are* going to be able to spend some time together, everyone around me in the audience was a mess. I mostly didn't care.

RENT's biggest problem IMHO is that the dude who wrote it dropped dead whle it was still being workshopped. It's not finished. It's way too long and the story needed serious refining.. The stage production could stand to get about 3-4 songs cut out. Yea, this is RENT treason, but those people can eat my butt :P

I am passing on the movie, it sounds awful.

The LEASE parody in Team American nailed it. They lived in New York, not Africa. Yes, junkies, gays, and homeless people can catch HIV, but jesus christ - the story collapse under the burden of its own weight. Angel and Mimi would have been enough.

>> Allen
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