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!