This past Friday night, I should mention, had a fascinating Charlie Rose interview of Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit and Law and Economics fame. Such a great interview!
Saw “Rent” yesterday. I thought it was a pretty good musical movie. The fact that it had the original cast (or most of them anyway) was great too – beautiful voices and very attractive cast. And, yeah, some of the cast is looking a little long in the tooth to still play characters in their twenties, and it’s not a perfect movie (no plot, as one person said – but it’s a musical, and musicals are always going to be weak in plot). I liked the NY Times review by A.O. Scott best:
In other words, “Rent” is occasionally silly, often melodramatic and never subtle. Every song swells toward bombast, and every theme, musical or narrative, is underlined almost to the point of illegibility. [“Rent” creator Jonathan] Larson’s attempt to force the marriage of rock and Broadway often sends the worst of both genres into noisy collision, as if Meat Loaf and Andrew Lloyd Webber were reworking “Exile on Main Street.” Certainly, the musical traditions of the show’s native ground – home to the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, Sonic Youth and so on – are hardly audible in its tunes. But to raise such objections – or to chide “Rent” for its childish politics or its simplistic and instantly obsolete vision of the New York demimonde – is to think like a them.
Yes, Bohemia is dead. Its funeral rites are pronounced by Mr. Larson’s best song (“La Vie Boheme,” quoted earlier), a wondrously nonsensical catalog of tastes, ideas and attitudes ranging from microbrewed beers to Kurosawa movies, with a toast along the way to “Sontag and to Sondheim and to everything taboo.” But the passage of time, which has left almost nothing taboo, has also inoculated “Rent” against the disdain of hipsters who might find it woefully unsophisticated. Its idea of Bohemia is not realistic, but romantic, even utopian. Openhearted to a fault, it stakes its integrity on the faith that even in millennial New York, some things – friendship, compassion, grief, pleasure, beauty – are more important than money or real estate.
It never hurts to be reminded. Precisely because some of the specific concerns of “Rent” have become dated, the truth at its heart is clearer than ever. It is undeniably sentimental, but its sentimentality might serve as a balm to those of us, in New York and elsewhere, who sometimes find ourselves living in the long, tuneless sequel. Who would ever want to see a show called “Mortgage”?
Nice points. Although, I do wonder if the Red State folks may stomach “Rent,” but it’s been around almost 10 years, so what can one really say? Just sit back and enjoy the visuals and the music.