04 December, 2005

Rent Review Delayed

I'm working on my final paper for my Bible:Text and Context class. It's a lot of work, but you know me, the English Major Geek. I'm having a ball. I chose as my subject, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, and if you don't know what those two verses are, you should go and look them up. Right now.
The review will come after I've watched the film again. That may be when the DVD comes out. For now(SPOILER ALERT!!!) : The changes from the Broadway version were mostly known to me. A friend at work bought the Hollywood album a few weeks ago and I had listened to it. If I had loved it, I'd have bought a copy, but the album alone, I found very disappointing. It's quite a bit "cleaned up" from the stage version, and that sanitization removed a lot of the vocal emotion. For instance, when I saw the film, I didn't expect to like Joanne at all, because, while she sings prettily, vocally, there's nothing of "margins and discipline" in "Take Me or Leave Me." I was pleasantly suprised to find that, with the full performance, it worked. That being said, my biggest hatred (and this is more than a dislike, mostly because I find it amateurish) is for the editing. Primarily the editing of the story. While I LOVE Anna Deveare Smith, the "Take Me or Leave Me" scene could easily have been cut to panning out on the engagement announcement, going quickly in the flirting, followed by the song....The part of the parents wasn't necessesary. That problem runs all of the way through the film, and all of the unnecessary parts removed could have added up to 2, 3, or even 4 songs that were cut. ("X-mas bells" easily comes to mind....It may not be a major plot point, but thematically, it sums the show wonderfully.) Even if you didn't want to include more songs, quite often, the best parts of the songs were cut out. In "You'll See," one of the things that made the song special, and not just another POV song occurs when the lyrics are twisted and used by other characters. "You see boys.....Let it be, boys....I like boys....Boys like me.....We'll see...." There were weird bits after a lot of the songs too. Some were long fadeouts.
The most glaring omission was created by taking Joann and Maureen out of the title song.....What? The silences where "Maureen, I'm not a Theatre Person" and those lines following should have been were huge. Those breaks now seem amazingly odd and distracting. If the films about the year in the lives of these characters, can't they all be in the title song?
Some common complaints, I disagree with. I like Roger's hair....It's almost the cut I have now. LOL. The CGI breath did suck, but I got past it. I knew they'd cut "Contact," and until 3/4 through the film, I seriously disagreed with "Disneyfying" the film, but I realized, this has to play in every Red state, and to kids young enough to absorb the ideas of diversity. By toning down the film, it gets a wider audience. The filmed version of the death in the hospital was great. Too many youngsters today don't know what HIV can do to you. It's scary, but it's real. The tweaking of the timeline worked, but if it has to reverse to fix "You'll See," etc., then I say switch it back. The mini-riot, during the title song was great! The Tango was nice, too. I LOVED seeing Tom and Angel skipping in the park. I would love to be able to shame Denzel Washington (who gave Will Smith the advice "A black man doesn't kiss a man on film," when he was doing "Six Degrees of Separation) by saying, "Look, this is what a black ACTOR does. You may have an oscar, but you ain't shit. I haven't seen that performance. I really have no desire to. My antipathy for Denzel is cold...I don't want the man dead or anything, but I definately don't want to put $ in his pockets. "La Vie Boheme" was great, but the sound was a bit off. For instance, I couldn't even hear the "To Dance..." before "what a way to make a living...."More in the final review....

In honor of my new ability to type in Hebrew, I'll sign off with my Hebrew name:

אבגדר ישראל

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