Archive for December, 2005
I watched Rent not once but twice this weekend.
One part of me wants to say, “YES, its finally made it to the big screen!” But another part of me feels that a huge piece of the show’s charm was lost or sanitized out in the transition to film.
I’ll be honest two of my favorite songs, “Halloween” and “Contact”, didn’t make it into the movie. Halloween was apparently shot, but they didn’t even record the music for Contact. (Contact was known as the “sex” song in my mind, and for the longest time I hated it, but I’ve grown to love it.)
Cutting Contact from the film is a perfect example of the sanitization that took place in the transition. The amazing thing about Contact is that is is both a hot erotic song with people having sex, a song where the characters brashly proclaim their dissatisfaction with sex, and a song in which one of the main characters dies. Sex, sex, death. Or to be more precise, Sex, Sex, death of a gay man who got AIDS from Sex.
I’m annoyed this juxtaposition isn’t in the movie. Instead the only way HIV is showed as spreading in the film is from drug use. Granted, the show didn’t illustrate any HIV transmission methods, but alluded to multiple methods that people are infected with HIV.
By removing the allusion that HIV is transmitted by sex, and replacing it with the example that HIV is transmitted by drug use it has denigrated people living with HIV/AIDS.
Its also disheartening how some of the songs have been edited. Opening song “Rent” emasculated into a simple linear expositionary song that is a triumph in literalism. Whereas the musical’s version of “Rent” serves to introduce a majority of the main characters in wonderful polyphony and illustrate the Rent that is developing within the group, the movie’s version just about protesting the fact that people have to pay Rent. These missing pieces haven’t even been covered up, there are long pregnant beats just stick out and that now interrupt the flow of the song. Quite frankly I prefer Homer Simpson’s version of “Rent” in Rent II: Congo Fever, at least that was funny.
Also, someone forgot to educate the idiot screenwriter, Stephen Chbosky, what a sung through musical is. I understand fully that things have to be reworked and sometimes changed around so the story works in a different medium, but we’ve lost the fun sung answering machine messages, as well as numerous other pieces of music, in their place are uninteresting spoken replacements, or even worse, the same words spoken without music. Additionally, peppered through the movie to adjust for the loss of Jonathan Larsen’s wonderful work, are lame lines penned by Chbosky.
Somewhere along the line with all this tinkering and reworking Rent lost its heart and soul. The movie marginally works, but its a different animal, and it disgraces the brilliance and compactness of its predecessor.
There is a quote from a writer whose name I forget that I’m going to paraphrase and butcher right now:
I kept telling myself that there was one more hurdle I had to clear so I could start living my life. But, then I realized that instead those hurdles were my life, and I should enjoy them and live my life.
See, I warned you I was going to butcher it.
Chiquita announced this week that headquarters, where I work, will be staying in Cincinnati. It was Fernando’s decision alone, and I have to agree with him, it was the right one for right now for Chiquita.
The problem is I really wanted to move. In many ways I was looking forward to moving and keeping my same job. (okay there are a huge number of assumptions there, but the odds are pretty good that I would’ve still had a position with Chiquita.) Some of this is that I’m scared to get too far away from my family. Its not that I don’t think I could take care of myself, (I’m more or less independent from family, its not like they’re doing my laundry or anything.) its that there is a lot of comfort of having a safety net of being able to lean on parents, especially when crazy ass people try to kill you or you can’t make the rent.
Another piece of this is that I’m a change junky, and right now I’m bored. (My primary operational responsibility at work currently bores the shit out of me, and I’d really like it if our primary vender got their shit together. I’m torn on that because they do a good job with what they’ve got to work with, but the thing is generally messed up and I’m the one who gets the pressure internally.) School, lets not even get started on that, but suffice it to say I’m not interested in it right now.
I looked at maybe buying a house, but I’ve got a rent that is hard to beat, and anyways the only rationale I could come up with for buying a house is to invest, and the experts say you’re better off investing elsewhere, especially given where I’d like to live right now.
I’ve also got a promise to myself that I’ll move out of the Midwest in the next five years or so. This means I’ll need to start plotting where I’m going, and right now I feel stagnate.
I have this dream that I’ll meet some wonderful guy and we’ll move (out of the midwest of course) and I’ll find a great job and everyone will live happily ever after. Yeah fucking right. While I didn’t read that in a fairy tale, it definitely is a fairy tale. I’m bad at being a catalyst for change. I want a cute boy, or my job, or some other external force to be the catalyst, and usually it is. But, this also means I’m just waiting for something to happen..
In case you haven’t figured out by now this is one of my trademark rambling entries, and I have no idea how to end it.
Until next time, when I’ll discuss dinner parties, goodnight from two felines and a human in a bed. (I swear, there is nothing funny going on….)
I had one of those Ah! Ha! moments today.
Lots of us employees were disappointed about Chiquita staying in Cincinnati. Ironically both people who ultimately wanted to move with the company and keep their jobs, and people who wanted to stay in Cincinnati (and presumably lose their jobs) were disappointed.
This struck me as odd, but most of those who were disappointed in one way or another were/are seeking change.
The Ah! Ha! was that for people to initiate change on their own is terrifying. If for instance you choose to leave your job, and it doesn’t work out well, you’re the one who made a bad choice. But, if you lose your job because your company moves, and it doesn’t work out well, there is blame to share. Don’t get me wrong both are terrifying. But, it is almost antithetical to our being to bring change upon ourselves that could be negative.
Change is good, you just have to be open to it and embrace it and run with it.
Okay. The Producers rocked. Some notes of what they did right:
- No fucking with the structure. Its the same story, presented in the same order.
- Keep what makes the stage version worthwhile. The Producers on stage was a huge comedic, over the top number. It won’t work any other way. Rent on the other hand a intricately threaded story on stage. Its a lame mono-filament on the screen.
- Every change was justified. Things did change from the stage to the screen. Songs were made longer, some songs had lines cut out or changed. But it was all justified, and fit the story.
- It kept the style. Some critics said it looked like a stage version on film. To some extent I agree, but it also didn’t compromise on the style of the show. The stage version and the movie version were both painted from the same pallet.
- Cast a friend I went to high school with.
Its a fun romp, and they got everything right about it. Generally they followed a simple rule: If it works don’t fix it.
An oddity from spending my 42 seconds near show business, is that every once in a while I’ll recognize someone on the stage, on the screen, or in the credits.
Its cool and odd seeing someone you know in person on the screen. I’ve had a few instances of this, Matt James in The Maker or Tory Ross in The Producers. I’m used to seeing people I know on stage, so somehow that isn’t as cool.
Now what really blows my mind watching someone in a movie, and going “I’ve seen her before, but in what.” Spending a good minute figuring it out, then going…. Dang I worked with her in a show! That happened to me once while I was at Jenni’s house and she had TNT on to Frankenfish! with Donna Biscoe. Thats an odd and very cool feeling.