Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rent (2005)

On August 8th, as my B-day gift, my awesome friend and roommate, Nikki, got me a ticket to see Rent at the Hollywood Bowl directed by Neil Patrick Harris and starring Wayne Brady, Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger and I think those were all the famous people. WE wanted to see it because Roger was being played by Aaron Tveit - a super hot Broadway boy who rocked our socks as an original cast member in Next to Normal and was painfully overlooked come Tony time, and Mark was played by Skylar Astin - a original cast Spring Awakening alum with a great voice who we hadn't really seen since Hamlet 2. As expected, both dudes were phenomenal (at least I think they were - they were really really far away). Some of the famos were better than I expected them to be - especially Nicole Scherzinger. For the record, Vanessa Hudgens BLEW. Like hard core. Bad singing. No acting. I won't rip her to specific shreds, but she should stay in her element.

Anyway...that was one long setup to say that when we got home, we felt inspired to watch the movie version of Rent. Which, thankfully, I own. I'm going to defend my ownership of said movie with two points. 1. I have long admitted that I will forgive a musical movie many faults just because musicals are one of my preferred genres. 2. The numbers in the movie version of Rent are good. Well danced, well sung, fun and full of energy.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of in-between-musical-numbers and it is far far less good.

We got to talking about why the movie, dare I say it, sucks. My position is - and will remain - it's as good as it can be and still be Rent. Rent does not have a movie structure. There isn't one solid protagonist, there aren't three acts, they don't all arc and I think, at its core, it's too sprawled out for a movie. To be a great movie, half the numbers would need to go and Roger would need to be the star. And you can't nix Mark and still call it Rent. Conundrum!

Little issues like Roger's hair being the wrong length - yes. Those could have been fixed. But - those aren't the reasons why my friends in Michigan (who couldn't pick Roger out of a lineup of two) didn't like this movie.

And - in the show, the following things happen after 9:00pm on Christmas Eve. Collins gets mugged, gets helped, hangs with Angel, Benny threatens Mark and Roger, Mark goes to fix Maureen's equipment, Roger meets Mimi, Mark returns home, Collins appears with Angel, they go to a Life Support meeting, Mimi visits Roger (at "close to midnight" presumably), Roger kicks her out, Roger goes out with the gang, Roger finds Mimi, Maureen actually has her protest (what - scheduled for 4:00am?) there's a riot and then they go to dinner at which point Roger and Mimi act like they've known each other longer than a few hours. It's absurd. We can ignore that on stage. I don't think we could have or would have in a film.

Anyway - that's a post on Rent. Rent's amazing. The movie's not as amazing and if you never got to see it on stage - see the recorded Broadway version. It's good. MUCH better than the movie.

Oh - and if you happen to get your hands on the feature version - the best bit is the documentary on the special features disc. Makes me weep every time.

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