November 28, 2005

No Day But Today (Or Maybe Tomorrow)


Sometimes Cinecultist thinks the reason we live in New York City is because we're a sucker -- a sucker for Unabashed Romanticism and Believing In The Dream. (It might maybe perhaps be because of all the movies we consume.) At times, we'd like to think that the music coming from our iPod is actually the soundtrack to our life and every emotional up or down a plot point towards our big beautiful happy ending. Chris Columbus' adaptation of the musical Rent preys on suckers like CC. We are its bread and butter.

In the media blitz leading up the release of this movie, CC's most cynical side lashed out against its treacle-filled sunshine. We honed our Rent joke -- as in, if we wanted to see dirt poor 20 somethings break into song in East Village walk ups, we'd not pay $10.75 for it. Or some such snide remark. But just as we wanted to do our best sneer every time the cast performed on the Today show or we saw the huge billboard at Astor Place, CC couldn't help but also be intrigued. How bad would it be? Last night, we went to the Union Square theater to find out.

With pretty good performances and darn catchy tunes, it's not an unpleasant 2 and a half hours spent at the movies, especially if you're a movie musicals person. However, like when CC saw Baz Luhrman's production of La Boheme a few years ago, this LB story brings up a bunch of issues. It seems to get most hairy during the "Viva La Vie Bohemia" song in the Life Cafe. The gang is all there; they've pushed a bunch of tables together and are now singing at the table adjacent which holds Benny and his investor friends about how great their bohemian life is.

Like that Billy Joel song, it's a mad dash to list all the things that are great about being young, poor and artistic in the late 80s like the Village Voice and masturbation. But all of this unabashed, wide-eyed belting of song and loving of life seems so incredibly unhip and dated. Not to mention the pervasiveness of AIDS and the need to act up, that feels so removed from urban life today. Do the young people LOVE like this anymore? Is life ever filled with such intense drama? Does the fact that we doubt this living for a dream make us even more bourgeois than the fact that we can afford the rent, eat three meals a day and even afford decadent digital cable service?

In the end, all of this second guessing and evaluation really cuts into one's enjoyment of the stirring pop rock songs and how short Rosario Dawson's skirts are. But if you're a real Chris Columbus kinda believer, maybe you won't be hampered by it. You'll be able to walk out of the theater thinking (and humming) that there is no day but today and really mean it.

Posted by karen at November 28, 2005 11:32 PM