Friday, November 25, 2005

Anachronisms: Rent, Ice Harvest

If it was released as an original film musical in 1989, Rent would've been a cultural landmark, a lightning rod for the era's big what-have-yous -- AIDS, the drag queen revolution, etc. Instead, it embodied the era almost a decade later as an original musical, and now almost two decades later as the movie musical currently in theaters. So it's all very kitschy in a snappy multiplex as 2006 draws near. The songs are as agonizingly catchy as ever, but they're hollow without live applause to stamp the appropriate exclamation point. And all the fade outs -- real buzz killers. Every other reviewer makes the same disclaimer, and for good reason: The cast is magnetic and should be parlaying their talents to new, exciting material; Rosario Dawson continues to be an intriguing screen presence.

But see Rent before you see The Ice Harvest, which is the worst movie I've seen all year (and I've endured Bewitched). I was duped by enthusiastic reviews and a funny trailer and the promise of what Harold Ramis and John Cusack could do together. The reviews are inexplicable, the trailer lies, and Ramis and Cusack made an unpleasant, bloody, gratuitous thesis on the woes of modern manhood. What a mess. The story and message of the movie belong in another dimension. Can I mention again that I'm flummoxed by the decent reviews? J. Hoberman praises its classical structure (Double Indemnity? Really?) and Desson Thomson calls it a "good time." I've had better times with diarrhea.


Middento said...

There was a drag queen revolution?! Girlfriend, I must have missed the boat. *snap snap snap*

Thank you for saving my hard-earned cash from seeing either of these; EW wrote a surprisingly good review for Ice Harvest that intrigued me.

Now I'll happily go out and watch Just Friends instead.

Write Or said...

Awkward moments did occur after big numbers when no one clapped. Not that there should be applause since it's a movie, but, still, it was awkward or off or something. Yet I loved it. I’m curious as to why the original Mimi wasn’t in the film.

J.J. said...

Drag queen revolution, as in the first time drag queens became the coolest bad-ass bitches on the block. And I don't mean to discourage you if you're a Rent fan -- the movie is just another way to enjoy the music besides blaring it in your car on the way home from college. But I do wish Baz Luhrmann or Spike Lee would've directed, though. Chris Columbus makes me queasy.

maria said...

i enjoyed the movie. the fade outs were retarded.

i liked the flashbacks and things that you can cinematically do that you can't do on stage.

i enjoyed rosario immensely.

daphne rubin vega is like 40 now, so hard to be a 19 year old...