Thursday, June 09, 2005

How Do You Measure Ten Years Of Torture?

It was nearly midnight when I was making my way home from an Elephant Larry rehearsal that had run late. This was mid-March or so, and the nights were just getting comfortable enough to turn cold brisk walks into meandering strolls, so I was taking my time and enjoying a kick-ass slice of pizza.

The moon was really bright for some reason, and by the time I reached the southern edge of Tompkins Square it had begun snowing, which seemed strange given the new warmth of the night. I was brushing the snowflakes off my slice when I spotted an old Datsun from the 80’s. This was kinda exciting, because it was the same car my folks had while I was growing up and it's pretty rare to see one in the city. Looking further down the street, there were two old Volkswagen bugs right next to each other, and then a big long Oldsmobile right after that. I realized the entire wintry block was full of cars from the 70’s and 80’s, when companies still named them after tropical places and animals.

That’s when someone yelled “Cut!” and the snow stopped and the bright lights that were in fact not from the moon at all began shifting around a bar just down the corner on Avenue B and some dude in a headset jumped in front of me and asked if I could walk through the park instead.

I nodded and took another bite of my snowy pizza, which was not so much covered in snow as it was big chunks of styrofoam. Then I headed through the park and closer towards the set to gape and gawk with the other starstruck idiots.

Turns out they were filming the soon-to-be-in-theaters and based-on-the-popular-Broadway-musical, RENT.

Goddamn. Motherfucking. RENT.

The crew continued filming in my neighborhood for the next couple of weeks and I saw them everywhere. Every morning, there they were: filming some guy on a bike or some guy strolling through the park or walking into a fake subway station they’d just built that morning. Everywhere, all the time, RENT, RENT, RENT, RENT, RENT.

Which is precisely my major problem with the musical: I can’t escape it, I can’t escape it, I can’t escape it.

From the girl down the hall freshmen year who saw it on Broadway twenty-three times and would blast it from her room every waking moment, to the hours and hours of being forced to sing “Seasons of Love” in the high school chorus, to my distant cousin’s wife finding fame and fortune as the main female lead on the Broadway stage, to the little chunks of falling styrofoam all over my pizza.

Somehow RENT has become an inescapable theme of my life. And for the past ten years, I’ve felt this strange and constant pressure to just go and see it, even though I’ve never really wanted to.

That is (sigh), until today.

Click here to watch the RENT trailer.

I watched it earlier today. And I liked it.

Fuck.

Yup. In fact, I really liked it. A whole lot. And I think I even want to see it when it comes out now.

DoubleFuck.

I guess it makes sense. Familiarity breeds liking. And after years of the relentless RENT bullshit, I pretty much know the whole story and all of the songs. And on top of that, it’s both a New York movie and a romantic movie (two of my worst goddamn weaknesses). And then there are all the dramatic, well-lit, sweeping shots that when I watch them make me think, “Oh man, I wish I lived there!” and then I remember, “Oh wait, I ALREADY DO.”

Hooray.

Congratulations, RENT. You win. I lose. This is me bowing down, giving up, and promising to see your stupid movie. And you know what? I’ll probably enjoy it. So fuck you.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"This is me bowing down, giving up, and proming to see your stupid movie"

Is "proming" a verb? *Should* it be a verb? It could just be an abbreviation of "promising to come". On the other hand, it could mean "expressing excitement similar to what I felt about my High School Prom".

Personally, I'm totally proming to see the new Batman movie. But I'll probably see Rent as well.

- M. Babish

Monica said...

wow--it seems to be beautifully shot, very natural...except for the horribly unnatural staging of seasons of love...which is horribly unnatural in the show itself too. but, the trailer has no dialogue, no other songs, no obvious shots of people even singing, no introduction of the stars... somehow that all makes me love it more, i agree, awesome. I want to see it out of town somewhere so I can be the asshole in the audience pointing out all the locations in the movie I recognize 'from real life.'

christopher said...

Oops. I actually meant "priming."

Priming is a personal thing. For me, priming for a good musical often involves at least six months of rigorous dieting and at least thirty thousand pull ups.

But given the word's obscurity, I changed it to something more commonly accepted.