Les Mis Left Me Le Meh….

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To this day ever since seeing the live theatre event that is Les Miserables, once the faint singing of “Do you hear the people sing/Lost in the valley of the night/It is the music of the people/Who are climbing to the light”  I feel the sting of tears flood my eyes and a lump forms in my throat and my ears start to burn.  Then the music begins to swell and the voices sing out louder and louder taking me over the wall and into the revolution with them.

Seeing this masterpiece of a show on a stage has such power that there, simply put, isn’t a way to match it, unless it’s to film a live production of it.  You know, like they did with RENT.

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I try to pretend that the movie with the original cast was never made.  Its just that bad.

This brings me to my point.  Watching the “midnight” showing of Les Mis last night with my friend, Tressa and with Perry, left me feeling like I wasted my money.   I love the show, I really really do.  So when people try to Hollywoodize a Broadway show, I know there will be differences.  What I don’t understand is why someone would take this show which has worked as written for decades and rewrite some lyrics or switch them or cut a song.  Is it because movie audiences just wouldn’t get it?  It’s possible.  I mean the characters of the Thenardiers (played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter) were blown up so over the top it was terrible.  But they were bastard versions of the characters so that typical movie audiences would be okay with watching a musical.  Yes, I know its a downer of a show and they are the light moments, but making them clowns isn’t necessary to showing the funny in their behaviors. I think that was a horrible choice for the casting director (Nina Gold).  They may as well have put in Adam Sandler in for Cohen.   I couldn’t wait for them to get the eff off the screen.

Speaking of horrible choices, Ms. Gold, what were you thinking with Russell Crowe?  No, really.  I would love to know.  I understand that simply as an actor he looks and can play the role of a hard-nosed inspector in France in the 1800’s.  But his singing was just atrocious.  I felt bad for him.  And myself.  Did you have him actually sing “Stars” at the audition?  Wow.  His rendition gave me nightsweats!

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I know I am being a little mean to you Ms. Gold, so here’s some good to go with the bad…

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Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Daniel Huttlestone, Anne Hathaway and Aaron Tveit were great.  I could close my eyes and see all of them as part of a stage production.  Of course Ms. Barks has already been (see the clip below) and Mr. Tveit has been on Broadway as well (Catch Me If You Can).  As the lovelorn Eponine, Ms. Barks, my favorite part of the movie, is heartbreaking but never defeatist which makes me root for her all the more.  Huttlestone as Gavroche was perfection as the feisty little revolutionary.  I loved the moment he sings “Think you’re poor/Think you’re free/ Follow me/ Follow me…” He is standing in the window of a carriage singing down to an aristocrat with one foot on the ledge in a position of power.  It is a great shot.  One of the few that I enjoyed in the movie.  Marius’ epic “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables” was for me the showstopper of the movie and Redmayne was mesmerizing.  Anne Hathaway made Fantine strong and delicate but such a fighter that she is worthy of the Golden Globe nomination.  Mr. Tveit was on point for this role! He was my other favorite actor in this movie.

Samantha Barks sings “On My Own”

Oh, speaking of Golden Globes, Mr. Hugh Jackman, while doing a very very good job in the movie was kinda weirdly uninteresting at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hugh, but there were moments where I just had to scratch my head and say “WTF?”  For example, during the new “song” (it doesn’t really fit in the show, style wise, I feel) Valjean is supposed to be stroking Cosette’s hair while she is sleeping on his lap.  First, his hand is held in an awkward position, and then when you really watch he’s not even touching her hair.  To make matters worse, the director cuts to a close up and shows him tenderly (or as I like to say fakely) caressing her hair.  Then during his rendition of “Bring Him Home,” he starts almost in a belting voice which leaves nowhere for the song to build to.  I just wanted to close my eyes and wish for Colm Wilkinson to take over after a few lines.

AND I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION: It was so awesome to see Colm Wilkinson (The original Jean Valjean) as the Priest who gives Valjean the silver to remake his life.   It just brought the biggest smile on my face.

One thing that the movie can do better than the musical was show in greater detail the battle scene.  It is powerful and heartbreaking.

The other thing that bothered me was the lack of new angles and shots when it came time to sing the songs. Each solo was filmed head on with only one person in the shot. Even the duets are filmed in this way.  If I remember correctly, all the songs were sung as they were being filmed live, so I can understand why it was filmed like this. But for a movie that is 97% sung it gets old fast.

I will hold firm that the best musical converted to a movie is Chicago.  I don’t think Les Mis is an entirely lost cause, but I think I should have waited for a matinee to shell out some dough to see this “show.”

It is a pretty good movie, just not as amazing as I was hoping.

I can only give Les Miserables

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Two smiling actors.  Maybe I will upgrade review when the dvd comes out.

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World AIDS Day 2011.

As we enter into the 4th decade of the AIDS epidemic, I wonder if this thing is ever going to be cured.

Today, the drug cocktails are so strong that they can greatly reduce the HIV levels in those infected, but they never really cure the disease.  Of course diet and exercise play an important role, as I am sure positivity does as well.  A while back Magic Johnson’s doctors proclaimed that his levels were so low that they were undetectable.  They never said he was cured but that the levels were so low that his immune system appeared nearly perfect.

Even with that said, the virus is still contagious.

I used to know a guy named Marty.  He was a great guy.  Full of energy, and quite chatty.  We talked almost once a week at a cafe that I used to go to after school.  We hung out at the cafe and we talked about all kinds of random things.  Then one day he told me he was HIV positive.  I was so sad.  This guy who was so full of life may have it cut short? How can that be fair?  Of course this was in the 90’s, so the advances that we have now weren’t the same.  During summer break, I think it was all of August, I didn’t make it to the cafe.  When I went back in September, he wasn’t there.  I don’t know if he moved or if he just got tired of talking to a dumb kid.  Hell, he may have even passed away.  I don’t know.  I just kept thinking that it was such a waste that someone with that kind of spirit had to move on sooner than one would expect.  

In the 80’s when the world first learned about HIV/AIDS, there were all these crazy things being said, like you can catch it by using the same bathroom and stuff.  Luckily, some schools were quick to put into place a “task force” as it were, of students to act as educators to other students.  I don’t know why but this particular disease always bothered me the most.  Actually, no, that’s a bit of a lie.  I was thinking I would edit that out, but I feel like when moments like this happen, it’s best to leave what’s written alone.  Sorry, I just had a brief conversation with myself.

Anyway, I just said I didn’t know why AIDS struck me so profoundly, but I DO know why.  It’s because of all the hate that I saw.  Everyone was saying that it’s a curse for the gays and that only fags can get it.  That it was what we deserved for following our hearts and loving another person that just happens to have the chromosomes that we do (XX or XY).  I know that being in middle school and knowing that I was a big ‘mo, may seem unlikely, but I assure you, I’ve known since kindergarten.  But that’s another story.  Being a gay male, did this mean that AIDS was supposed to be meant for me as well?  I saw the pictures of the lesions and the end result of the people who passed away.  They looked so thin and gaunt.  Like they’ve used the last bit of their life force to fight off the virus only to be defeated.

So I joined that student task force.  I attended the meetings.  I talked about “safer” sex to everyone that would listen.  They called it safer, because no sexual act is without it’s dangers.  The condom could break or maybe a bite accidentally draws blood.  I would try my best to dispel the myths about how one can contract the virus.  Unlike the rhinovirus, and lucky for us, HIV has not mutated to the point where it is an airborne threat.

Hopefully, I get the word soon that I will be joining the AIDS LifeCycle this coming summer.  I’ll be hitting you all up for donations.  hahaha.  I guess I better hop on my bike!

So on this World AIDS Day, I wish you all health and vitality.  Take care of yourselves, and your bodies as well as your spirit.

Do you know your status? Here’s a site that has resources on every level, so no matter where you are, there is some thing for you to guide you in the right direction.

 

 

 

Well it took me long enough, didn’t it?

I finally have an Episode 4!

I realized that I really did ramble on and on and on.  So I took the extra time to edit out all the excessive stuff and did my best to keep it concise.  Show notes will be added very very shortly as I am working on them right now!  Also, I have added a new photo album to my Facebook page with some pics of the Breaking Up cast.

Without further, adieu  I present Episode 4

Thanks for taking a listen.

Next week, I’ll have a contest for a cute little character named “Carl”!