Saturday, October 3, 2009

I remember the original Fame, so the new movie is a bit of a shame...

Although I liked the new movie, I couldn't help but wait on the edge of my seat for the titular theme song to play, which didn't happen until the end credits of the movie - what a travesty!
Fame 2009 movie billboard
I know that the filmmakers probably wanted to reinvent the 'Fame' concept for a brand new audience, but it's a classic song, so sometimes you shouldn't mess with perfection.
Fame movie poster
With that said I did enjoy the new movie and I thought it captured the spirit of the 1980 movie. I used to love the original TV show, more than the film, and how everyone would spontaneously break out in song or dance (or both).

I also loved the characters Doris, Leroy, Bruno, Coco and my main criticism of the new film is that I didn't really get a sense who any of the characters are as there were so many plot lines going on, that any main story and central character gets lost in the clutter.
Fame film poster
Even some familiar faces as the teachers like Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) as the music teacher, Bebe Neuwirth (Lillith, Frasier's wife) perfectly cast as the dance teacher, Megan Mullally (Karen from Will & Grace) as the singing teacher and Charles S. Dutton as the acting teacher, don't really have that much to do.

The New York Academy of Performing Arts is full of teen angst, from romances and betrayals, success and failures, to tough choices and suicidal thoughts, yet you don't really get a sense that the teachers are nurturing the students that much.
Fame 2009 film poster
Where is the stand-out 'Leroy' character with his illiteracy that threatens his dancing talent or the chemistry between music teacher Mr. Shorofsky and Bruno, or the immortal words of Lydia the dance teacher "You want fame?...Well, fame costs. And the price is sweat"? (OK, I admit that I may be mixing my TV series and original movie references).

Maybe time and memory has placed the original version a nostalgic pedestal. I know I'm not target market for this film (although the other people in my screening were all older than me) and maybe teens of today will fall in love with this re-make and it'll become a pop culture phenomenon of their generation (although I kind of think that High School Musical already did this a couple of years ago for the younger audience).
Fame film billboard
I did like Asher Book as 'Marco' and Kay Panabaker as 'Jenny' and the fact that everyone did mostly look like high school kids, but no amount of YouTube references, rapping and hip-hop song updates or Karaoke club outings can make up for the fact that they didn't incorporate the Fame song into the movie.

I give Fame three *** stars (and a 'must do better' when there's another re-make in twenty-nine years time).

I am one disappointed 34 year old and "I'm gonna live forever"...

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