No Day But Today

by Alan Rapp on February 23, 2006

in Uncategorized

Great cast, great story, great music what more do you want?  The film based on the Broadway show is now on DVD.  Okay so it’s got some issues Red State people might be uncomfortable about – drugs, homosexuality, civil disobedience, and cross-dressing but it’s damn good fun and one of my top 10 films of 2005.  Although beloved by a vocal group of Rentheads sadly the film never found a wider audience and has been ignored by most award committees but maybe it can find a new audience on DVD.

5 Stars

RENT is a labor of love.  The cast worked on the play and lived with these characters for a decade and it shows in every second of the film.  The DVD captures the performances and gives some historical perspective to the play and eventual film adaptation.  RENT is definately worth owning.

The story revolves around a group of friends living in New York City’s East Village from Christmas Eve 1989 through the following year.  Adapted from the play RENT, The film deals with AIDS, homelessness, squatting, drug use, and death yet is a celebration of life while showcasing the troubles of the time.  For more on the film read the original review.

The film works as well on DVD if not better than in the theater.  The DVD allows you to savor and enjoy all the moments and even a couple extra moments that were cut from the film including two musical numbers (“Halloween,” and “Goodbye Love”) and an alternate ending to the film performed on stage.  After watching these scenes and the commentary by director Christopher Columbus and stars Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal I agree that although they are very good the decision to cut them was the right one.

The DVD also contains commentary for the film by Columbus, Pascal, and Rapp.  I was a little disappointed more of the cast wasn’t involved in the commentary but what we do get is quite good.  The three of them talk about specific film moments but also talk about the similarities and differences to the play, memories, and experiences. 

The most intriguing extra though is the documentary on composer/playwright Jonathan Larson and the labor of love that created the play.  The documentary is focused on Lasron and his struggles to create a modern rock opera dissimilar to the epic musicals of the time like Cats and Phantom of the Opera.  The near two hour documentary focuses on his early struggles and eventually success and untimely death and includes interviews from friends and family and many of the show’s cast.  From their the focus shifts to RENT, its Broadway success, and the process of turning the play into a film.  It’s a great piece of work and a very emotional look back at his life.

I really like this film and the DVD gives me the opportunity to shoot right past my major complaint with the film (Chapter 14 -“Over the Moon” – on the DVD, just skip on right by it, trust me) and enjoy the entire experience.  For me it’s one of the best films of the year and although it may be a niche film based off a niche play the issues and emotions it deals with are universal.

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