Addendum to the HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON

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For my Happy New Year Blogathon, I neglected to mention a participant who posted her entry well before the deadline. My apologies to the blog Moody Moppet — click here to read her take on 1995’s Four Rooms!

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THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

Apparently, a few of our blogathon participants are nursing New Year’s Eve hangovers, as we have only one final entry to cover in

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Moon in Gemini describes how New Year’s Eve reverses the sad fortunes of Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eddie Murphy, and Denholm Elliott in the comedy Trading Places.

Click on the appropriate days to see our blogathon entries from Day 1 and Day 2. Thanks to our participants and our loyal readers, and Happy New Year to everyone!

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

Our New Year’s Eve bloggers continue to shake things up, as you’ll see in

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Click here to read Day 1‘s entries, and click on the name of each individual blog below to read their Day 2 entries. (Also, I neglected to include Thoughts All Sorts‘ entry in the Day 1 Recap. My sincere apologies.)

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Some friendly strangers prevent suicidal Pierce Brosnan from going A Long Way Down on New Year’s Eve, as reported by Thoughts All Sorts.

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Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews harks all the way back to the silent-film era for a New Year’s Eve ride in The Phantom Carriage.

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Noirish explains how, on New Year’s Eve, Joan Leslie gets a Repeat Performance of the past year to see if she can get it right this time.

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The Midnite Drive-In takes a look at some shallow slackers celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City, in 200 Cigarettes.

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And Movierob provides a double feature of apocalyptic New Year’s Eve movies: the comedy Ghostbusters IIand the Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller End of Days.

Join us tomorrow for the final chapter of our celebration of New Year’s Eve-themed movies!

 

 

 

RENT (2005) – A pleasant surprise, in spite (or because?) of its outre themes

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The following is my entry in the Happy New Year Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from Dec. 29-31, 2017. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ tributes to a variety of movies with a secondary or central theme of New Year’s Eve!

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In his review of Rent, Roger Ebert claimed that the famed Broadway musical does not work as a movie because it needs, and is lacking, a live audience. Having come to the movie of Rent with no emotional stake (haven’t seen the B’way show, barely wanted to see the movie), I found it one of the most satisfying movies of 2005.

Yes, it is unquestionably melodramatic. I am told that Rent is the opera “La Boheme” (another cultural touchstone to which I claim ignorance) updated for the AIDS generation, and there are definite moments where the movie is doing little but pulling your strings. By the same token, one could claim that Goeth, the Nazi commandant in the fact-based Schindler’s List, is played by Ralph Fiennes as too conventionally evil. Doesn’t matter, though – his character gives you a chill. And Rent‘s characters are so heartfelt, and the movie so on-target (did Harry Potter‘s Chris Columbus really direct this?), that even the sappier moments are effective.

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The setting is New York City in 1989, when America finally started to come to terms with AIDS. The characters are close-knit friends holing up in a tenement run by their former friend Benny (Taye Diggs), who now wants to kiss up to his wealthy father-in-law by evicting his former pals. They include Mark (Anthony Rapp), an aspiring film-maker; Roger (Adam Pascal), a musician who has grown distant since becoming HIV-positive; Tom (Jesse L. Martin), who falls in love with the drag queen (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) who aids him after he is mugged; and a stripper/heroin addict named Mimi (Rosario Dawson, in the first movie where the filmmakers seemed to know how to use her fiery talent).

If anything, the movie’s primary point is to show these people existing on their own terms, and the movie shows this admirably. When, in this movie, we see same-sex people sharing a kiss or a hug, it’s presented matter-of-factly; and because the characters actually have some dimension to them, it feels earned.

Chris Columbus, after laboring for many years in Home Alone-type movies, finally seems to know where to put his camera. Musicals, in particular, have trouble striking a balance between looking static and frantic; here, the camerawork really soars, moving gracefully and closing in just enough to let the actors finish the soaring. And unlike most modern-day Broadway musicals, Jonathan Larsen’s score is one that you can hum and that hums on its own, nicely elucidating its characters and doing so with genuinely catchy songs.

Besides the actors listed above, who are all splendid, there’s a fresh-faced powerhouse named Idina Menzel, who plays Maureen, a self-styled, unapologetic lesbian. When caught in a flirt by her Significant Other (Tracie Toms), who tries to chastize her, the two of them spar in a great number, “Take Me As I Am.” And a viewer just knows that, however flighty Maureen is, her lover will just have to come back to her, because she’s darned well worth it.

That’s the treasure of this movie – genuine, heartfelt characterization. Rent is, on all levels, emotionally devastating.

 

 

The HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON is here!

Happy Early New Year! The ball hasn’t dropped yet, but plenty of opinions will, as we present

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Keep us bookmarked over the next three days, as bloggers post their opinions on New Year’s Eve-themed movies. If you are one of said bloggers, please go to the “Comments” section below, and post the URL of your blogathon entry; I’ll link to it as soon as possible. Faithful blog readers, keep checking back, and click on the names of the highlighted blog entries to read their reviews.

And everyone, have fun with this! Here is the list of blogathon entries:

Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews – The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Once Upon a Screen – The Thin Man (1934) and After the Thin Man (1936)

Noirish – Repeat Performance (1947)

Silver Screen Classics – Sunset Boulevard (1950)

SeanMunger.com – The Apartment (1960)

Cinematic Scribblings – Il Posto (1961)

Moon in Gemini – Trading Places (1983)

Movierob – Ghostbusters II (1989) and End of Days (1999)

Open Letters to Film – Mermaids (1990)

Moody Moppet – Four Rooms (1995)

The Midnite Drive-in – 200 Cigarettes (1999)

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Rent (2005)

Thoughts All Sorts – A Long Way Down (2014)

 

Two weeks until THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON!

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Got a favorite movie with a New Year’s Eve theme or subplot? Celebrate it with our upcoming blogathon — because old acquaintances should not be forgot! Click here for more details.

Announcing THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON!

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Are you about ready for 2017 to call it quits? So are we! We’re starting the celebration early by announcing…

THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON!

For this blogathon, we’re looking for blogs about any movie that has any kind of theme related to the last day of the year. New Year’s Eve can be the central focus of the movie, or it can be a minor subplot. As long as the movie was theatrically released, it can be in any form or genre — short subject, feature film, cartoon, comedy, disaster movie, etc. Our only request is for no duplicate entries, since there is such a wide array of New Year’s Eve-based movies to choose from.

(If you need some inspiration in finding such a movie to blog about, click here to see Wikipedia’s comprehensive listing of movies that are set around New Year’s Eve.)

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Friday, Dec. 29, through (guess when??) Sun., Dec. 31, 2017. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on Dec. 31, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!)

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry! Here’s the line-up so far, in chronological order:

Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews – The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Once Upon a Screen – The Thin Man (1934) and After the Thin Man (1936)

Noirish – Repeat Performance (1947)

Silver Screen Classics – Sunset Boulevard (1950)

SeanMunger.com – The Apartment (1960)

Cinematic Scribblings – Il Posto (1961)

Moon in Gemini – Trading Places (1983)

Movierob – Ghostbusters II (1989) and End of Days (1999)

Open Letters to Film – Mermaids (1990)

Moody Moppet – Four Rooms (1995)

The Midnite Drive-in – 200 Cigarettes (1999)

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Rent (2005)

Thoughts All Sorts – A Long Way Down (2014)

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