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Fame (2009)

by on 2010/04/18

“When you need to put yourself to the test and show a passage of time. We’re going to need a montage.  It takes a montage.”

Thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The Montage song from Team America (2004) describes the movie Fame better than I ever could.

I was and currently am a huge fan of the 1980s TV show Fame. I spent the early 80s in mesh knee boots and lightning bolt earrings watching the TV series. This was due in large part to my debilitating crush on broody composer and pianist Bruno Martelli (Lee Curreri).

The TV show had involved and involving characters and plots. From Julie’s home-sickness, to Leroy’s poverty, missing mother and drunken brother, to Doris’ soft-hearted, wrong-headed humanitarian projects, to Coco’s hysterical outbursts, you cared about these kids.

Fame (2009) is absolutely untroubled by plot or characters. It is one long, moodily-lit montage. With beautifully-filmed disjointedness, Fame powers the viewer through all three years of high school at a dizzying clip. The result was a feeling of confusion, crankiness and boredom.

Bad things happen to the children in a string of micro-momentary subplots braided together more tightly than Leroy’s cornrows in the TV show. Hacker Renders commented at one point that he believed the school for the New York School for the Performing Arts to be a right-wing front to crush the spirits of creative youth in America. Dream-crushing did seem a part of the curriculum.

Pardon a moment of shameful confession for one as scary and gothic as I: I really love those singing or dancing, or singing and dancing movies where there’s a formulaic build up to the BIG NUMBER and the underdog nails it.

In this movie, I didn’t care even a little about the big number because I didn’t care about any of the characters. Not one bit.

If you like pretty shots of people dancing and singing, and find story-telling confusing, this is your movie. Speaking as a fan of the original, there’s nothing much here for the fans and the 18-second cameo by Debbie Allen simply isn’t worth the price of admission.

If anyone is looking for a slightly-used copy, drop me a line. But I don’t recommend it.

* *

Rated PG for thematic material including teen drinking, a sexual situation and language.

107 minutes

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