Director: Chris Columbus
Year Released: 2005
Obnoxious celebration of "Bohemian Living" in NYC and elitist pride in Outsider Status, not unlike some of the films and musicals of the 1960's and 1970's that separated the world into the "squares"/ suits / authority types - who naturally "didn't get it, man" - and the progressive types, who are Open-Minded to a fault and believe singing and dancing and a little bit of love can bring about Utopia. The music and lyrics - some kind of glitzy revamp of something like Streets of Fire and early 80's pop rock ("We built this city!") - by the late Jonathan Larson earned him a Pulitzer, and while the numbers can be catchy and witty, there's a glossy sheen over it all that's a smidge troubling: they're dancing on the tables, but they're broke, depressed, lazy and physically eroding. An inordinate number of the characters have AIDS - unlike Tony Kushner's view of the disease, this turns an agonizing death into a plastic, impersonal medley, almost undermining the inherent seriousness of the disease (I realize Angels in America is a different work altogether, but its confrontation with the beyond is so much more tangible and heartbreaking ... it's also funnier and more creative) so that the scathing dig Trey Parker and Matt Stone took at this in Team America: World Police ("Everyone Has AIDS") felt justified. It doesn't help things that a filmmaker as uninspired as Chris Columbus helmed this project - imagine if someone like Derek Jarman lived long enough to direct (you know Ms. Tilda would have had a role).