Bohemian Travesty

Something's wrong with 'Rent'--and it's not just the awful songs

C'mon guys, chill! The cool kids of Chris Columbus's 'Rent'
Columbia Pictures
C'mon guys, chill! The cool kids of Chris Columbus's 'Rent'

Great fiction might often be a lie that sounds like the truth. (So, too, for great songs, great religion, or a great movie.) But artful liars can sidestep that with an elegant phrase, a startling camera angle, an unexpected harmony, a melody whose merits go beyond being memorable (jingles and nightmares are memorable, too). If only Rent were a better piece of work--if it were phony but fabulous--it might lead to one of those great aesthetics-versus-morality dilemmas. A movie that rewrites history though great songs--that could be a truly guilty pleasure. A lie that sounds like shit, though, is another neighborhood.

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