Rent

Crimes:

  • Converting many of the stage musical's songs into stumbling dialogue, then adding extra unnecessary talky scenes for an even slower, draggier film
  • Glossing up a story about AIDS-infected homeless artists into a cheesy '80s music video
  • Mostly just overdoing everything to the point of ridiculous high camp

Defenders: Director Chris Columbus, stars Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal

Tone of commentary: Mutual admiration society. From the actors' praise of the opening titles to Columbus' closing shout-out for "the most important filmmaking experience I've ever had," the participants gush over each other and every aspect of the movie, intermittently pausing to bitch about all the philistines who didn't like it—particularly "nitpicker" Roger Ebert.

What went wrong: Columbus claims early on that the only filmmaking decision he even remotely regrets is not naming Pascal's character's band "The Well-Hungarians." Rapp intermittently points out continuity errors, but Columbus and Pascal mock him for his attention to detail.

Comments on the cast: Everyone earns praise, though Rapp and Pascal get the lion's share, for everything from their helpfulness on the film to their friendliness to new cast members. Also, "Taye [Diggs] is incredibly charming." "He's bald." "He's bald, yes."

Inevitable dash of pretension: In the opening number, freezing artists Rapp and Pascal burn their own creative endeavors for warmth, then inexplicably throw their fire out of their window, in a typically pretty but overblown and nonsensical scene. Columbus defends it against criticism: "It's a big rock 'n' roll moment, and at times you just have to surrender yourself to the passion." Pascal: "Stop asking so many questions!"

Commentary in a nutshell: Columbus: "Some asshole in Variety said that the cinematography, the compositions were poor. I thought, 'What the fuck are you thinking? What movie have you seen?' The cinematography is some of the best I've ever seen. It's just all good."

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