Fame, What You Need You Have to Borrow

fame_1980Fame (1980)

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Fame 2009

Fame (2009)

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Neither Fame movie is great.  I watched Fame 1980 and found it edgy but lacking.    The film starts out in a wild, almost cinema-verite style with young, hopeful students auditioning for the opportunity to attend an exclusive New York performing arts high school.  We’re introduced to a plethora of characters and an exciting editing rhythm.  But eventually its major drama takes place outside of the school and it’s a challenge to keep your interest in the many dragging story lines.  The stitches sort of ravel and the end feels incomplete.  Interestingly, Fame 2009 suffers from much the same structural problems without the Ed Koch era urban grit.  Shinier faces make for an even duller movie, although I find the sequel to have better music and choreography.  I’m not sure what about Fame 1980 made it such a watermark.  I’m sure the new one will fall with the weight of a grand drape.

To better explain both films I put together an illustrative comparison:

inexplicably bad, yet passing, auditions
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
mousey Jewish girl blossoming into kind of a whore
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
minority seeking artistic medium for back story rage
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
gay characters in art school who don’t get any
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
1 * 1
*  Welcome Back Kotter had more gays
Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
Debbie Allen as Angela Simms
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
Richard Belzer cameo
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
popular television actors reviving stalled careers
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
1 4
Irene Cara’s golf ball sized breasts
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
2 0
spontaneous lunchroom jam session
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
spontaneous dancing on top of taxicabs
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
extraneous characters and plotlines
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
baker’s dozen 1/2 dozen
overbearing white parents supporting child’s dream
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
2 0
overbearing black parents not supporting child’s dream
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
0 2
leg warmers and Danskin unitards
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
Capezios and Under Armour dance bras
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
the F word
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
Rated R Rated PG-13
pot smoking
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
x
chaptered structure gradually losing dramatic impact
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
big musical finish
Fame 1980 Fame 2009
“Climb Every Mountain” “We’re All In This Together”
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Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 4:43 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I have to say, your blog promises “all my other neurotic obsessions” and, knowing you as I do, I believe there to be a WIDE discrepancy between the volume of said obsessions in real life and the manifestations or acknowledgement of same in this blog. Can we get some corrective posting? Where is the minutae?


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