Thursday, July 10, 2014

Do you thirst for fame? I do

Leonardo DiCaprio once said, “Fame is like a VIP pass wherever you want to go.”

I think that is one good explanation why a lot of people want to be famous.  Next to fame are perks and privileges and a shot to great fortune and power.  In today’s world that just about anyone who knows how to use the internet can get some attention after a few clicks and uploads, fame can be a gift to anyone at any given moment.

We have heard of the stories of Charice, Arnel Pineda, and the even thr Cebu Dancing Inmates.  Who would have think that simple videos posted online via Youtube will changed their lives and gave hope to millions of ordinary people who dream of someday, they too will have their taste of stardom.

Well, I do thirst for fame? But the "Fame" I can enjoy for now is a 1980's movie that can still inspire generations who'll watch it. I was inspired to watch it again after I had nice blast-from-the-past chat with fellow blogger Hana Abello about how great classic movies are--- the ones that sell stories and a great cast instead of movies these days that reach the stratospheric box-office earnings because of jaw-dropping special effects.     

More than 30 years ago, an American musical film that follows a group of students through their studies at the New York High School of Performing Arts was released.  Fame stars Irene Cara who played the role of the young and talented Coco Hernandez, one of the outstandingly gifted students who gave everything to polish their skills and talent as they struggle to excel academically in the demanding school. 

In this movie, the lead actors went through trials and adversaries as they make their way to their common goal of making it big someday.  This film also somewhat serves as a friendly warning to those who want to enter showbiz that there is no fame without pain. 

One of the more memorable scene in this film is the musical performance of the theme song of the movie, also titled “Fame”, through a grand production number of the students dancing in the middle of busy street of New York City creating a huge traffic jam as a result.  The scene showcased the true meaning of being young and free.  There is something about the song that makes you want to dance.  That’s why it’s not surprising to be a favorite in videoke sessions.  The tune won an Oscar Award for Best Original Song.  The film also bagged the Academy Award for Original Music Score.

For the sentimental fools like me is the acoustic version of Montgomery (Paul McCrane) for the song “Is It Okay If I call You Mine” which echoed though quite empty hallways on one lonesome night at New York.  It will remind you of those times that you want to tell someone special of what you really feel but he/ she is not around to hear you.   

But my personal favorite is the part when Coco played the piano and sang the melodramatic “Out Here On My Own” which created a me-against-the-world feeling for every person shown in that scene while she’s singing.  I’m sure most of you would agree that there are moments in our life that we felt we are alone all by ourselves.

What I also love about the film is that the viewers were not presented with a candy coated conclusion on the journey of the main characters just to have that feel good ending.  Instead, writer Christopher Gore (who also wrote for the Fame TV series in 1987 before his untimely death a year later) gave a rude awakening to the dreamers.  

Coco fell prey to a man pretending to be a film director who forces her to undress in front of the camera.  Some of her friends were also as unlucky.  Ralph got swell-headed with the instant success he got and eventually failed in the end.  Hillary accepted a spot with the San Francisco Ballet and needed to have an abortion.  The good news came to Leroy who got his dream of being accepted in a top dance company after he graduates.

The last scene of the movie was a group performance for the finale “I Sing the Body Electric” during the graduation rites.  I was hoping for another take on the main theme song but it was still a good way to end this roller-coaster teen flick.  The students gave there all as if it was their last performance as artists.  It was an ending with a bang.

Fame was not a big box-office success but it was critically-acclaimed and even spawned a TV series and a spin-off, a stage musical and a film remake last year. The remake featured young Filipina actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, granddaughter of local TV music icon Sylvia La Torre. It also deals about a group of a talented group of performing artists who were faced with the many obstacles in their search for their goal: Fame.

30 years have passed and we have witnessed how the world changed drastically.   But there are still things that have remained like man’s thirst for fame as he trek this journey called life.

Did I mention that Leonardo DiCaprio once said that fame is like a VIP pass wherever you want to go?

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