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Fame: The Original Movie
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Seven classes a day and a hot lunch. That's what New York City's High School for the Performing Arts guarantees. Stardom? That's something the school's teenage musicians, actors, dancers and dreamers strive for. Fame sings the body electric, celebrating the growing-up process of honing talent, confronting realities, finding love, living life. Director Alan Parker (Evita, The Commitments) brings an energetic style to the crisscrossing stories of students (including future Academy Award winner Irene Cara, Paul McCrane (ER), Barry Miller (Saturday Night Fever) and two who returned in the later TV series, Gene Anthony Ray and Lee Curreri). Nominated for six Academy Awards, Fame won Oscars for its dynamic score and title tune – and inspired a shoot-for-the-stars 2009 remake.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : Unrated (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.67 Ounces
- Item model number : 6640566
- Director : Alan Parker
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Subtitled, Special Edition
- Run time : 2 hours and 14 minutes
- Release date : January 26, 2010
- Actors : Irene Cara
- Dubbed: : Spanish
- Subtitles: : English, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Italian, Korean, Indonesian
- Language : English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0), German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Warner Home Video
- ASIN : B002SSUBK6
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #62,550 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Ever wonder what happens when large groups of talented teens congregate with their free time? Well spontaneous outburst of artistic expression silly goose!
"Fame" spawned a television series that, as a child, I saw endless promos and commercials for. While I have rules in place to keep numbers manageable for this retrospective, one being "no musicals" I had to override that with a different rule "watch what I missed." This is, after all, the point of my endeavor. I missed "Fame" both the movie and TV series and as a kid I really felt like I was missing something special but there was action figures to be played with.
What can one say about this movie? The eighties child in me has one word: corny. The vernacular of 2019 would be: cringe worthy. Call it what you will but at the end of the day I'd rather call it way worse words and to keep this series somewhat future proof from censorship I'll just say that the word I'd like to use rhymes with "sit." Okay that's a little harsh because actually this movie is fairly entertaining. The problem is that the drama and comedic moments truly make you roll your eyes. It's not insulting like some movies it's just a weak effort.
A way of describing my feelings while watching this can be summed up using the movie "The Breakfast Club." Imagine if the writers of that movie, instead of making it a teen comedy with moments of drama, took the movie way too serious. I think they would have been disappointed with the final result because it is in fact the opposite. Or what if "Dead Poets Society" tried to be a comedy and we ended up with what we had? Well, another disappointment. I think of "Fame" this same way. If it intended to be a comedy it failed, and if it intended to be a drama it failed. It simply takes itself way too seriously for the level of shallow drama it provides and same for the comedy.
I also find the characters to be annoying and shallow. They are so paper thin we get their history through exposition. When we aren't being told their most pivotal moments of life then we get melodrama the likes of which no high school has ever seen. If I stopped here this critique wouldn't be fair. It's important to mention that an effort to developed the characters is indeed there. I'd even argue it's the heart of the movie. It just never works in my opinion. No matter how much they tried to explore the characters I just couldn't relate to them. Perhaps this was due to their situation in a performing arts school in New York. Hard to relate to? Perhaps.
The contrivances of the dialogue reaches the loftiest of heights. It's usually too clever. It's a big problem in that it makes these characters never seem like struggling high schoolers. They all speak like script writers.
When the movie aspires to make a statement it goes for the lowest of fruit. Tackling the subject of religion was on the list, yawn. Is it truly that hard to reconcile the concept of prayer and pragmatism? Apparently it is for some. Perhaps the writers would have benefited from an intro to systematic theology. Instead we get cries from the village thinker. As I recall 80's television was full of these kinds of pseudo-critiques. Sophistry was big business back then.
Okay, the elephant is the room: some dude rubs his junk - in public. I couldn't help but think that he should have done this in almost every scene.
Pros (for some)
-dude rubs his junk
Cons (for most)
-dude rubs his junk
First, this is NOT Glee. The choreography for the spontaneous musical numbers in the movie are not Disney-esque like Glee. If anything the slick choreography is downplayed for more focus on characterization, which enhances the development of the main characters. The music is not an interruption of the storyline.
Second, this is not for younger kids. The dialogue is coarse, as expected in a grittily-portrayed NYC public school. A girls who does not make her audition drops a load of F-bombs on a boy who does. There is some crude sexuality and an R-rated peeping Tom scene. It does not feel like these cheapen and diminish the movie too much. Frankly, a lot of movies in the late 70's and early 80's seemed to have more gratuitous nudity than today. There was a scene where nudity was used effectively to show exploitation of a character who wanted to be a star, and it was uncomfortable to watch - I think as the director intended.
Third, the main characters' stories are woven together effectively, with some coming of age lessons for all of them. Knowing that the characters are amalgams of reality, they hit every major touchstone of culture - sexuality both gay and straight, abortion, acceptance, ambition, drug use and abuse, education, poverty, race and racism, etc.
As I said before, I expected Glee, but got a much more moving experience. I can't say that I would watch it again - it's not an action move that is light and forgettable.
I never felt hit over the head by any message or point the director was trying to make. I don't think a movie could get made like this one now - people want High School Musical and Glee.
Debbie Allen should've had a lot more air time. Kids of today will in no way identify with anyone in this movie.
Top reviews from other countries
I cannot in all honest say that I have ever 'watched' this film but I sat through it over and over in the '80s when my youngest daughter was a school girl and this was her favourite film for several months. I do however know all the music by heart through subliminal learning.
My daughter liked this film and so does my granddaughter, not my cup of tea but it must have some value to now be regarded as a classic.