“It’s tough getting a fix on the Best Picture race,” writes N.Y. Post film critic Lou Lumenick. “Everyone agrees that the much-hyped musical Dreamgirls (Dreamamount, 12.15) has the pole position. It’s a huge crowd-pleaser, but already the chattering classes are starting to pick at it with the sort of griping that eventually left recent Oscar front-runners Brokeback Mountain and The Aviator gasping at the finish line.
“On the other hand, the Academy loves even flawed musicals like Chicago — unless they’re complete botches like The Phantom of the Opera, Rent and The Producers.”
Rent was a complete botch? News to me. I don’t know why exactly, but from time to time I’ve had radically different reactions to this and that musical, and this was definitely a prime example. Last year at this time I wrote the following: “Call me emotionally impressionable, call me unsophisticated, call me a sap…but I saw Rent last night in Santa Monica, and in its vibrant, open-hearted, selling-the- hell-out-of-each-and-every-song-and-dance-number way, it’s a knockout and an ass-whooper and damn near glorious at times.
“I didn’t just like it…I felt dazzled, amped, alpha-vibed. I got into each and every song, every character and conflict…I settled back and went with it. People were applauding after almost every song, and the film really does give you a ‘whoa… this is special’ feeling.”