Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I'm gonna live forever,
I'm gonna learn... how to fly

What, seriously - one of the greatest things about being famous is that you can finally get to take those... flying lessons?

Oh, well, okay then, I guess that is a more attractive potential benefit than being appreciated for something you're good at, making pots of money, and scaring people just by being in the same room with them.
For a story that has spawned so many spin-offs, it's something of a surprise that the film Fame has never had a sequel.

A book, a stage play, a remake, a long-running TV remake, a spin-off of said series (Fame L.A.), an LP, and of course no end of parodies. But whatever became of the original 1980 movie incarnations of Ralph, Montgomery, Bruno, Lisa, Leroy, Dominique and Coco out in the big bad world, we'll probably never know.

I gotta admit that, before watching this today, I had this movie pegged all wrong. I was expecting a family film. Instead I got profanity, pornography, suicide, abortion and homosexuality. It was like watching a movie made today! I guess I had been influenced too heavily by the two episodes that I think I caught of the TV series 30 years ago, where the most extreme issue had been anorexia.

However Fame is an odd jumble of ingredients, whatever you're expecting. Despite a great many highly dramatic scenes, which are played very well indeed and consequently involving, there's very little progression to these situations. The story's narrative of several years means that big events often appear to get forgotten immediately, and this conversely makes it hard to connect with the characters.

Also there's the audio. In a number of scenes this gives the film an echoey fly-on-the-wall style, making events appear believable, like in a documentary. Then there'll be one with all the actors clearly on-mic, much more like the Hollywood movie that it is. And there there are odd scenes in which characters are dancing to music, which we can hear clearer than they can, but with the other elements in the room getting that echo again. Once more, fascinating.

More than anything else though, Fame transported me back to my own days at college, taking Theatre Studies. An era when everyone had time, and the civilised world looked like a game that was actually playable.

I miss those days. Perhaps it's a good thing that we never got that sequel. It might well have proven even more mundane.

(available, if you can remember its name, here)

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