Monday, December 31, 2012

Teenage Anthem

Back in high school, I discovered LES MISERABLES on Broadway. And for an extended spell, I was apeshit over it. Heterosexual teenage male, admittedly perhaps a little too sensitive for his own good. At 17, I loved Guns N' Roses and Les Misérables. This is a confession, not bragging.

I saw it a few times on Broadway back in the day. Featuring Lea Salonga or Debbie Gibson or whoever the latest stunt-casting of Eponine happened to be. Listened to the official cast album of the show an unconscionable amount of times.

And yes. Through a natural course of time, I grew apart from this.

Which made me all the more curious to revisit it with the long-awaited film adaptation of the musical.

Went to see it at the Zeigfeld, just to make it seem a little more special. I hadn't seen a production of this musical in a small lifetime. In fact, in the time since I was last passionate about this musical, I'd gone through college, been married and divorced, and had weathered many more horrors than I could have ever imagined for myself. And what I found -- revisiting this Old Friend through this movie adaptation -- was how surprisingly tween-friendly LES MISERABLES: THE MUSICAL has always been.

Seeing it again -- after I've gone through college for dramatic writing and spent years on the fringes of Hollywood-breakthrough -- it's startling that such a tween-friendly piece could be made from such dense source material.

One of my obsessions, as a writer, is the idea of the TEENAGE ANTHEM. In movie-form, it might be THE BREAKFAST CLUB. In song-form, it might be "We Are The Champions" or "On My Own". In the best case scenario -- the situation I am always fighting for -- it is this point wherein something that might be deemed cheesy transcends into the sublime. Through timing or juxtaposition or whatever the case may be, something switches from corny to FUCKING PROFOUND.

Yes, this is a tricky feat. And seeing LES MIZ again after all these years, in movie form, I don't know if it entirely succeeds in converting the non-converted. But I can better appreciate how it has always been a masterful work of teenage anthem.