Hollywood is nothing if not imitative. Sometimes the new iteration of the old idea brings a new stack of wheat. And besides. I haven’t seen or read “The Fault In Our Stars”. Just got the preview of the movie in the theater, and knew it was a big deal.
So, with not so much to do sitting in front of the TV on Friday night, I looked in on Red Band Society. Teenagers, cancer, romance – oh boy I’m right there – but I thought I’d give it a chance since it was easier than being productive.
And WHAM! “Needles In The Camel’s Eye” plays. The camera zooms in. The coma kid narrates. The thing is, this song … stops … and then starts … and then stops … and then starts. And it was from an old album I really liked and almost loved (Lyrics like Needles In The Camels Eye not withstanding).
But what a flash from the past! What a blast from the bottom of the vinyl bin! And the narration works into the breaks in the song. Any modern kid cancer love story with a look back to 1974 Brian Eno is produced in such a way that I want to give it a longer chance. I stayed!
The opening sequence, tells a few hints such as the bitch cheerleader passes out, then back to Needles in the Camel’s eye, then the kid in the ER looking for his doctor, then Needles in the Camel’s eye, then the “scary bitch” nurse, then more Needles In the Camels Eye, then the narrator, then more Needles, then the two kids smokin’ pot in the janitor’s closet, on of them bald the other seems healthy. The narrator gives a one line character sketch of each one. Mixed is is “live” diagloge. The kid who looked healthy says there’s so much marijuana in this place they call it Electric Avenue as he takes the refer from the bald kid while the music in the back ground is the Who’s “Talkin’ About My Generation” and with all the pop culture references and (yes) I like voice over as well as the effort to nod to my own generation, I’m going to give this one a chance.
I watched the whole thing. First blush of the characters were a bit cliche’.
I really liked the camera above view of the cheerleader queen bitch being thrown up into the air as well as the top down view of ALL of the other cheerleaders filming her with their phones as she’s passed out on the mats. The geeky female cheerleader, the only one who calls 911. Pretty happy to hear she gets to give CPR.
Maybe the characters were obvious. The kid making the reference to Electric Avenue. The tough, but really nice nurse being the bitch just as her coffee cup was labelled by her barista. The almost visible halo over the good doctor. The spunky yet classically handsome kid who has to talk the good doctor into doing his amputation.
But they opened with ENO and went right into the Who. For a modern Fox rip off of a popular teenaged love tragedy, I think Red Band Society has enough to keep an old fart generation interested, enough good looking young actors and heart tugging storylines to pull in the desired younger demographic, and a fast paced, professional production style with a lot of “Sports Night” style one shots to hold your attention, that this one has a shot.
And Dead Poets Society – oops - Ooops I mean The Fault In Our Stars – rip offs are worth ripping off.
I saw the name Spielberg in the liner notes somewhere.
There’s got to be something here. Besides, they went with the most uncomfortable song from Here Come The Warm Jets as music to open the show with!
If they close the show with On Some Far Away Beach, I won’t think its Band of Brothers, but I think, that I’ll think, this was a pretty good show.