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Hedwig And The Angry Inch

Brilliance Ignored By The Elite


     Russell Crowe is not in this film.  P-Diddy is not on the soundtrack.  Ridley Scott is not listed as Director.  Therefore, it's really no surprise that the name "Hedwig" wasn't mentioned at the 74th Annual Popularity Race, a foul ceremony produced by the ignorant swine of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  However, this only reaffirms the fact that Oscar is merely a symbol of Decadence and Corruption, a worthless prize from complacent elitists.
     Hedwig And The Angry Inch is nevertheless one of the finest movies of 2001.  Written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the film chronicles a search for Wholeness, a voyage familiar to anyone who has longed to fill the void in their heart.  Apparently, the recycled theme directed into Black Hawk Down related more to the Human Experience, according to the Academy.
     Hedwig, played by Mitchell, tells of her quest to find her soul-mate, or her other half as implied from Aristophanes' discourse in Plato's Symposium.  Mitchell is both heart-breaking and hilarious, often at the same time, narrating the tale with an unyielding passion.  This all unfolds in the setting of a concert, with Hedwig's band, The Angry Inch, pounding out ballads of humor, tragedy, and genuine insight mixed together.  Hence, the actors also provide the music, employing a remarkable score written and composed by Stephen Trask.  The Angry Inch is a rather motley bunch, with Schlatko (Michael Aronov) on drums, Krzyzhtof (Rob Campbell) on guitar, Jacek (Ted Liscinski) on bass, and Skszp (Stephen Trask), Hedwig's musical director, on keyboards.  Yitzhak (Miriam Shor) backs Hedwig's vocals, as well as suffering explosive frustration as the diva's husband.
     Despite the touching story of John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Mr. Crowe's portrayal was nowhere as brilliant as the acting found in Hedwig And The Angry Inch.  As it is, none of the nominees for Best Picture even hint of such a dynamic flair.  Oddly enough, the only sense to be made from Hedwig's complete exclusion is the fact that it doesn't qualify for any of the musical awards, as the Score wasn't constructed specifically for the movie.  This epic originated as a play, which introduced Hedwig to the world in 1998.
     Mitchell's production quickly gained rampant acclaim, and as it started to develop for the cinema, adaptations of the live version spread like wildfire.  The phenomenon finally found its way to Cleveland, Ohio, where the Cleveland Public Theatre (www.cptonline.org) hosted the marvel from December 7, 2001 through January 12, 2002.
     As if the show's reputation wasn't enough, local musicians snagged the roles of the band, attracting their fans as well.  This time around, Mark Gamiere handled bass, Michael Seevers hopped on keyboards, Steve Mehlman took drums, and Melanie Fioritto (better known as Miss Melvis to the crowds) jammed on guitar.  Dennis Yurich added another guitar, and also filled in as musical director, while Alison Hernan claimed the place of Yitzhak.  Not only did Hernan deliver an astounding performance as the estranged vocalist, she also designed the costumes for the ensemble.  Completing this spectacular opus was Dan Folino, who gave an outstanding rendition of Hedwig.
     Those fortunate enough to witness this event were treated with nothing short of an extraordinary affair, as the Cleveland cast embodied a vigorous cohesion, and their zest radiated out through every person seated before them.  Their final performance, the conclusion of a two-week extension due to popularity, was especially thrilling.  Folino hypnotized the crowded hall with Hedwig's account, while The Angry Inch fired round after round of relentless fervor.
     Living up to the legacy of Hedwig, this show felt more like an actual concert, rather than an ordinary play.  The music was loud and raw, and sometimes even appeared to be spontaneous.  Folino smoked cigarettes as he talked, not to mention spitting beer on a lucky group of the audience nestled directly in front of the rostrum.  Like a true Rock band, The Angry Inch thrashed through the crowd's perceptions and into their hearts, and when it was all over, they wrecked the stage.  Steve Mehlman highlighted this rampage, kicking his drum set over, and busting his Plexiglas® barrier.
     Hedwig's evolution to film was quite successful, and it's a shame that the establishment founded for such purposes as "advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures" and "recognizing outstanding achievements" failed to include this masterpiece on their roster.  However, Oscar does not represent the opinions of movie fans, only that of the Elite, who focus more on the Inner Circle instead of authentic creativity and talent.
     And so this trend of Ignorance proceeds as the Academy overlooks yet another incredible movie.  In doing so, however, the value of their praise has sunk even further, and the significance of an Oscar is rapidly deteriorating.  On the other hand, the quality of movies most certainly is not, and John Cameron Mitchell doesn't need some silly statue to prove this.
STARS: 4.5 / 5


See the Academy's response HERE

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