Late last night we caught a showing of the classic movie Fame on some cable station. I’m a sucker for this movie because it all feels too real. I can’t recall exactly when I first saw this movie, but it couldn’t have been too much longer after it had come out – maybe I saw it at some second or third run movie house. It came out in 1980, the year I turned 13. I was only beginning to dabble in performing arts, but because the soundtrack to this film became so popular and so well known, by the time I was on stage and eventually studying theatre I couldn’t help but feel invigorated and inspired by the songs, themes and storylines. Virtually all of the 1980s were my high school and college years, so any coming of age movie from that decade has a place in my heart, I guess.
The kids in this movie hardly look like kids, of course, and in the beginning section of the movie when they’re auditioning for the performing arts high school I was taken back to my auditioning for college acting programs (something I look back at and wonder how I managed to do it the way I did – it was awful, I think.) But these kids are so naive and wide eyed and hungry, you can’t help but root for them.
Their first day of their freshman year they’re told things like “acting is the hardest profession in the world”.
My first day of freshman year at college, at the beginning of our first acting class, my teacher said, “you’re going in to a profession that doesn’t need you, doesn’t want and from which you’ll never make a living. You’ll likely do more acting in the next four years than you’ll do professionally the rest of your life. So if you’re not sure you want to do this, you should leave now.” Of course, no one moved. (There were a little over a dozen students in that class; two of us graduated.)
Montgomery says to Ralph: “All anyone ever promised you was seven classes a day and a hot lunch. The rest is up to you.”
Right there, that’s truth. I was thinking what happened to these kids (in the movie)? Where did they end up? Might be an interesting sequel to find out, but besides the fact that most sequels are disappointing, the destruction of dreams might be too depressing a topic.