Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Requisite "Les Mis" Post

When I last wrote here, 2012 was almost over. Now, it's three weeks into the new year, or nine weeks to the end of second year of med school. Within the first ten minutes of 2013, our neighbor attempted to match nearby pyrotechnic displays by playing the notorious "Gangnam Style" four times in full volume. Meanwhile, my nuclear family celebrated by tending to patients at the hospital, going on night duty at the pharmacy, and sleeping at eleven. I find this sort of domestication an occasional source of pride.

Sometimes, it seems quite hard to believe this most academically challenging stage of med school will soon be finished. We'll be starting neurology tomorrow for three weeks, then a week each of psychiatry, ophthalmology, and ORL, two weeks on orthopedics and rheumatology, and finally, one week of dermatology. At the end of it all, we'll attempt to look back and realize it's an outrageous amount of knowledge to wrap one's head around. Trust me, when a med student has his moments of contemplation, he is not spared that thought. But, we make do with what we're given - and in that sense, we are more than blessed.

Now on to the main agenda. I have to confess - and I know I'll be making this "confession" again when it all ends - this is probably my most favorite Oscars season since I started following the Oscars. The pundits call it a freak year; I call it excitement. Only Daniel Day-Lewis is a lock to win in the major categories (it's basically give him the trophy or sacrifice your organization's credibility). Okay, fine, to some extent, Anne Hathaway is, too. Wait, what, Anne who?

Now on to the main agenda (this is not a typo). Friday night, after almost a year of waiting, we finally saw "Les Miserables." And wow, is this film quite the local phenomenon. Suddenly, the least theatrical people are humming "I Dreamed a Dream" or "On My Own" while having lunch. Thirty minutes before our 6:50PM screening, the ticket counter area was packed with people - and surprise, the screening was almost sold out. But here's the greatest part of the story: The moment the screen turned black at the end, the audience applauded. I've never experienced anything like that before in a normal mall cinema screening.

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1. Tom Hooper really likes his eccentric camera angles. Sometimes, the close-ups can get annoying ("What Have I Done?"). Sometimes, the cinematography is questionable. The long shots, such as those of the bishop's mountainous aerie, are gorgeous. 

2. Favorite sequences: At the End of the Day-Lovely Ladies-I Dreamed a Dream-Fantine's Arrest, Master of the House-Thenardier's Waltz, In My Life-A Heart Full of Love-Attack on Rue Plumet-On My Own.

3. Favorite extras: Plump "At the End of the Day" female worker and Santa in "Master of the House".
4. Russell Crowe has the ominous authority and unbreakable presence required of an actor to play Javert. And then he starts singing.

5. I don't know which is worse: "Stars"/ Javert's entire track as sung by Crowe, or "Bring Him Home." Dear Hugh Jackman, one does not simply belt out "Bring Him Home" - or do you really pray at the top of your voice?

6. The world is unfair. Eddie Redmayne (Marius) and Samantha Barks (Eponine) deserve just as much awards attention as Anne Hathaway (Fantine). Their characters' solos are clearly the three highlights of the film. Eponine has never been this pathetic, and Fantine, stuck in earth-hell.

7. Look everybody, it's Gabriel Goodman! 

8. Ensemble? Oh, you mean the West End.   

9. It's confirmed: I'm heartless. Most others shed some tears at one point or another.

10. "Les Miserables" is far from flawless. But it's way more love than hate, that's for sure.

From College Humor.

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