“I’ve been equal parts dying and dreading to see this movie for about ten years now. It was then that I signed on to be a co-producer on my theater group’s production of Tommy. That production has lived on in infamy for a variety of reasons. It wasn’t just the put in (moving all our set pieces into space) that happened in the middle of one of the largest blizzards in the area in years, or the general shenanigans involved with having children in the cast, or sleeping in the theater after working late into the night to help set up the fiber optic body outline on the stage. No, most of it came from our insane director, and I mean really insane. I could go on and on about the various “”artistic”” decisions he made, for example the time he asked if he could have a live cat, if not a live rat, if not a tumbleweed. Basically, anytime he opened his mouth, our response (at least in our heads if not out loud) was said to be “”What? Why? \m/ you.”” Long story short, it resulted in one of the cast members (who we at that fateful point found out was actually his on again off again ex) taking out a restraining order against him, and a lengthy list of specific questions added to future director interviews.
The sad thing was, I didn’t even get to see our strange little show, at least not in the audience. Scared as I was, I eventually watched the DVD. I was the official kid wrangler, which meant I stayed backstage with 4 year old Tommy and 10 year old Tommy (who were actually 6 and 12, and did share the same name, which was not Tommy), keeping them quietly entertained until it was time to usher them onto the stage. Much fun was had, even if I had one of my first “”I’m old”” moments when the littler Tommy referred to my Sega Game Gear as “”the oldest video game ever””.
And now, ten years later, with a new re-release special steelbook edition BluRay in the player, I’m sitting down to watch the movie. As a general rule, watching movie versions is typically discouraged when working on a show. Since then, I’ve really wanted to see it, but was too haunted by the production to put effort into acquiring the film. I’d also heard that it was really different and more trippy than good.
So far, it is sorta different. Some of the same songs, some different ones.
Wait whoa what? The lover killed Captain Walker instead of hte other way around? Huh? THat’s different from the album too. Um, why?
Also, some of the imagery is just as trippy as what our director tried to do on stage. Not quite what I’m used to, either on film or stage, but okay.
I don’t like this version of the Hawker’s song. It’s not bad, but it’s not as rocking or sexy. It also went on too long, and I miss the harmonica.
Oh hai there Tina Turner….oh that took a turn. What’s with the robot thing? Um okay not a robot? I’m so confused. Whaaaaaaa? Ew snakes! OMG look away!!
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m taking more of a live blog reaction approach this time. Carry on.
Well at least some of the stuff that’s getting switched up means that questoinable things are happening to older Tommy and not the kid version.
Oh man, cousin Kevin is way more vicious on film than I’d imagined. That was just tough to watch. Aaaand there’s Uncle Ernie. I was wondering when he’d show if his intro was reworded for Kevin. Oh there’s his intro. This can’t be good.
Elton John, save me please! You’re my only hope. I do like his set up with the stilts and the piano on the pinball machine. Now this is taking me back to our pinball set up. It was rigged to light up when the flippers were hit, and if you hit both flippers at the same time, the machine lit up a big happy face in the lights. This is what happens when you have MIT kids building things. It’s also what happens when the director pisses off the set designer. That wasn’t the only hidden smiley on set…
Jack Nicholson whaaa? Singing? Oh that creepy Shining gaze is so appropriate though. And now the contraption in the doctor’s office is bringing up Clockwork Orange associations.
And now Mommy dearest is now smacking him in the face with her hair, after having the most spastic dance session in front of the mirror. I gotta say, I don’t like distant and uncaring Mommy. I like her better more sympathetic and exhausted than inconvenienced.
Tommy has been able to see for like ten minutes now, and I somehow lost interest along the way. Then again, I never really cared for the whole house party cult bit. I get the Messianic figure symbolism, but not the best songs. Though we did just get “”Sensation”” which is one I love.
what? I turn my attentino away for five minutes and now everyone’s wearing some sensory deprivation contraptions? I don’t know why I’m even trying anymore….oh the crowd turned on him bad. Again, another scene far worse on screen than I’d even thought to expect. And *spoiler* bye bye Mommy and step Daddy. That’s new. Although we had Tommy kill his parents, and then Uncle Ernie was forced to dispose of the bodies before slitting his own wrists. Another example of the director’s “”artistic vision””.
Well that was special. The music’s still great though. Don’t do drugs, kids!”