If you had come to me in the past couple of years and told me that you were working on a movie called "Clear Blue Tuesday," I would have said, "Wow! A movie about feminine hygiene products? That could be really cool and edgy, even gloriously feminist with the right approach!" But then, if you had told me it was actually a movie about the September 11th attacks, I would have said, "Oh, well, I'm really not sure about that." And then, if you had added, "And it's a rock musical," I would have definitely sought a way to extricate myself from the conversation.
But that's just me! If you haven't already heard, "Clear Blue Tuesday" -- which opens Friday in Greenwich Village -- focuses on the lives of eleven people, post-9/11. As Michael Wilson at the New York Times's CityRoom blog reports, as the calendar passes through the anniversaries of the attacks, an "attractive and eccentric cast of New Yorkers fall in love and split up, lose jobs, get jobs, shack up -- and sing, roughly one song per character." It's really involved!
The songs are all over the map, stylistically and thematically, and include one called "Help Me Help You," sung by an executive firing a depressed underling, and "Spank It," a hair-metal piece about playing the drums. In another song, "Reckless," the singer's character -- a harpist and science fiction fanatic -- imagines marrying an alien in space in a scene replete with twinkling stars and floating planets.
If the project has anything going for it, it's that it's heart seems to be in the right place. The actors in the movie have all written their own songs and everyone clearly believes in the power of art to heal. One of the participants is Jan O'Dell, a 73-year-old Off-Broadway actress who received a brain injury on 9/11 after she was struck by debris from the World Trade Center. Wilson says O'Dell -- who comes across as the sort of woman you'd be lucky to know -- is the "beating and wounded heart" at the center of the film.
Maybe it's just this line from the Times write-up that bothers me:
The film, often doggedly cheerful, will not please uniformly, and only die-hard fans of musicals, very earnest people and Sept. 11 completists are likely to digest it whole.
I sort of hope there's actually no such thing as a "Sept. 11 completist."