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Hollywood’s loyal opposition | by maryann johanson

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Oh those wild wacky passionate kids of New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts! They’re enough to make you remember that there were actually good aspects to being a teenager, like the scary, wonderful process of finding out who you are and what you can be. Following a gang of wannabe actors and dancers and musicians and comedians through four fictional years of this real NYC institution — where the students take full courses of study in their performing-arts major in addition to the more typical academic classes — this is an infectious and moving and sometimes bittersweet film of discovering dreams and working hard and finding that friends sometimes grow apart in the process. Nominated for multiple Oscars and quite deservedly winning two for its triumphant music, this is a musical in which it actually makes sense that people should burst into song — sure, performing-arts students might naturally break into a tune without provocation, but their verve is the kind that just can’t be contained. The digital transfer is lovely, and the newly remastered audio couldn’t sound better — you’ll want to get up and dance. Extras include audio and video commentaries with director Alan Parker and cast members, a making-of documentary, and a visit to the school that inspired the film.

MPAA: rated R

viewed at home on a small screen

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