Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

This is it. The ultimate Beatles movie. A Hard Day's Night. Probably anything I say here will have already been said. A day in the life of The Beatles, in a very comedic way. Like a mockumentary, almost. Pre-Spinal Tap. Starring John, Paul, George, and Ringo, the movie has us behind-the-scenes with the band before they do a show. Clearly at the height of Beatlemania, the movie helped keep the band in the limelight, in a way for all fans to see them if they never got to be at a concert, just like Help! But it really does have a concert at the end of this film.

What really stands out in this film is how funny the guys are. I realize they were given lines, but it's all about delivery, and John is spot on every time. In the scene where they are meeting with reporters, John is asked how he finds America. "Turn left at Greenland." Brilliant.

One wonders about how Ringo is treated in this movie, almost as if they're recreating how the media almost portrayed Ringo as the guy behind the drums. In this film and in Help! Ringo seems to be the brunt of most jokes. But in a way you can tell that the band is in on the joke.

Not quite sure how they came up with the idea for needing a character to portray Paul's grandfather... no, the other one. And yes, even in black and white he seems clean.

Overall, the film is incredible both cinematically and from the standpoint that it gives us more insight to the Fab Four. Even though it was done in 1964, I still want to follow them into the helicopter and continue on their journey, just to find out a little more about them. And because they seem so fun to be around... John included, although he doesn't look a thing like him...

While the SO has been dying this week from oversaturation of everything The Beatles, I have to commend her for standing tall during this time of me acting like a screaming Beatles fan. But I have to say thank you to my SO for not biting my head off this week, and I promise when I play The Beatles: Rock Band, I'll put headphones on.

Alright, next week, will be something non-Beatles. I know. Hard to believe. But I'll do my best to try something without John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Later!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I thought it was funny when someone suggested I was going to write this post about Across the Universe. Like I would own that dribble. When I talk about a cheesy movie, I'm talking about something that resembles muenster cheese being shoved up your nose. Yeah, that cheesy. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band "starred" Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees. Now I say starred with quotations because it's hard to star in a movie that just dies from the instant it hits the screen.

Story: There's a real Sgt. Pepper and he has a Lonely Hearts Club Band. He's a WWI hero and their music keeps the town Heartland alive and prospering. Yeah, great start. Well, Sgt. Pepper dies in 1958, but he leaves to Billy Shears (Frampton) his musical legacy. With the help of the Hendersons (the Bee Gees), they become the second incarnation of the band. They get noticed by music execs in the City of Angels, and get lost in the mix of big city life. In Heartland, FVB tells Mean Mr. Mustard to steal Pepper's instruments and Heartland falls apart with crime, prostitution, and gambling.

Strawberry Fields, Shears' girlfriend from Heartland, leaves for the big city to get Shears and the Hendersons to come back home to save the town, but she finds Shears falling for Lucy (the girl with kaleidoscope eyes). Shears falls for Fields again, and the band find Mr. Mustard's van outside the studio, and are able to get back one of the instruments. Using the van, they get back the instruments from Mr. Maxwell and Father Sun. But before they can get the last instrument, the computer in the van breaks down. So the band decides to put on a benefit concert to save Heartland. The only problem is Mr. Mustard kidnaps Fields and steals the instruments again to give to FVB. The band follow Mustard to FVB, which we find out means Future Villain Band. The band gets the instruments back but not without the price of losing Fields. A funeral takes place but Shears feels he can't on and jumps from a tall building when Sgt. Pepper (Billy Preston) saves the day to stop Shears, turn Mustard and the villains of the movie into catholic priests and nuns, and bring back Fields with the energy/lightning from Pepper's fingers. In the end, a huge group of musicians, comedians, etc. sing us out to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)".

Yeah, it's that ugly of a story. The things that save it are the songs sung by the Bee Gees. The dated 1970s wardrobes, sets, and futuristic computers are awful and really make no sense. Okay, the whole movie doesn't make sense! Why is this even needed? Even the Bee Gees wanted to step away from this. I think this movie may have single-handedly killed disco. Why? Because disco tried to touch The Beatles' music, and it failed. Miserably.

I haven't seen Across the Universe, but I'm going to guess it's in the same vein as this. For some reason, it's like John Lennon said in "A Day in the Life": I just had to look. I can't turn away from it. Probably because I'm trying to figure out why they did this. So many famous actors, musicians, comedians: what did they have to gain from this?

And Billy Preston, the only "Beatle" in the film: why would you do it? Love your take on "Get Back" but you had to know this was a bomb. Were you desperate for money?

So yes, I own on DVD probably one of the worst movies of all-time, and yet I can't help but love it. It's so bad, it's something to watch. That's all I can say. See it once, and you're hooked.

Alright, next post is about the movie that started it all for The Beatles. Pretty simple clue, pretty cool movie. Later!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So this is the week it all goes down, 09.09.09. That's right, The Beatles entire recordings re-released in what is being dubbed, "what it sounded like in the studio." To top that, the gaming series, Rock Band, is coming out with a game solely dedicated to the Fab Four. And to top that, Apple (the music corporation, not the a-hole computer corporation) is set to make a major announcement that day. Well, here at DVDs with Spoodawg (I'm really thinking of a name change, something that flows better... any suggestions?) we're going to celebrate this occasion with reviews of movies with The Beatles and one movie with their music. To start this off, I'm going with a hilarious romp in the lives of the boys from Liverpool... Help!

Simply put, Ringo's got this ring on his finger, an Eastern religious group wants to sacrifice him because he's wearing the ring, and so he and John, Paul, and George are trying to get the ring off of him before he's painted red and sliced open. Yeah, sounds psychotic, and yet, I love it (and there are tunes, too!). Really, when looking at it, it's really a movie for those who couldn't see the boys up close and personal at a concert. But on a big screen, everyone could see them, as if they were at a concert, with all the songs mixed throughout the film.

Now this film is not considered the highlight that A Hard Day's Night was, cinematically. And that's true, it wasn't as earth-shattering as their first film, but The Beatles do put on a good time, and to me, Help! is funnier, it seems to have a better storyline, and they seem to be having more fun on the screen, almost as if they're allowed to be themselves this time around. Even if that included them being doped up through most of those scenes in the Alps.

And never did I think you could mix The Beatles with Beethoven with the 1812 Overture... and opera! How is that possible? The range of music in this film is incredible. And you know what also is incredible? Check out that scene when they're in the airport heading towards the Bahamas. Doesn't Ringo and George have their future haircuts twenty years before the fact? I'm just saying they must've thought really long and hard about their disguises in this scene, and possibly they liked them so much they wanted to have that look later in life.

So as far as breaking the mold, they did that with A Hard Day's Night. But for pure fun and mischief, with Beatles music mixed in, Help! is a blast of a film. I highly recommend it for any Beatles fan who wants to dig a little deeper beyond their music. Next review: a film that uses the music of the Beatles, although even that couldn't overcome the stench of the plot nor the actors/musicians.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This just isn't my week

Sorry, but this week might be one without any posts. I'm trying to battle lab work and a headache that is ripping my head right off my neck (that just might make the pain go away... hmm...). I'll be ready to go next Monday, with those posts I promised you last week.

And I can't leave you this week without something...