Bohemian Rhapsody-Redux

Chuck came up with some great commentary on the Queen/Freddy Mercury movie in response to the film and my own recent review.  Check it out.

Jimmy

Here’s Chuck’s slant…

I haven’t had a chance to write up a full review for the blog, but my take on it was that it was decent. Not great, but not horrible. On the plus side, Rami Malek was fantastic as Freddie Mercury. He elevated the entire film. He didn’t so much “play” Mercury. He became him. It was a marvel to watch. Another huge plus was the dead on recreation of their set at Live Aid. Everything about that scene was so authentic. My favorite part of the film. And of course, the music was stellar. Some of the greatest stuff ever recorded.

On the down side, the dialogue was hackey in places. The pace was too slow in some places. The timeline of their music was off in some places. (IE. Fat Bottomed Girls didn’t come out until 3 years after their first American tour).  They got a ton of facts wrong. ( IE. He didn’t tell them he was HIV positive until 2 years after Live Aid).  The other actors were bland. (Which, maybe, was the point in comparison to Freddie’s personality). The guy playing Roger Taylor drove me crazy. Taylor has a very (very!) high pitched speaking voice. This guy, um, did not. I cringed every time he spoke. Mike Myers was a little unnecessary. (We get that he used Bohemian Rhapsody in Wayne’s World).

I do get your point about them not focusing on May and Taylor and Deacon more. You and I are rock music nerds and would have loved to have seen a deeper dive into the 3 of them. But most of the movie ticket buying populace aren’t rock music nerds. No way this film makes half a billion dollars if it dove deeply into the life of Brian May. (It likely doesn’t even get made). Freddie is who people wanted to see.

Overall, in terms of stars, I’m right there with you, but for different reasons. 2 ½ out of 4.

Chuck

 

Bohemian Rhapsody-A Movie Review

Queen.  (The band, not the monarch.) Tailors of the triumphantly sonic rock sound stemming from their inception in the early seventies that so many of the second-stringers coming behind them found to be a band not only uncopiable but still mythical in many ways.  Subtle yet dynamic, alternatively humble and bold, honest but still occasionally playful in their sound they used their jazz/blues/classical and God knows whatever other musical roots to bring rock to it’s theatrical zenith.

But this isn’t an assessment of the band but rather the recent movie so let’s go…

I was initially stunned by the resemblance between the actors and the original Queen members (Hey! That guy looks just like Brian May!) for instance. This really helped supply the effect that I was now immersed in Queen-World but the movie as a whole has an annoying tendency to skip this initial platform of credibility and throw away a beautiful opportunity to establish and recognize the tightness the members of the group used to establish themselves as one thing, irreversible and continuous.

When I plunked myself in my seat I was happily expecting a flick about Queen but it quickly became apparent that I was watching a biopic centered around lead singer Freddie Mercury with only occasional references to why we listened to Queen in the first place.

Here’s where I started losing interest.

If your interested in Freddy Mercury himself then your in business. This film dives into his personal life highlighting his personal, conflicted relationships eventually leading to the near destruction of the thing he loved most, writing songs and performing them with the guys who took him in as a brother and stood by Freddy even when his ego got the better of him. While this movie runs two hours and fifteen minutes, plenty of time to give you a sense of Queen’s overall talent, little of that time was used to establish the most critical portion of Freddy’s life.  While I admit that Elvis Presley would have been a famous talent without the benefit of the innovative guitarist Scotty Moore, it sure didn’t hurt to have him around. Would Freddy’s superb talent ever been known if it wasn’t for the utterly unique sound of Brian May’s laser-like guitar, Roger Taylor’s huge pioneering drum effect and Fred Deacon’s whizbang bass (as well as songwriting from these three)?

That’s what I was expecting and got nothing but a few glimpses as to why Queen worked at all. Where I was expecting light, I got darkness, I don’t mean that metaphorically though. It seemed that half this venture was deliberately filmed in dimly lit locations like an Orson Welles picture.

The final scene of the movie actually delivers the sound and power that Queen is famous for but why did I have to wait two hours for delivery? Given that the musical advisors were original members Roger Taylor and Brian May, it’s mystifying they’d let this great music be tamped down, volumeless where volume was needed and unspectactular when spectactulerness was so easily within grasp. When I mentioned this to my daughter she agreed speculating that putting Queen’s stunning sound out there at the movie’s early points would’ve lessened the effect at the end. She’s probably right but she’s also seventeen years old and wasn’t available to hear this group in it’s proper time.

I was. We both gave Bohemian Rhapsody 2 1/2 stars out of four. Here’s two original promo videos that Queen provided in the seventies.  I’ll ask you to please watch so you can see what I’m driving at here and don’t forget to hit on MAMEMAGAZINE.COM for more music-oriented content and as always, thanks for reading…

Jimmy

 

 

 

 

All the News That’s Unfit to Print

Hey, hey and Ho, Ho Dear readers! Lotsa stuff to get to today so let’s dispense with the niceities and proceed right to the usual buffoonery…

I saw in the news recently where there was a lady who had the power go out in her house and sensibly fumbled her way into the cellar to find and subsequently light a candle in order to gain some light thus enabling her to see where she was going and generally provide light to her now very small world.  Sound thinking, right? Well, these apparently simple tasks sometimes come with an unforeseen downside as we all know and this case is especially noteworthy as the “candle” she was trying to light was in reality a stick of dynamite.

Don’t get me wrong here, as a fellow citizen who also tucks my candles into the same type of drawers and in the same normally sensible proximity to dynamite I see this is as a triumph of the American Will. I ask you my fellow Americans, in what other country is it OK to accidently risk blowing your block to kingdom come while inciting references to Bugs Bunny and The Three Stooges?  No country that I wanna live in and that’s for damn sure.  (To our friends at the NSA who’re obviously reading this now that I used the word “dynamite”, I’m just goofin’ around here man)

Speaking of The Three Stooges, I normally refrain from commenting on people’s personal appearance because I’m a fine one to talk but I recently came across a guy who’s toupee reminded me of Moe Howard’s hairdo (“Hey Moe! It’s a tarantula!!)

Next up, why do people who had a sufficient amount of dozing say that they “slept like a baby”?  What’re u trying to tell me, that you woke up screaming every three hours?

Having seen the two previous posts, my daughter is trying to straighten me out on the state of modern music in apparent hopes that I’ll embrace some of the newer bands. If u consider her as Lisa Simpson and me as Homer you’ll get the idea that she’s usually right about alotta stuff and this time I want in on the ground floor. In this, the first case she confronted me with will be a band called “Cage the Elephant”. Having listened to their “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, they appear to me to be a cross between Run DMC and Paul Revere and the Raiders but form your own impressions with the video supplied below…

Jimmy  

American Vacation

Summer!! Yep, time to fly kites, explore beaches, mountains, enjoy concerts and over- order at local seaside restaurants to the point where Donald Trump would have to go scrambling through his pockets to pay the bill. ‘Tis the season where shark attacks, excessive mosquito activity, trying to mentally nullify fireworks while dead asleep at 3 o’clock in the morning and daydreaming that yer kid’s ballgame doesn’t go into overtime before your eyes melt in their sockets.

As u can tell, I can be a bit of a pessimist from time to time so let’s here a Jersey report from the sunnier, more optimistic Chuck who loves summer and would never do anything to traumatize his kids…

Jimmy

“On one of the days of our recent vacation, I took the family out for a nice breakfast.  After breakfast, we all got back to the house and my three daughters (ages 19, 13 and 7) all piled out of the back of our minivan. As the last one got out and closed the sliding door on the van, I looked at Diane, smiled, and punched the gas as hard as I could. Diane and I go, tires spinning, ripping away from the house like we were fleeing a bank robbery. The sight of the completely stunned girls getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror was, well, let’s just say it was pretty great. And before anyone calls Child Services on us, we just went around the block and went right back to the house where they were all still standing. And laughing.”

Chuck

I hadda complimentary response to Chuck’s fine tale all ready to go and that I was gonna post until I saw an item in the mail today from a place called “AA”.  Thinking quickly (as I naturally assumed that Alcoholics Anonymous had finally caught up to me all these decades later), I packed my bags and got ready to “get the hell outta Dodge” so to speak. As it turns out, “AA” in this case means the “AA-Vehicle Notification Department” out of Plano, TX who kindly advised me (and I quote) “Our records indicate that you have not contacted us to have the vehicle service contract for your vehicle uploaded”.  Further, “Your file on this vehicle will be deleted and you may no longer be eligible for this offer regarding service coverage after 8/20/18.”

Which raises a few questions…

How can these characters go around using the term “AA”? I thought it was copyrighted by the aforementioned Alcoholics Anonymous. Is this a subliminal message to all the perceived miscreants on planet to sign up for this buffoonery? (If it is then I want in on this racket cuz there’s a miscreant born every minute.)

Even tho I’ve been strictly warned that my “coverage” MAY expire on 8/20/18 their willing to be a big-hearted buncha guys and swindle me outta my money at a later date, if need be.

The part that pisses me off most is that if their willing to send a piece of mail (not an e-mail or text, mind you) then they’ve gotta be trolling for older folks who might actually take this s@&t seriously.

I didn’t intend to follow up a Lynyrd Skynyrd (at what point will that band name not require a spell check?) number with another but I was bummed to hear that Ed King had died in the last day or two. An astonishingly good guitarist most noted for coming up with the opening riff on “Sweet Home Alabama” and it’s subsequent and outstanding lead guitar techniques, he not only changed rock and roll but an entire state’s perception of itself.

Try topping that. The guy was f&%$@ing brilliant. Here’s a video featuring Ed King in some early, raw footage and thanks for readin’.

(Ed’s the heavier-set fella in the white shirt who plays the intro and sings as well)

Jimmy

 

Gimme Back My Bullets

Still a little hazy from the family get-together last weekend but not so much so that I don’t remember this outstanding performance by Cheap Trick as they covered Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets” during an AXS TV (“One More the Fans”) airing of various and tremendously talented performers doing Skynyrd tunes. While the other bands did their songs by the numbers (and sounded awesome doing it) Robin Zander and Cheap Trick topped that by bringing me back to that era just by NOT playing by the numbers and attacking the song with sheer attitude. Given that Cheap Trick and Skynyrd were contemporaries in the seventies, maybe my new “it takes one to know one” theory applies. Here’s a copy of that performance…

 

Jimmy

Heat Wave

Given the ridiculously fiery temperatures here in Philly lately, I thought I’d cool us all off with a little humor ala Rodney Dangerfield and Henny Youngman…

It’s so hot I demanded to have my tonsils re-inserted just for the ice cream.

It’s so hot that the local wildlife formed a committee demanding access to my air conditioning. (To their credit, they made a strong, well thought-out concession by begrudgingly yet willingly use the toilet while simultaneously promising not to pee in my barbecue grill for the next 3 months. In return, I receive a year’s supply of acorns but I hadda agree to flush the aforementioned toilet insomuch as the little varmints can’t reach the flapper. Man did I get the better end of that deal!)

Speaking of wildlife, the owl outside my window went from saying “who” to saying “what the f#&k?”.

A local chef told me that the lobsters are now voluntarily jumping into the pot.

It’s so hot that even South America is making fun of us. (Hey, at least we’ve never had to resort to eating our shoelaces, man.) Actually and having said it, I think I’ll book a flight to Africa just to cool off for a week.

It’s so hot that I suddenly got the hallucination that Donald Trump is president.

Now should the power suddenly cut out, here’s a few vital steps that will need to be taken…

  1. Open the windows as to let as much fresh air as possible in.
  2. Fill your bathtub with fresh water before you lose that option too.
  3. Go looting.  There’s a reason why we’re the greatest country in the world and we didn’t earn that distinction by sitting around being pansy-asses. (Anybody up for two hundred rolls of paper towels?)

As if things weren’t bad enough, I think that I finally figured the connection from David Bowie back down to Iggy Pop and the Stooges thru The Velvet Underground.  They don’t sing.  These bands vocalize their lyrics thru the spoken word or at least a sing-song version of it.   To prove my point I’ll ask you to listen to Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing”, Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” and Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” which I, being a benevolent host, have conveniently supplied below…

 

I think the cool thing is that only took me 50 years to catch up with this concept.

Jimmy

Here We Go Again

In writing 15+ pieces, I’ve learned alot about myself…

  1. Based on the hit statistics for this blog, I’ve gotta be the most boring, least entertaining writer in history.  Chuck’s better and more consice but even he’s having trouble to help this site find an audience.
  2. That I can now statistically prove my status as a borderline dunce has only inspired me to up my game so as to gain the immortal rank of “dazzling idiot”.  A goal that I can assure you I take seriously. So here’s some more buffoonery for those of you that somehow managed to keep reading to this point…

Anthony Bourdain died this past week. The man was a hero to me in his irreverance for common social standards and in regards to his approach to the food and travel world. His ability and desire to introduce, invite, explain and ultimately unite the viewers/readers into his adventures made him different. There’s just nobody like him and what Chuck might call someone who “pushes it forward”. In my mind, there are three great modern writers, Mike Royko, Hunter Thompson and Dave Barry.  I added Tony to my list some time ago and regret not saying so before.

As low as my standards might be, I usually stay away from poop comedy but I couldn’t help noticing the talking box in my morning commercials that explains how you can achieve colonoscopy-like results by simply sitting down on the toilet and mailing  your “sample” to ’em.  Having gone thru a colonoscopy this sounds like an award-winning idea to me with some important qualifications:

  1. If I understand the process correctly, you poop as usual and then have to somehow fish out your poop sample (tweezers?, gardening shovel?), bag it, tag it and then send it out thru the mail to the intended destination.
  2. Whoever’s on the receiving end of the sample-mailing has my undying respect.  How would like to hear this while your munching on your morning bagel when someone yells out, “Hey Ralph! I have 40 boxes of s#*t for ya today!” and know they’re being literal? I assume the recipients have to don biohazard suits while thinking “what happened to my career and biology degree?” but yet accept more of a paycheck than the average bear might get.  (Well deserved in my opinion.)
  3. I can’t dispense medical advice insomuch as I’m not a physician but colon cancer is serious. I CAN encourage all readers to consult their doctor about this topic.

We all have common fears like mine whether it be rattlesnakes, ticks, standing in waist-deep water on a beach in Cape Cod where Great White sharks are known to inhabit while somebody on the beach might realize they have to suddenly go into red-alert mode like the girl in “Jaws” if they spot an unusually large dorsal fin (or any other dorsal fin for that matter) cutting thru the surface, Nazi air raids, the moon suddenly and inexplicably ramming into planet earth, etc…

I DO NOT like telling people what to do on this blog but I’ll say this. Live like Anthony Bourdain.

Fearlessly.

Jimmy