Yesterday (2019) Review

Yesterday (2019)

Directed by Danny Boyle

Story by Jack Barth & Richard Curtis

Starring: Himesh Patel, Karma Sood, Lily James, Jaimie Kollmer, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, Lamorne Morris, Sophia Di Martino, Joel Fry, Ellise Chappell, Harry Michell, Camille Chen, Alexander Arnold, James Corden, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Karl Theobald

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.

My Opinion:

I have to admit that, while there are definitely cheesy moments in this film (of course there are – it’s Richard Curtis!), I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s now one of my favorites for 2019 so far. It’s certainly a feelgood movie but, hell, we could all use those every once in a while. I don’t want all movies to be as depressing as Midsommar. It’s also one of those movies that gives you plenty to talk about and contemplate afterwards as the concept is fantastic. What a brilliant idea for a story – I absolutely loved the plot synopsis when I first heard about the film and it was great to see how the story would play out.

To be fair, though, I’m a fan of The Beatles. I’ve done a load of Top Ten posts on this blog since starting it but My Top Ten Beatles Songs was one of my first lists (it may actually be the very first). I do think you need to like their music (and/or the band members themselves) to truly appreciate this film. Had this been based on a band I didn’t like, I’d still admire the subject matter but wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much enjoyment out of the film. The concept and the music are what make this movie. If you hate The Beatles & aren’t impressed by the plot, there’s absolutely no reason for you to watch this.

Does the movie do all that it can with such a good idea? Yes and no. I really liked the direction the story took a couple of times and truly loved one surprise even though I SO should’ve seen it coming. I think it’s always hard to live up to a brilliant idea, though. The movie, overall, could’ve been better. The romance wasn’t believable nor was the possibility that this guy could become as famous as The Beatles. Himesh Patel is good in this role but, come on – his character is just not very interesting and doesn’t have much charisma. The Beatles made some of the all-time best songs but did they become so famous based ONLY on their songs? I don’t know. Maybe? That’s certainly something that would make for an interesting conversation but I don’t think the movie really explored this. Also, while I love most of their songs, there are some I really don’t like and some that I don’t think have aged well. Would the songs be as popular if they were made now? That’s not the kind of music that’s made today. This isn’t explored at all in the movie. It makes me sad but I don’t think the songs would be as popular if they were heard for the very first time in 2019. I may be wrong but I rarely hear anyone younger than me saying that they like The Beatles.


Ed Fucking Sheeran. Ew.

Oh well. Although the film isn’t absolutely perfect, it was great to see something with so much originality instead of yet another sequel or superhero film. And I certainly can’t complain at hearing so many great songs for a couple of hours. It even made up for Ed Fucking Sheeran being in this! It’s a shame that the movie suffers a bit from some typical Richard Curtis rom-com writing but, luckily, nothing in it is as ridiculous as Love Actually. I just wish there’d been more of the old school Danny Boyle influence on this but I suppose a Trainspotting vibe wouldn’t suit this family-friendly feelgood film. That was a lot of F words… Fanciful family-friendly feelgood fantasy fiction film for Fab Four fans!

My Rating: 7.5/10

Nowhere Boy (2009) Review

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Nowhere Boy (2009)

Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood (Sam Taylor-Johnson now)

Starring:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Anne-Marie Duff
Kristin Scott Thomas

(How many names do each of these people need??)

Running time: 99 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Nowhere Boy is a 2009 British biopic about John Lennon’s adolescence, his relationships with his guardian aunt and his mother, the creation of his first band, The Quarrymen, and its evolution into The Beatles. The film is based on a biography written by Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird.

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My Opinion:

First of all – I love The Beatles. Well, not things like I Want To Hold Your Hand so much – more like Norwegian Wood & Dear Prudence. Actually, I did My Top Five Beatles Songs HERE (think they’ve changed a bit since).

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I like a lot of music but never know that much about the band members. Same goes for actors – I don’t like knowing TOO much of their real lives because I don’t want to have that affect how I may feel about their music or movies. I mean, Tom Cruise movies are ruined for me for life – no matter how serious the role, I just see him jumping around on a couch. Stay slightly mysterious, famous people! Like in the old days before Twitter & stuff – We don’t need to know what you’re doing every second of every day. And, FFS, don’t do a reality show!

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Um, where was I? Oh yeah – The Beatles! As much as I know & love their music, I know very little about their personal lives. I couldn’t tell you how accurate Nowhere Boy is but, wow – Lennon apparently had a pretty heartbreaking childhood. I knew none of that. I guess it goes to show that those with difficult lives really are often the most creative people. Why is that? People must have it too easy these days since most music sucks now.

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Maybe I should actually talk about the movie?? First of all, it was a little hard to buy into as Aaron Taylor-Johnson looks nothing whatsoever like John Lennon. His performance was fine but I just never really felt like I was watching a young John Lennon. Even more odd was Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul McCartney. Wait. What? That kid from Love Actually & Nanny McPhee?! Yeah, that one. Look at him:

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Huh? You’re Paul McCartney in this?

So it took me a while to get into this film but, maybe halfway through, I decided to just go with it and I ended up thinking it was a very interesting story and not too bad of a movie. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, although maybe hard to picture as John Lennon, was at least believable as a troubled & lonely boy who’d been abandoned by his irresponsible mother (Anne-Marie Duff) and raised by his stern aunt (Kristin Scott Thomas).

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Both women give very good performances and are what helped to sell the movie to me overall. But they’re also not famous people like Lennon – I suppose it’s very difficult to portray someone so well known to the world so I’ve maybe been a little harsh on Taylor-Johnson (I’m sick of typing Taylor-Johnson! I believe he wasn’t yet married to the director when making this so was just Johnson but he’s more famous now as Kick-Ass Taylor-Johnson so I better use the Taylor too). It’s a good insight into Lennon’s early life & what made him who he was. I don’t know if I’d recommend the film to everyone, though. It doesn’t focus on the music at all since it’s just showing us Lennon’s upbringing so don’t expect some music documentary – It won’t suddenly make you a fan of The Beatles music if you aren’t already. If you like a decent real life drama or are the slightest bit interested in knowing a little about Lennon’s early life, I’d recommend it. If you’re the world’s biggest Beatles expert, I have no idea if you’d love this or hate it because I don’t know how accurate it all is. (Sorry – What a wishy washy review! No one reads these things anyway, right?) 🙂

My Rating: 6.5/10

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My Top Ten Beatles Songs

List updated to make this a Top Ten (well, 15) instead of Top Five. I’d left out far too many good songs…

Honorable Mentions:

15. Hey Jude
14. Girl
13. Blackbird
12. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
11. Nowhere Man

Top Ten:

10. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Hey Bulldog
8. I Am The Walrus
7. Helter Skelter
6. A Day In The Life
5. In My Life
4. Dear Prudence
3. Eleanor Rigby
2. Across The Universe
1. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

Here are a couple of photos from one of my trips to Liverpool to do a Beatles tour 🙂

Norwegian Wood

In a Beatles mood! Listening to my favorite song right now. 🙂

Norwegian Wood lyrics:

I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay
And she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around
And I noticed there wasn’t a chair

I sat on the rug biding my time
Drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said
“It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked
In the morning and started to laugh
I told her I didn’t
And crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

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