Sunday, August 23, 2009

sgt. pepper's lonely hearts club band [1978]

bless my mother-in-law's heart. she has one of these space-age devices called tivo that allows her to digitally record live tv. tivo will even scour the channels and record programs it thinks you might like based on your viewing habits. she remembered that i had talked about this film a few weeks ago and when her tivo device recorded it she watched i think about a quarter of the movie before she could take no more. running for the toilet with her hand over her mouth to keep the barf from spilling on the floor the poor woman had the courage to check her gag reflex and keep from her urge to delete the flick so that i might have the pleasure of watching it.

and i did. watch it. with pleasure. the movie is an abomination. a crime against nature. and no self-respecting beatles fan should watch, much less like, this movie. and i was such a fan. at age eight i managed to secure a copy of the titular album by the beatles and i became obsessed with it. in my late teens and early 20s i had a pretty damn good beatles record collection, all on vinyl, some, such as rubber soul, were first pressing pilfered from older hippie friends.

i don't know what the plot of this flick might be. featuring the bee gees, who were the biggest thing on the planet after the success of saturday night fever [1977], a movie i absolutely adore, and peter frampton who found phenomenal success when his live double-lp franklin comes alive! [1976] broke all kinds of records and made him, albeit briefly, in the words of john lennon, bigger than god. the gist of the flick is the beatles music and a kind of whimsy that it inspires. no dialogue whatsoever is spoken, except for the narration of george burns. the bee gees fucking mutilate the beatles' songs which consist chiefly from the albums sgt pepper's lonely hearts club band [1967] and abbey road [1969]. franklin does hardly better. that's it. story conveyed by music and narration.

i said i enjoyed the movie. i did. and do. part of it is because i saw this at the theater upon its release in 1978. instead of getting angry at the travesty the bee gees had done with my beloved beatles i bought the soundtrack. i wore the vinyl out. a veritable who's who of pop culture is in this flick, from steve martin who plays dr maxwell of 'maxwell's silver hammer' song to aerosmith to even sha na na, a 1950s greaser nostalgia act that had a variety show at the time and also played woodstock, and wolfman jack, the radio dj made famous in george lucas's paean to teen angst and cruising set in modesto, ca american graffiti [1973]. i think the lot of them have deleted this outing from their resumes.

now i have a crapload of beatles songs running thru my noggin thanks to this flick. after watching it tonight i made my mother-in-law happy. she can now delete it from her tivo. i'm sure john keats had movies in mind when he wrote about negative capability. how one person can hold a bad movie in one mind with no ill effect. i've not seen this flick since i was a pup. horrible, shitty, vomit-inducing, yes, but quite a gully-washer just the same. why would frampton and the bee gees agree to appear in such tripe? i think liberace had the best answer to his critics, he was crying all the way to the bank.


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