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Yesterday Cannoli Send a noteboard - 11/07/2019 10:58:21 AM

There is this documented phenomenon whereby two movies with very similar stories or subject matter will be released less than a year apart, on such diverse ideas as surprising volcanic erruptions (Dante's Peak & Volcano), quasi-historical Scotsmen (Braveheart & Rob Roy), asteroids threatening the planet (Deep Impact & Armageddon) or military attacks on the President against a lone secret service agent (Olympus Has Fallen & White House Down). This year, it's about young British men of subcontinental ancestry
and their relationship with the songwriting of a legendary recording act, in "Yesterday" and "Blinded by the Light".

"Yesterday" is something of a comedy, where a weird thing happens and its all about the protagonist's reaction. In this case, Himesh Patel's Jack Malick is a struggling singer/songwriter, who decides to give up music after a futile performance at a festival is completely ignored, despite the encouragement of his friend and manager, Ellie, played by Lily James, who is clearly in love with him, but he doesn't realize it. Almost immediately afterwards, there is an unexplained world-wide momentary electrical blackout, with the direct consequence of causing a bus accident for Jack and the later-revealed & unexplained consequence of erasing arbitrary aspects of popular culture from almost everyone's memory. Jack soon realizes he is the only person, including Google, to remember the Beatles (and also Oasis, Coca-Cola & cigarettes), whose albums have even disappeared from his own record collection. He then begins trying to perform and pass their music as his own work.

The initial bumbling steps where the protagonist(s) try to exploit the film's gimmick were sort of amusing because when you think about it, music that was revolutionary and blew people's minds in the 1960s, would probably not have the same effect on a general public 50 years later. Not least because it's not new, what with all the Beatles-influenced music that has come out since then, which is an issue the movie never bothers to deal with. The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones are both mentioned and I am pretty sure I heard that both groups had an interactive rivalry with the Beatles. So in Jack's new world, they made all the same music, except without any inspiration from John Lennon & Paul McCarthy.

Anyway, as it turns out, people in 2019 England and the rest of the world, do quickly develp a taste for the Beatles, when Ed Sheeran sees Jack playing on a local TV show, and hires him to open for Sheeran on his European tour, which kicks off in Russia, where Jack introduces "Back in the USSR" and becomes a breakout star, taken under the wing of Kate McKinnon's LA music producer, who sets about planning a marketing campaign for Jack & his music. Along the way, a couple of mysterious strangers are introduced who seem to recognize something amiss with Jack & his music, and begin appearing in the background at various public events, as apparent heralds of doom, seemingly there to threaten him with exposure of his scam. Jack's main concern, aside from the pressure and unexpected issues with his act, is that his relationship with Ellie is suffering as he is leaving her behind for the big time, just when she has confronted him with her feelings.

Among the unexpected issues, which are only lightly touched upon, is the effect of some unknown artist suddenly and rapidly turning out a large body of finished work on other musicians, or how it appears when Jack is showing respect and admiration for work that as far as anyone else knows is his creation, making him seem extremely arrogant and obnoxious when he become frustrated with their failure to be impressed by the first ever rendition of "Let It Be". Another point that the movie brings up but fails to adequately address, is just how Jack is able to perfectly reproduce music that only he remembers, and has nothing else to remind him of it, neither recordings, nor written down. This is played for humor with him trying to remember the lyrics to "Eleanor Rigby" but you'd think it would go further than that. Yet he apparently knocks off perfect versions of "Let It Be", "Hey Jude", "Help", "I Wanna Hold Your", "Life Goes On", "Back in the USSR" & "Yesterday" among others. One unexpected twist is the apparent denouement the film seems to be building towards, at the usual point in this sort of movie, where the scam is exposed, except the expectations are nicely subverted, both in how it goes down, which is in keeping with the generally positive message of the movie, and how the whole thing is resolved.

A possibly troubling issue to fans of the original work is how the movie deals with John Lennon's death, which even I, no fan of the man or his work, thought might not have been as respectful as they wanted to be. Speaking of my own view, I am not a Beatles fan. At all. I don't actually like any of their songs. It's not that I hate them, it's just that they don't DO anything for me. They're just kind of bland background stuff, and I never got all the fuss. The famous scene from "Hard Days Night" with people chasing them down the street seemed egotistical bragging to me, until it was pointed out that it was not all that far from the reality of Beatlemania. The best song any of them are associated with, IMHO, is George Harrison's solo work, "I Got My Mind Set On You." I literally like that more than ANYTHING Paul McCartney or John Lennon have written or recorded.

But I liked the movie. So take that as you will.

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Yesterday - 11/07/2019 10:58:21 AM 147 Views
I don't find it unusual that he remembers the words to the Beatles songs - 12/07/2019 05:35:39 AM 45 Views
Even the early Yea yea stuff? *NM* - 12/07/2019 01:05:18 PM 24 Views
Absolutely *NM* - 12/07/2019 03:02:35 PM 16 Views

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