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Archive for July, 2019|Monthly archive page

“Yesterday”, A Good Netflix Film

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2019 at 21:42

“Yesterday”, A Good Netflix Film

Yesterday

From acsta.net

The temperature is hovering near 110 F in Tucson, so it’s the “see a movie while you have time off and it’s damn hot out!” season. So, I went to see Yesterday.

Yesterday is a quirky film that asks, “What if only one man remembered The Beatles and their music and he was an unsuccessful musician that used their songs to become famous, because as stated, no one remembers who they were or their music. I know you were all thinking that very thing.

Beside the heat, I also saw Yesterday because I am a huge Beatles fan, ever since I could remember. And I like Danny Boyle films, director of Slum Dog Millionaire, Trainspotting, and 28 Days Later. He’s no wazzock. 

The film’s set-up works, and the main actor Himesh Patel who plays the lead Jack Malik, is well cast. He is able to play the charming, humble man who, as people believe, just thought up these great songs on his own. The filming is fine and the music is great.

I am NOT an Ed Sheeran fan, but I can now say I like the lad even if I think the wanker writes shite music. Sheeran has no trouble sending up his celebrity status in the film, and it’s quite amusing. And Kate McKinnon is hilarious as always, even if her part isn’t the best written.

Lily James plays Jack Malik’s manager (Ellie Appleton) when he is unknown and soon loses the gig when his new batch of songs come out, starting with “Yesterday.” She is also, unfortunately, the anchor that holds down what is an interesting film and drags it into mediocrity. She’s window-dressing and is given the worst dialogue in the film. James is also Jack’s love interest, but works only to serve Jack. In the end, Ellie is boring like watching a turtle roll an egg around a bathtub. Actually, that would be more interesting. I worry that James won’t get any roles once her cuteness has faded and age lines appear. 

30YESTERDAY-SONGS-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600

From videoSixteenByNine

On the up side, the film has a lot of spot-on observations about the music industry. There are clever jokes added for big-time music buffs like how Oasis wouldn’t exist if The Beatles hadn’t existed. Another bonus for fans of BBC crime shows is that two major characters in the film were played by Sarah Lancashire from Happy Valley and Sanjeev Bhaskar from Unforgotten (among other shows). The film is also a reminder of how great The Beatle’s songs are. And there is a surprise near the end of the film that I would rate: “See it Twice.” It was touching and well-done bit of alternate history.

Mild spoiler section
The romance in the film is “dramatic” because it gives us a false choice between Jack becoming a huge star and leaving Ellie, or Jack choosing NOT to become a star and staying with Ellie. I have grown impatient with false choices in film. This does not work at all. It was schmaltzy and overly-sentimental. He of course chooses Ellie. How cliché is that? Why not try both?

Another issue is the choice of songs in the film. Malik is a soloist, and starts playing Beatles songs that lend themselves to one instrument, like “Yesterday.” However, the writers Jack Curtis and Richard Barth didn’t choose “Norwegian Wood” or “Blackbird.” Instead, they used some songs from their early albums such as “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Those are boy-band songs and not their best. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD6FDkUXSZQ

Rating: Rent it/Stream it. There is nothing in Yesterday you won’t catch on the small screen. The cliché romance and derivative plot points that vomit forth from the romance nearly ruins a good film. Here’s some advice for the writers and director: get the romance right, or leave it out. Get someone who can write romance to help you avoid romance tropes and hackneyed plots and rewrite those scenes. And give the female lead better lines and more agency. 

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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