Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks #89: Music Biopic



Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share three movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you're up to it one of each.For further details visit the series main page here.


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This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Music Biopic

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Challenging theme for me this week. I don't usually watch biopics, historical figure biopics maybe...but music biopics, not so much. Here are three quite random picks

Jersey Boys (2014)
I feel like there was a lot of news about the Jersey Boys movie when it was in production but when it finally got released, it seemed to just came and went quietly. I just didn't really enjoy the movie at all. I thought the guys who played the Four Seasons were boring so I couldn't get invested in their stories. I know the movie is based on the stage musical and some of them were reprising their roles, they may have had stage presence but maybe not so much screen presence. The best part of the movie for me was just the end when everyone was just walking and singing in the street.

Nowhere Boy (2009)
John Lennon biopic that follows his teenage years before The Beatles. Out of the three today, this is the only one I like. I thought it was interesting as a biopic, focusing only the beginning of his musical career. Which is sort of a pity because we didn't get to hear any of The Beatles music but we certainly got plenty of other music that probably influenced and inspired Lennon.   

La Vie en Rose (2007)
This is quite well loved wasn't it? Marion Cotillard won an Oscar and everything. It's been a long time since I've seen it but I remember not liking it all. Just so dreary and boring.


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20 comments:

  1. I haven't actually seen any of these. I wasn't too keen on seeing Jersey Boys and Nowhere Boy didn't catch my interest either despite my love for The Beatles - I think Aaron Johnson is so very uncharismatic. But I did really want to and still want to see La Vie en Rose.

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    1. Aaron Johnson was uncharismatic in more recent films like Godzilla and the Avengers. I think he's much better here.

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  2. I have seen bits of these three and I agree that Nowhere Boy is the most loveable one.

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  3. I have not seen the first two and was really interested in Jersey Boys but now...not so sure. Clint Eastwood may be slipping a bit since another film he directed, with Matt Damon about the tsunami, was actually quite boring. I loved La Vie En Rose and thought her performance was excellent.

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    1. I don't know about that. His films generally do not appeal to me, but I do watch them if the story seems interesting enough and that Hereafter movie did not.

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  4. I also chose Nowhere Boy, even if it wasn't factual I really loved it. I enjoyed La Vie En Rose mostly because I had never seen Marion Cotillard in anything before and she blew me away.

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    1. I don't know much about John Lennon other than just listening to his music, so I wouldn't know what was real and what was fiction. I usually just assume that with most biopics much is dramatized.

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  5. I completely forgot about Jersey Boys. I wasn't crazy about it, but I agree on the end being the best part of the movie.

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    1. Right! The end was just full of life. Everything else was just so boring.

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  6. I've seen all three of these and there were things to like in all of them but none are a home run.

    I think you hit on the major problem with Jersey Boys, who were those guys? Not a single one was able to make his character a person...but the music was terrific.

    I felt similarly about Nowhere Boy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn't very compelling in the lead but Kristin Scott-Thomas was marvelous and the story of Lennon's early years held some interest.

    On the other hand what La Vie en Rose had going for it the most was a truly magnificent performance by Marion Cotillard but the vehicle that was carrying it was ramshackle. The movie was a challenge to sit through in its non-linear fashion, and Good Lord that poor woman went through hell in her short life, without Marion it wouldn't have been worth it and I don't foresee ever watching it again.

    I love this particular film genre and will watch pretty much any one that I run across which made it tough to choose just three so I did a theme within theme and picked ones where the protagonist faced a major physical challenge at some point in their life.

    Sweet Dreams (1985)-Tale of Patsy Cline’s ascension from honkytonk singer to queen of the Grand Ole Opry and beyond as well as her messy personal life, including a near fatal car wreck, until her death in a plane crash. Jessica Lange was Oscar nominated for her turn as Patsy, she’s given strong support by Ed Harris as Cline’s difficult husband and Ann Wedgeworth in a beautiful performance as her mother.

    The Joker is Wild (1957)-Crooner Joe E. Lewis (Frank Sinatra) works his way up through the racket run nightclubs of Chicago mob boss Georgie Parker. Once successful he tries to move on only to have his throat slashed in retaliation. His voice ruined he slides into alcoholism but his former accompanist and friend helps him reestablish himself as a successful stand-up comic. The road still has many rough patches ahead though. One of Sinatra’s better lesser known performances. The film features one of Sinatra’s signature songs the Oscar winning “All the Way”.

    With a Song in My Heart (1952)-Young singer Jane Froman (Susan Hayward) rises from staff artist on a small radio station in the Midwest quickly climbing the ladder of success to become a top radio and stage star. Along the way she enters into a marriage of convenience with her manager which soon hits the rocks, then America enters WWII. Like many performers she volunteers to entertain the troops and is on her way to do so when her seaplane crashes into the Tagus River off the Lisbon coast. She is one of the few survivors but is severely injured, most perilously her leg is nearly amputated. The remainder of the film follows her grueling treatment, difficult recovery and return to finish the job she started. Grim in parts but overall a story of someone with tremendous fortitude in the face of huge adversity. Loaded with great music both Hayward (whose lip-syncing to Froman’s vocals is impressively realistic) and Thelma Ritter, as her steadfast nurse, were Oscar nominated.

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    1. Joel, I'd forgotten about Sweet Dreams. I really liked that movie.

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    2. La Vie en Rose was just drowning in misery. Like you said, it was such a challenge to sit through that I didn't even noticed the stellar performance Cotillard put on.

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  7. I never saw Nowhere Boy, but I really should, as a huge Beatles fan. I wanted to like Jersey Boys, but it just didn't work at all. Great music, bad movie. The other is one that just doesn't really interest me. I just don't feel like it would connect, despite my love for Marion.

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    1. La Vie en Rose - Yeah don't. There's other better movies that she's also good in.

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  8. Great picks! I haven't seen any of these, but I definitely want to watch all of them.

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  9. Nice picks! La Vi En Rose was one of my favorites. It was quite long and didn't necessarily need the flashbacks. As an Edith Piaf fan, it captured her life really well. I don't know if it would've been the same movie without Marion.

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    1. I recognised her song but I really didn't know who Edith Piaf was coming into the movie.

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  10. The only one I have seen is Jersey Boys and that was dreadful. Been meaning to see Lq Vie en Rose for quite a while, now.

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    1. It is! I wonder what those that have seen the stage musical thought of it.

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  11. The only one I have seen is Jersey Boys and that was dreadful. Been meaning to see Lq Vie en Rose for quite a while, now.

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