Bohemian Rhapsody

If you had a time machine, what band or singer would you see play live at their pinnacle?  Respond with your answer in the comment section.  I know most of you will respond with Barbara Streisand or Yanni or some shit because you’re all a bunch of Jay Leno’s, but for me, it has always been Queen.  That’s why I was excited to see Bohemian Rhapsody.  I wanted to get a feel for what being at one of their concert’s was really like – sadly, without the experience of being hammered drunk in the front row rocking a tuxedo t-shirt.  Either way, I’m happy to report that the theatrics of Bohemian Rhapsody did not disappoint, but let’s take a closer look at where the film loses its way a bit and when it kicks fucken ass.

We first meet Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury’s Parsi birth name) when he’s 18, living in a flat with his parents in London.  We can tell early on that he’s an eccentric, and he’s spending many of his teen nights frequenting local pubs as he’s drawn to the local music scene.  It’s fun to see him meet his future Queen mates, but why couldn’t we see more of his youth?  His sister later explains that he wasn’t really ‘born’ until he was 18, when his family moved to London from Zanzibar, but that’s a movie cop-out.  It would’ve been nice to see how Freddie became that unconventional 18 year-old.  In Walk the Line (starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash), we first meet Cash when he’s extremely young, and that sets the basis for his hurt, and how his youth shaped his later life.  With Freddie, we don’t meet him until he’s already 18, which leaves questions for those who haven’t spent their life researching Freddie Mercury (mainly Mike Triemert, amongst other losers).  I know movies are constrained by time, but I would’ve liked to see more, especially if this is intended to be a biography.  Was Eric Fitterer always a prodigious financial analyst?  No.  But he drowned out his parents fighting every night by counting his back pimples (while crying), thus, improving his math skills.

Second, I wasn’t down with some of the historical inaccuracies.  If your story is about a larger than life character, why feel the need to bend the truth?  First, Freddie didn’t make his first stage appearance with the band Smile as the movie depicts.  He spent a few years working with other bands to grow his confidence and stage persona.  Why couldn’t we have seen some of those struggles?  Again, we’re not seeing the full picture.  Was Matt Forys always a great marathon runner?  No. I remember leaving messages on his answering machine in college calling him a fat fuck.  Also, in the movie, it reveals that Freddie broke up the band for a period of time to work on his own solo album.  This isn’t true, as it was a joint decision by Queen to take a break due to burnout in 1983.  The filmmakers made up this plot point along with Freddie inaccurately revealing his diagnosis of AIDS to the band members for a dramatic finish (he did die of AIDS in 1991, he just never revealed it in this way to the band).  So, why deceive the audience?  That’s like me putting ‘never married’ on my profile before meeting my second wife.

Qualms aside, this film has more energy than your toddler on blow.  It all starts with Rami Malek. The dude CRUSHES his role as Mercury.  From the teeth, to the stage presence, his voice, mannerisms.  You feel like you’re watching Freddie.  It’s acting at its highest level.  It’s like watching Pete Loosbrock swing a golf club, hearing him swear immediately in disgust, only to see the ball land two feet from the hole.  It’s….MAGIC.  Not only does Malek kill the stage performances, but you feel for him throughout the film.  In an unfortunate time when homosexuality wasn’t as accepted, Malek exudes Mercury’s loneliness and confusion with precision.  Freddie’s troublesome relationship with the love of his life, Mary Austin, feels both genuine and heartbreaking at the same time.  Anyhow, if Malek isn’t nominated for an Oscar as best actor, I promise to get a hook tattooed on my lower back.  Just kidding honey, your tattoo is really….lovely.

What else rocks, pun intended?  The music.  There’s more beats in this film than a lonely teenage boy alone with a sock after stealing his dad’s Viagra pills. I was hoping for a two hour soundtrack of my favorite Queen songs, and it delivered.  We get all the bangers; “Somebody to Love,” “Under Pressure,” “We are the Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another one Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” and more.  Fun aside, Lady GaGa took her name from Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” hit.  Anyway, the cool thing, and where this movie finally matches the biopic it’s trying to be, is we see how Queen finds their special sound.  I was disappointed that we didn’t get to learn more about the other Queen members, but we do see how they’re VERY instrumental in many of Queen’s greatest hits.  Watching the band find themselves while creating their second album in a remote cabin was one of the highlights of the movie for me.  I’m sure it was even more nostalgic for those who grew up with Queen, kind of like watching Brad Radke give up his first home run for us 30-somethings.

Although there are bumps along the road, the movie is always lining itself up for the very rewarding pay-off.  You know, like the Rocky movies, where Rocky is dealing with some kind of personal struggle, and then there’s a big training montage followed by the final fight that takes place over the last 20 minutes of the film?  Yeah, that’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  The final, Live Aid concert re-creation at Wembley Stadium is ‘the big fight.’  If like me, you’re hoping to be transported through time to a live Queen concert, this is as close as you’ll ever come.  It’s an epic finish.

Should you see it?  Freddie Mercury was one of kind, and perhaps his personality was too big to be crunched into a two hour film, even on the silver screen.  But, it’s a fun ride.  Grab a beer on a Friday night, stream it, and belt out your favorite Queen tracks.  Then, put on a full polyester body suit and fuck the first stranger you see.

A Star is Born – By guest blogger Michael Leslie Triemert

Hello to the seven people that will read this. My name is Mike Triemert, and I’m Colin’s best friend that hasn’t given a terrible speech at his wedding. For those who don’t know me, I went to college with Colin and have seen his penis no less than 47 times. I live in NE Minneapolis with my 1st wife Mandi and a special-needs dog named Lucky.

Colin hasn’t had much time to watch movies since he is super busy working 18 hours a week at his current job and ‘kind of’ being a family man with his lovely wife and daughter. He spends a lot of time watching football in his basement and gambling (he says he wins LOL!!).

The movie I will be reviewing is “A Star is Born”. Some of you may think that my wife picked out this movie, but you are dead wrong. I am a hardcore Gaga fan. I love her music so much I made them play, “Born this Way” at my Uncle’s funeral. Don’t worry, I told everyone he was secretly gay and he would have wanted it this way. Anywhooo, I will try to avoid spoilers for you people with kids who are unable to attend ‘R’ movies anymore, but there are some pretty shocking scenes in this movie. I ALMOST cried during this movie, and I haven’t cried during a movie since my dad told me I was gay for crying during the Lion King. Good times!

Some disclaimers. I saw the movie after a night of drinking and a White Castle run. I admit I probably missed some key plot points during one of my 3 bathroom/ smoke breaks, but I think I got the gist of it. Shout out to the Asian guy in my row who did not look annoyed at my constant leaving, or the fact that I put my hand on his leg during one of the love scenes. Basically the plot is, Bradley Cooper (Jackson Maine) is a hard-drinking country star (how original a country musician who drinks too much!), who meets a talented unknown singer some Italian name? (Lady Gaga). He helps jump-start her career, they do the nasty a few times, and some shit happens.

Cooper also directed this movie according to the Internet! For a guy from the Hangover movies, he does better than expected with a singing role, but at a certain point I grew tired of his auto tuned country voice. I didn’t get why Cooper’s character drinks as much as he does? He just likes to party? Is he addicted and has to drink? Is he Irish? I thought they could have elaborated on this a bit more (maybe they did, like I said I went to the bathroom 4 times, and was a little high during the movie).

Things I loved-Gaga crushes this role. I can’t believe how Italian Lady Gaga looks and sounds in this movie. I surprise she doesn’t have a couple scenes where she eats pasta or talks about the Sopranos. Her early scenes singing are dynamite. I haven’t been impressed by someone’s natural talent, since I first laid eyes on a young Eric Trump in an Apprentice episode where they open a Lady Foot locker. Her performance will surely get some Oscar attention, but how would I know, I’ve only seen like 3 movies this year. Andrew Dice Clay does a bang-up job in his role as Gaga’s father/ biggest fan. Sam Elliot plays Bradley Cooper’s brother/ manager. This is a great role for Sam Elliot since he seems like he has been 65 years old since his performance in Roadhouse 30 years ago.

Qualm 1- I found the title quite misleading, because at no point in the movie does anyone give birth and I did not see any discussion of astronomy.

Qualm 2-There are some clichés that might get an eye roll or two. For example, I’d like to see a movie, where a character says they write their own songs, and they start to sing one, and it’s terrible. Like, yeah great song Denise, but don’t quit your day job! Better leave it to the experts like Taylor Swift.

There is some nudity in this movie, if you are in to that sort of thing, but unfortunately, you don’t get to see Sam Elliot’s nut sack, so better luck next movie mejo!

I give this movie an A-. Thanks for reading losers!

First Man

Hey C-movies fans!  Sorry for the delay in posts. I’ve been rearing a child and it turns out that some of you actually read this thing, so I’ll try to be more consistent!

Let’s dive into the latest flick I saw in the theater, First Man.  Hollywood has punched out more space movies in the last few years than Brett Kavanaugh punched out women at Yale, so you would understand if movie goers have a bit of space fatigue as of late.  By nature, and because I’m super smart and science was my true calling (not really – my toddler has a better understanding of physics than me), I have an abundant interest in space and space exploration.  Where did we come from?  What is out there in the vast universe for us to discover – what’s BEYOND the universe?  Why haven’t the Vikings won a Super Bowl in this version of our universe?  Do my friends actually respect me in another dimension?  Because of these questions, I am captivated by movies and books about the final frontier and what we’re doing to explore it.  That last sentence isn’t really true.  I’ve only read one book about space written by Stephen Hawking and didn’t really understand it. It might as well been written in Mandarin.  Because of this, I tend to rely on film for my knowledge about space, which probably isn’t smart, but I digress.  8th grade science was actually fun for me when we studied the solar system and I thoroughly enjoyed Astronomy 101 at the prestigious Minnesota State – Mankato.  Plus, I follow Neil deGrasse Tyson on twitter and watched his fantastic 10 part documentary, Cosmos.  If you haven’t seen Cosmos, you’re forgiven, but you’re not taking your space knowledge serious enough and I hate you.

Anyway, as stated above, the world of film has recently given us the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Matt Damon’s The Martian, Jennifer Lawrence’s Passengers, and Gravity, starring a talented yet unattractive Sandra Bullock.  Interstellar gave us insight into why one day we may need to leave our planet and why space-exploration beyond our solar system may be inevitable, mainly because Trump thinks Climate Change is as real at Batman.  The Martian gave us an interesting ride about the first planet that Earthlings may surface, and Matt Damon is cute.  And Sandra Bullock gave us, well, a too dependent CGI driven space survivor story.  Gravity was like watching a dick go limp for me outside of the special effects, but it did give us some insight into how dangerous and desolate space can be.  So, with all of these recent space movies, how was First Man going to stand out?  What’s the differentiator here?

The good news is that it WAS different.  Rather than take us to a futuristic world, say from Passengers, where the characters are set in a space-sleeper ship traveling 120 years to a new planet, we go backwards.  We’re dropped into the early 1960s before man has even learned to orbit (note – the Russians actually achieved first orbit in 1961 by fueling their spaceships with vodka).  What First Man does is set the stage to all the aforementioned flicks and for the first time in recent film, asks why?  Why was space travel important at its conception?  It also shows us the barriers that the government, NASA and its fearless astronauts faced from the general public.  Why spend valuable tax payer dollars on something as ‘stupid’ as landing on the moon?  How many lives must be sacrificed before we give up on this ridiculous notion?  Will getting to the moon help Buxton and Sano realize their potential in 2019?  Solve balding issues for many of my 36-year-old friends?  No, probably not.  But without our fearless pioneers Neil Armstrong and the rest of the NASA crew, we wouldn’t have taken that first giant leap for mankind.  Neil Armstrong’s personal answer to the question of ‘why,’ when being interviewed by NASA?  He explains that “leaving the planet, and seeing how the thin the atmosphere is all that is protecting us, seeing it with one’s own eyes, gives a different perspective to how fragile human life is.”  That’s good enough for me!

With that said, the dilemma with already knowing the ending to this film – part of me wanted the Millennium Falcon to shoot Apollo 11 out of the sky before orbiting the moon – is we already know the moon landing was a success.  Well, unless you’re a conspiracy believer and are certain the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage in London directed by Stanley Kubrick.  But because we know the moon landing was successful, what can keep us engaged?  Well, an unfortunate family catastrophe and some serious claustrophobic scenes certainly keeps the viewer locked in, and then some.  Before First Man, I never knew Neil Armstrong had a daughter that died of a brain tumor at the young age of two.  As a father to a daughter, I’m glad I can’t empathize with the pain Ryan Gosling (who plays Armstrong) is carrying throughout the entire film.  It gives us a deeper understanding of his motivation, and why doing something so extraordinary can be originated from such a tragic event.  It makes you feel for the characters, especially Armstrong’s wife, who has already lost a daughter, and is forever in fear of losing her husband in a fiery space explosion.  This all sets the stage for a rewarding finale on the moon with Armstrong by his lonesome (I won’t ruin what this is).

In addition to helping us identify with the characters, Damien Chazelle (Director) gives us some insane space sequences.  The genius with these scenes, and what makes it unlike other recent space scenes, is that most of these scenes are shot from inside the space shuttles or rovers.  We’re given a taste of what it’s like to be sitting horizontally in a cockpit which sits upon 203,000 gallons of jet fuel before hitting 24,000 miles per hour in less than 20 seconds.  I’d pass out harder from those G-forces than I did at my 21st birthday.  Also, you can hear the screws and metal shaking from inside a shuttle that had less technology than a TI-85 calculator from 1990.  It’s an unnerving feeling, as we begin to relate to a time when space travel was in its infancy and simply going beyond our atmosphere was not the standard practice that it is today. As a viewer, you now know the danger Neil Armstrong was in and the courage it took to be the First Man.

So, in the end, should you see it?  As my buddy Nate pointed out, it’s not nearly as realistic as Armageddon, but it’s pretty damn good.