Wednesday, 7 January 2009

What a picture...

One thing that I watched over the holidays was the film 'Ray' about the singer and musician Ray Charles. It's not a new film (it came out in 2004, directed by Taylor Hackford) but it's one I've been meaning to see for ages and one good thing about the Xmas holidays is the chance to catch up on some TV and films. I do watch biopics now and again (most often music-related but not always) and I'm not even sure quite why I do! They can be very disappointing – tale after tale of drinking and drugtaking and upsetting the family - and yet still I keep trying them. They are a bit of a lazy viewing experience I suppose but that makes them perfect material for the end of the busy Xmas season (she said...making excuses). And it could be worse...I could be watching 'Celebrity Big Brother'...and I'm not...well only one programme so far...Terry Christian surprisingly funny, Tommy Sheridan desperate to improve his terrible image and be a regular guy, lots of women talking too much about nothing...so what's new, you say...

But back to real talent! I loved all the music in 'Ray' and Jamie Foxx (no relation) did a great job in the lead role so I felt it was a biopic well worth watching despite the obligatory 'musician takes drugs, wife screams at musician for taking drugs, musician has lots of affairs' scenes. After all Ray Charles was a heroin addict for twenty years and had children by 10 different women (at least...) so it would have been stranger to ignore some of his extracurricular activities perhaps. The team behind the film were obviously great RC fans so the idea of Ray Charles as musical genius came through very strongly and it did make me want to listen to more of his music (especially the livelier stuff where he does wonderful things with the piano!). Charles himself was involved with the film (although he died before it was released) and I think that, whilst it had its clumsy moments, overall it was interesting and it was particularly good on what it was like for him in the early stages of his career. He managed to succeed (and succeed resoundingly) against quite a lot of odds and the film doesn't do at all badly at getting that over to the audience.

One of the problems I find with biopics in general is that they can feel like they're running a race sometimes. It's like the film makers get too keen and try to get in as much as they can from the subject's life and so they pack in too many scenes and end up with a frenzied, hectic end-product with no pauses for thought. One perfect example of this was the more-or-less Carole King biopic 'Grace of my Heart'(1996 Allison Anders). Its main character was not called Carole King but its 'Denise Waverly' had a very similar career path through songwriting and record releases. The film was a real let-down because it was in such a hurry that the scenes just seemed to fly by and it almost felt like I could hear a whistle and a shout of 'next stage of life, new boyfriend' every ten minutes. It must be really weird to watch a film like this about yourself...whole years crashing by in short segments, nervous breakdowns and marriage breakdowns and drug overdoses going off like flashguns all over the place. The sort-of Supremes biopic ('Dreamgirls' 2006 dir. Bill Condon) was equally overpacked (and overlong) I felt. By the time it got to the later sections of the film I found it very difficult to care less about any of the characters no matter how grasping or virtuous they were. It was just too much (some great performances though).

For other reasons I was disappointed by 'Walk the Line' (2005, dir James Mangold), the Johnny Cash biopic. All Joaquin Phoenix as Cash seemed to do was take pills and fall over. Likewise Jackson Pollock in 'Pollock' (2000 directed by and starring Ed Harris) – drinking and driving, drinking and driving...didn't he do anything else? You know that the subjects of these films did abuse pills or alcohol but do you need to see it over and over in the films? It isn't that interesting to watch and isn't there anything else to say? One reason I liked 'Ray' was that the drug use didn't dominate the film – it was there but the music was more important and the film made that very clear.

So which are your favourite (and least favourite) biopics? They can be about musicians or artists or writers or scientists or politicians or...anybody. Have I missed any really good ones? Which should we all avoid at all costs?


p.s. I have, of course, seen Gwyneth Paltrow as Plath in 'Sylvia' (2004 dir. Christine Jeffs) – but we always seem to be mentioning SP so I have not done so this time! Well until now...I didn't think la Paltrow did a bad job, considering. Fairly dull tale though with no poems to break up the misery!

66 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

Yet another documentary on Johnny Cash on Sky right now... more drugs, drink and smashing up hotel rooms with an axe...

Thought 'Walking The Line' was a lot better than you make out, though!

One of the great things about him is that he DID quit in the end - and made those last 3 wonderful records...

Rachel Fox said...

Did he quit in the end (in the film)? I had stopped caring by then perhaps! Maybe I'm just less of a Cash fan...the film certainly didn't make me want to listen to more. And there had been such a huge amount of hype for 'Walk the Line'...maybe one reason I found it disappointing too. Too much hype can be a negative influence in the end...few films can live up to it!

Poetikat said...

A couple I can think of that I really liked are: Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker in :"Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle". (Alan Rudolph) I saw it in 1994 and may well have different feelings about it now, but at the time I thought she did a brilliant job.

I loved Anthony Hopkins in "Surviving Picasso" (James Ivory)
(oddly enough, both of these films only get a 6.1 out of 10 on the IMdb. Oh well.)
Although not a big-screen film, I really enjoyed Kenneth Branagh as "Shackleton"(Charles Sturridge). Mind you, it's usually the supporting cast that really pulls it all together, isn't it?

I did feel they were over-ambitious with the reams of material for the Edith Piaf biopic, but Marion Cotillard was amazing!

Kat

Rachel Fox said...

The Parker one sounds interesting, Kat. I have seen quite a lot of Rudolph's movies (I loved them when I was a student) but not that one. Great tip!

I can't remember if I've seen the Picasso one or a documentary about him.

The Piaf one is on my 'to watch' list...maybe I'll get to it next Xmas.

And Kenneth Branagh...there's something about him that always puts me off his projects. I can't quite put my finger on what it is either. He makes my eyes twitch!
x

Sorlil said...

I think the Tina Turner biopic 'What's love got to do with it' is very well done. Isn't there another really good film about a '60's singer who was beat up by her husband, I've got a total mind blank on it.

I remember thinking the Karen Carpenter one was very moving also but it was over a decade ago that I watched it so I dunno if I'd think it was any good if I watched it now.

Rachel Fox said...

Well done, Sorlil, for not getting distracted with Plath on this one!

I watched the Tina Turner 'What's love got to do with it' years ago and do remember it was quite powerful (like the woman herself!). I hadn't realised it was directed by Brian Gibson - I was watching his 'Still Crazy' the other night...I'd watched it once and not thought much of it but gave it another go and laughed more second time around.

'The Karen Carpenter Story' was a TV movie and so not quite such a major project as some of these others. Maybe there will be a feature movie for her yet. I remember watching this one once in the dim and distant past...I think it was one very weird Hogmanay...

x

Poetikat said...

Yes. I can't say I'm a huge Branagh fan, but this depiction of the crew and their quest is really well done.

Kat

Rachel Fox said...

OK, Kat, you've convinced me to give it a try!
x

Rachel Fox said...

I've just been looking at Brian Gibson's movie list. I hadn't realised he wrote and directed 'Breaking Glass' (1980). I loved that film when I saw it first! It's fairly dated but still fun to watch on the whole. Gibson died in 2004.

The Solitary Walker said...

Was that 'Coalminer's Daughter' about Loretta Lynn, Sorlil?

BarbaraS said...

I know what you mean about Walk The Line: although 'whackin' Phoenix was good to look at, I too felt that the drugs thing was, well, definitely a strong overtone. I did enjoy moments from it, but would have liked to seen more from later in his life.

Rachel Fox said...

You confused me for a minute there, Barbara, with that talking of whacking. I thought he had a porn career I'd not heard of or something...then I reread it!

I think Jamie Foxx's undeniable charms helped me enjoy 'Ray' too...Outrageous admissions from the lady poets...

x

Sorlil said...

Oh yeah, I really liked the Loretta Lynn one also. And there's that great film about the maths genius - A Beautiful Mind. I'm sure I'll think of others, I enjoy watching biopics.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I thought 'A Beautiful Mind' was good, Sorlil - much better than I expected plus it even surprised me at the end (doesn't happen often!). I'm not particularly a Russell Crow fan either (I have friends who love him...never got that!).

Sorlil said...

Oh I don't like Russell Crow at all but I managed to forget his public personality when he played the role in A Beautiful Mind, must mean he's a good actor eh?

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, better than I thought before I saw that film!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Film of Plath without poems - did I read that right Rachel?
Am loving your poetry in the book you sent me, Rachel.

Ken Armstrong said...

I like biographical movies - the one about the gladiator and the one about the shark were particularly good. Kat frequently calls it good - Shackleton is very good indeed, it's a truly remarkable story. I also liked 'Longitude' which was TV by the same people I think. One other TV biopic - Deep Water, about Donald Crowhurst. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460766/ striking, sad and generally wonderful.

I'm sure I love loads but my head is a blank right now, perhaps I need my drugs...

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, Weaver. They did not get permission to use any of Plath's poems in the film. Others know more about this than me. I was reading it again somewhere the other day (blog called Green Ink).

Glad you're enjoying my book. I haven't had any enquiries about a biopic yet...thank goodness! I think I might have to rewrite some history...

Hugh McMillan did a post not long back about who we would all like to play us in our own biopics. Far too much time on his hands!

And Ken - the one about the gladiator and the one about the shark? Are 'Gladiator' and 'Shark's Tale' true life stories then? I am surprised.


x

Sorlil said...

I thought Paltrow did a good job of Plath but, as you said, the film was doomed from the start without permission to use the poetry. I also thought they dreadfully miscast Hughes. Which is why I never mentioned the film :)

Rachel Fox said...

And you were doing so well! OK then - who would have been your Ted?
x

Sorlil said...

Hmmm struggling to come up with anyone, Daniel Day-Lewis maybe?

Rachel Fox said...

He was the one I thought of first too.

Rachel Fox said...

And now we have mentioned 'Sylvia'...I can see why Frieda Hughes might not have been keen on the film idea. Would I like the idea of thousands of people watching an actor pretend to be my desperate parent committing suicide? I can tell you (with confidence) that the answer is a big, fat no. You carry it about your whole life as it is! Great big heavy weight, it is too.

Sorlil said...

It's little wonder that you empathise with Frieda Hughes. Yet she knew they would make the film regardless so do you not think it would have been better for her if she had participated and therefore had some control over how the story was executed? After all it could have been a great platform for Plath's poetry to reach a non-poetry reading audience.

hope said...

Jamie Foxx did a fantastic job...did you realize he did the singing and piano playing himself? He's known for his comedic talent in the States but he pulled out all the stops for this one.

Skipped the Cash saga...just didn't interest me for some reason.

One of those most moving films I've ever seen is "The Sea Inside" with Javier Bardem. I didn't plan to watch more than 10 minutes... after all he plays a quadraplegic in a "death with dignity" story. Hardly cheerful. But Bardem, at his most physically unattractive I might add, just pulled me in and I couldn't stop watching. It was one of those rare moments when who we are as people outshines what the external package looks like to others.

Rachel Fox said...

Hope - I loved that film! I watched it last year some time and it was pretty much the best film I saw in 08 (it was made in 04...I get there eventually!). I didn't know it was based on a true story.

And Sorlil...would it have been better for FH to participate with the film 'Sylvia'? I think it was her decision to make and none of us can really imagine what led her to her decision on the matter. Sure I have had a similar experience in some ways but in others I got off very lightly. Our family sadness is still largely private - hers is one of the most public in the world. People feel like they own her mother and have rights to her - FH never really even knew her. Plus there is the matter of her father to consider and his portrayal in the film. It's very complicated. What I do know is that for the child in these situations you don't know 'what really happened' - you were too young to be aware of details - and so how would you know what was right and what was not. It may just confuse you more. You might want to think about your own life for a change!

As for getting a bigger audience/readership for Plath. She is one female poet who never seems to suffer in that regard at least!

I remember in 6th form we studied TS Eliot and I was outraged that his estate (his second wife?) wouldn't release his private papers so we could study the details of his life, first marriage etc. as well as his poetry. Now, twenty plus years on, I can see why a person might do that, might want a little privacy. Sometimes fans can be greedy!

x

Sorlil said...

"Sometimes fans can be greedy" - I agree with you here and unfortunately that has been the case with Plath.

swiss said...

i rather liked daniel craig as hughes.

other bios - enjoyed the diving bell and the butterfly. always been a sucker for the glenn miller story. liked johnny depp in finding neverland.

sleeper favourites owuld include the very funny kinsey and the sort of diane arbus biopic that isn't - fur

most favourite of all, mainly because it's a fake biopic filled with portrayals of real musicians, count 'em - walk hard : the dewey cox story. miss it at your peril

Rachel Fox said...

'Walk Hard' sounds like my cup of...biopic! I will look out for that. I don't keep up-to-date with films at all these days so I had heard the name but had not really registered what it was. It sounds great.

Some other interesting titles too - most I haven't seen. I did catch 'Finding Neverland' and did enjoy it - slushy ending and all. Perhaps one reason it works is that it is only part biopic - it does endeavour to have a story of its own too and it doesn't pretend to be a whole life in one and half hours.

x

Rachel Fox said...

Strong words on 'Walk the Line', Dave! And the first comment on here thought I was too harsh on it...

I just remembered an old biopic from my younger days - 'Sid and Nancy'! That came out in the days when I saw films at the cinema (hardly ever do now). Last film I saw at the cinema...'High School Musical 3'! I don't think that is anyone's true life story but Small Girl loved it and why wouldn't she - everyone's friendly except the one mean girl who gets her comeuppance every time and everything is solved with a song. Ah, the Magical Kingdom of teeny pop...
x

Rachel Fox said...

Now my last comment doesn't make sense...because Dave King put his comment to this post on the wrong one! Here is what should have been above my last comment!
x
Dave King said...
I'm not a great movie-goer, but I loved reading your post. Two other points: I thought Walk the Line perhaps the most disappointing (for mr) film of all time; and I do agree with your point re the tendency to pack biopics with more information than they can carry successfully.

Everyone clear?
x

The Solitary Walker said...

No hostages there, Dave! Gosh, if Walking The Line is the most disappointing film OF ALL TIME, where does that put Dances With Wolves, Heaven's Gate, Hearts Of Fire... oh, and probably 10,000 more whose names will come to me like a bad dream when I've just left this comment, no doubt!

Rachel Fox said...

Well, there's a post subject for a rainy day...

And there's no 'ing' in it you know, SW.
x

Jim Murdoch said...

I think the first biopic I was probably aware of was The Miracle Worker where Patty Duke played the blind and deaf Helen Keller. I gave a copy to my daughter a while back too.

After that The Glenn Miller Story, which was very idealised but I can't pretend I don't love the film and I've long had a soft spot for June Allyson.

Of the ones I hate, there are so many, but the last one was Lucy, a biopic of Lucille Ball. The actress worked her socks off but Ball was a one-off. I felt the same when Geoffrey Hutchings landed the role of Sid James in Cor Blimey although he did get the laugh down pat. Adam Godley similarly had a hard time playing Kenneth Williams in the same film although Michael Sheen's performance in Fabulosa was better and worthy of the best actor award he won.

Currently I'm enjoying the BBC adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. It's been many years since I read it so I'd forgotten mostly everything but the young actress is very … vital.

The two biopics I'd like to see are Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman – who was excellent – and Infamous where Toby Jones apparently tops that performance.

Rachel Fox said...

Interesting selection, Jim. I was thinking about the Capote films this morning. I saw 'Capote' but couldn't get too excited about it. Just not really my kind of story I suppose.

I agree that Michael Sheen as Kenneth Williams was very good and it was an interesting play. I liked Sheen as Blair in 'The Queen' too though I think maybe he made Blair into too much of a good guy. Maybe Sheen should have been PM instead.

A little bit of politics...as Ben Elton used to say.

x

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing?

Rachel Fox said...

Hi Leon
I'm doing pretty rubbish today. Someone I know has to have emergency brain surgery on Monday. They're a long way away too.
Not the best of days.
But thanks for asking...
Have I come across you before or are you just the friendly type?

Ken Armstrong said...

Leon asked me how I was doing too.

It's great to have someone who cares...

People: don't lose my 'Deep Water' recommendation, in the middle of this wealth of biopic information. Perhaps is doesn't qualify as the guy is not a household name but it's another amazing true story, very atmospherically told.

Yes, Leon, really, I'm fine...

Rachel Fox said...

I looked up your film, Ken. Sounds like the kind of thing my man might like (and the kind of thing that will add to my neverending list of anxieties!). We probably will catch it when we can.
x

Art Durkee said...

I liked "Pollock" although I acknowledge some of the flaws you discuss in general. I don't really watch biopics that have nothing to do with the arts; who gives a damn about politicians' biographies? (Although I've heard the John Adams biopic was supposed to be very good.)

My favorite biopic at the moment is "Running Down a Dream," a four-hour documentary about Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. A really good biopic is the posthumous "Hereafter," about Glenn Gould. The Dylan collage-biopic "I'm Not There" was pretty good, too.

There's a whole cable channel in the US called "Bio," which is a biography channel. They show lots of music biopics, as well as others, and have a series called "Biography" that is essentially an hour-long biopic each episode.

The "Biography" series is formulaic. After you watch several you get the formula. You know that at the end of the third act there's going to be something tragic or a downfall and "darkest days" moment of some kind. Then in the fourth act there's going to be a redemption, or a recovery, and some kind of feel-good (bruised and battered but not beaten) summation and lessons-learned moment.

These biopics are not meant to be true biographies. They're meant to make us feel better about ourselves. That is their purpose, and the fundamental truth of their making. They must present conflict and drama—you'll never see a biopic made about an artist who didn't have some "bete noire" on their backs, because drama and conflict are what movie producers (and most bad novelists) think drive narrative in film, even biopics, even documentaries. A placid, fulfilled life of some artist like Eudora Welty almost never gets made into a biopic. Or if it does, the drama will be heightened and distorted out of context and proportion.

These biopics and shows like "Biography" feed the need many people feel to live vicariously through the lives of celebrities, rather than living their own lives to the fullest extent. They are symptoms (and recursive sustainers) of our celebrity culture (which includes the rise of People magazine and the paparazzi) and the cult of personality, a very 20th C. phenomenon only exacerbated by the new media technologies.

Who gives a shit what Paris Hilton is doing? But she's famous for being famous (as Andy Warhol de facto warned us that celebrity culture would lead to), so she gets airtime, and will eventually get a biopic of some kind, while far better and more interesting people never will.

Art Durkee said...

"Walk the Line" only covers the period in Cash's life until he met June Carter, fell in love, and turned his life around. This was in the early 1970s. Cash himself said that he lived with one foot in Hell and the other foot in the river Jordan; and he also attributed his desire for giving up the pills to his wife, who was his moral compass and guide thereafter.

There are a couple of good new documentaries on Cash, which I've seen on PBS here. I have one of them on DVD and am looking for the other one. The one I have is "Johnny Cash's America." The other one, which I've seen but don't have, has a lot of archival footage, and includes some newly-discovered footage of Cash ruminating on his past, as he visits his birthplace and other places that meant something to him along the road. Good stuff.

Cash made four last albums with producer Rick Rubin, in his final years. They're among the best things he ever did.

Rachel Fox said...

This is turning into a marathon comment session! Films are something we can all talk about I think...

Thanks for some of those tips Art - the Gould sounds good and I had wondered about the Dylan thing.

I don't watch a lot of biopics (maybe a couple a year) and I try to watch interesting (rather than sensationalist) ones. I don't really mind whether they're about artists or ambulance drivers but I try to watch one where the story is told in an interesting way. I do tend to watch musicians' ones most of all I suppose - best soundtracks often. And a good soundtrack can make a movie!

As for Cash - I'm not a big fan as yet and I hoped the film might help me understand why he's so adored. As yet I am still waiting for that particular enlightenment! I don't dislike his music - it just hasn't lit my fire as yet. Maybe it will one day, maybe it won't.

x

The Solitary Walker said...

Agree with that excellent comment by Art Durkee about this.

Looking forward to a biopic of Eudora Welty very much. A little normality and "boring" everydayness would be strangely stimulating after all those drugs, affairs, violent hotel room incidents etc.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Leon just came to say hi to me too.

I'm not the biopic type, but I loved The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a very moving beautifully made film.

Rachel Fox said...

Well, I'd never heard of Welty before today so it was worth doing this blog just for that.

And that's a couple of votes for 'The Diving Bell..' so that one will have to go on my list to watch. Just as my list was getting shorter after xmas too...

Poetikat said...

I quite liked Craig in "Sylvia", but since someone mentioned Day-Lewis, I'd like to see that more. Anyone wish to change out Paltrow for someone better?

Kat

Dick said...

On the nail: Judi Dench as Iris Murdoch and Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis. Gloriously flawed: Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence.

hope said...

Yeah, Leon really gets around evidently.

Poetikat said...

Oh Rachel - not a fan of Johnny Cash? Listen to the album, "Murder".

Kat

Art Durkee said...

Cash is something you have to grow into, after a bit of your own hard living. It's a theory, anyway.

Never heard of Eudora Welty? She's one of the great short story writers of the 20th C. She was a Southerner who wrote of Southern families and life, but she had a way of making the mundane into the universal and epic, while never writing in any overblown way. I saw her read a story and give a lecture, once, when I was in college. It was a wonderful evening. She had a sharp and witty sense of humor.

Rachel Fox said...

More comments! This one is a monster...

Welty sounds just up my avenue, Art.

As for Cash...I've certainly done a bit of hard living. Obviously not enough. Part of it is that his actual voice hasn't quite grabbed my ears as yet. He might be one where I prefer his songs sung by someone else. There are so many singers that I DO like and who I could listen to forever and several days. But I will try 'Murder' Kat and see how that goes.

As for who should've been Ted Hughes. I liked Craig's performance but am not a big follower of Hughes (work or life) so don't have a strong view on whether he was 'right' or not. As I say it was one of those films...I didn't really want to watch it but it was on late one night and I was up and so I ended up watching it...as I knew I would.

x

The Solitary Walker said...

Just awoke with these lines walking round my head...

That modest and moral Eudora
Wouldn't swear even though you'd implore her
Her virtuous life
Had so little strife -
That's why biopic makers ignore her!

No? Oh well - at least it's another contribution to potentially the longest comment string in blogging history.

Rachel Fox said...

Very good!

We may have to publish this post and comments as a book if this goes on any longer. I saw the word 'wovel' in the paper yesterday...plus people complaining about it. I have to say I really like silly made-up words (especially when they wind others up). SG and I have been reading Michael Rosen nonsense poems this morning. Hurray for nonsense!

x

Liz said...

Rachel, 54 comments?¿ - this is the stuff of marathon sessions - well done for working up such reaction : )
Just to say that I saw Milk last night with Sean Penn - the story of California's first openly gay elected official...not a music person (great opera in the film though!) but boy oh boy is this film so worth it - Sean Penn is brillaint!
x

Rachel Fox said...

Well maybe half the comments are me Liz so if we take them out it doesn't sound so hefty!

'Milk's good you say. The way I watch films I'll see it in around 2012!

Sorlil said...

Julia Stiles is starring in an adaptation of Plath's The Bell Jar but I've always thought she would have made a good Plath in the Sylvia film.

Rachel Fox said...

This is going to run and run it seems.

On a completely different film tack I watched 'Camp Rock' with Small Girl last night (the latest from the High School Musical factory). We're a bit behind the times - the rest of her class saw it, like, totally months ago. Now there's a film that has nothing to do with anyone's real life! I can't say I noticed any rock in it either. I saw pop, pop and more pop and a young man with very severe eyebrows who needed to pull his jeans up. The girl lead smiled till her cheeks nearly popped. Quite revolting. The evil girl was a rich blonde again.

Why do I watch with her you ask? Because she'll be asking me a million questions afterwards anyway and she won't stop just because I say I don't know. Also I like to check for unpleasant propaganda so I can give her the counter balance!

Poetikat said...

Can I just throw something totally off-topic out here? I heard the song, "S.O.S" by Abba this morning and it made me think of the movie, "Mamma Mia". I've not seen it and really don't have any intention of seeing it - I've not seen the stage show either (much as my mother would love me to give in and go).
Is it just me? I used to enjoy the odd Abba song when they were in their heyday, but the whole "Mamma Mia" phenomenon just escapes me. Anyone else?

Kat

Sorlil said...

Just because I wanted to be comment 60 :)

Rachel Fox said...

Saturday night 60, Sorlil, your new CB Radio handle (or something).

Oh Kat, Mamma Mia. Can millions of people be wrong? Why yes of course they can. ABBA wrote a lot of successful and somehow unusual pop songs and they are still the kind of songs that make my Mum (84) tap her feet (and she hates pop) and my daughter (8) dance about. The show/film is a very weak device that allows people (largely women it must be said) to enjoy these silly but harmless songs again and again and again (although I would say they are more enjoyable for all when not sung by Pierce Brosnan). I did see the film with a group of female family members (for the experience...some were very excited, some less so) and in a way it makes me laugh that so many people are basically going to see a story about a woman who had sex with 3 guys in a month (nothing wrong with that...but fairly different to the storylines in other modern family entertainment stories...in 'Camp Rock' no-one is having sex with anyone I can assure you of that!). I had to explain to Small Girl at length how it might be possible for the Mum to not know which one was the girl's father. I don't mind explaining stuff like that (I'm all for honesty about such matters) but I'm sure some parents come unstuck on this one! Some very young kids are watching this movie over and over and over. Interesting.

x

Art Durkee said...

I look forward to seeing "Milk." But it won't be coming to my small rural town in the upper Midwest. Too conservative here to have enough of a demographic to care, I suppose. So I'll either get up to the big city soon, or buy it on DVD.

Hey, it was filmed in San Francisco. I always watch things filmed in San Francisco. I lived in the SF area for a couple of years, and I still love seeing the place on film.

BTW, not really biopics, but sort of related to them, and to music: I've been really enjoying watching "Spectacle: Elvis Costello with...." on Sundance Channel. He interviews famous people, musicians, and some others, all who have a connection to or interest in music. Then he gets them to perform, and sits in, some of the time. Last week he did a great show with Tony Bennett. This week it's The Police.

I guess it's more documentary in some ways. But then, I live documentaries more than most biopics, anyway.

Rachel Fox said...

That does sound like a good series, Art. I'll look out for that one here.

x

deemikay said...

As an 11 year old I was inspired to start playing trombone by Jimmy Stewart in The Glenn Miller Story. But then I realised people playing guitar had more fun...

That's the only biopic I can think of that's had a big effect on me.

Oh, and mayb Lawrence of Arabia. It made me fall in love with deserts. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Playing trombone in the desert...now there's a poem in the making!

deemikay said...

Trombone in the desert... hmmm... I may work on it. :)