Monday, September 7, 2009

So, who's excited for "Rock Band: The Beatles"? Who went out and bought a Wii just so they could play it? Um... anyone but me? Moving along then...

What with the release of this video game and the remastered albums (yes, all of them), in the near future, I can easily see Beatlemania reaching levels it hasn't seen since Paul McCartney's hair really was brown (You're not fooling anyone, pal), so I've decided to present

A Guide to Beatles Movies

9. Magical Mystery Tour. The boys got high and decided they could make a movie themselves. Problem was, no one told them it would be better to do so sober. Stick to the album.

8. Let It Be. Captures the tensions as the band was slowly beginning to break up, and, of course, includes the famous roof top concert. Unfortunately, this film has major structural problems, and has only received release as very badly transfered VHS, which is out of print.

7. Help! The plot (if you could call it that) was allegedly recycled from something Peter Sellers turned down, and it shows. It is probably one of the most ridiculous stories ever committed to film, but the musical numbers are great and really honed the style that would be used for music videos in the decades to come.

6. Yellow Submarine. The Beatles journey to Pepperland to rescue the inhabitants (as well as their doubles--Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) from the Blue Meanies. Yes, it is trippy, but the vintage psychedelic animation is worth it. Too bad they didn't do their own voice over work, though.

5. Anthology. The 10 or so hour mini-series that leaves few stones unturned as the (then) three surviving Beatles tell their story in their own words. Excellently done, but probably not for the casual fan.

4. The First U.S. Visit. Think a documentary version of A Hard Day's Night. Verite filmmakers David and Albert Mayseles filmed The Beatles on their first U.S. tour, but were never allowed to release it. Apple Records now owns it, and has released it under the above title, unfortunately replacing the original footage of families watching the Ed Sullivan performances with the real thing. However, it's still a really fascinating look at the band's early days.

3. Across the Universe. A musical comprised solely of Beatles music. This could have gone wrong in so many ways, but actually turned out quite good. The plot is a little cliched, but the songs are used creatively, and the relatively unknown performers were excellent.

2. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. The greatest Beatles parody ever, and possibly the greatest documentary about them. Eric Idle and Lorne Michaels made it with a little help from George Harrison, so every step the Pre-Fab Four take hilariously echos the real thing.

1. A Hard Day's Night. A fictional version of The First U.S. Visit, this film captures the Fab Four at the height of their fabness. Great, absurd British humor, and, it goes without saying, a soundtrack full of Beatles's classics, such as "And I Love Her" and "Can't Buy Me Love," the latter of which could possibly be considered the first rock video.

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