Saturday, September 15, 2007

Paul McCartney Must Be Turning Over in His Grave

In honour of the release of Across the Universe -- or as it will soon be known, Sgt. Pepper The Movie Without The Bee Gees -- The Associated Press asked various Film Festival attendees what their favorite Beatles song is.

Jimmy Carter gives by far the dumbest answer -- "Imagine" is not a Beatles song, it's not profound, and its popularity in Cuba doesn't mean what he seems to think it means -- which is good, because sometimes I think I'm getting too politically one-sided and it helps to be reminded that I find Jimmy Carter annoying.

Runner-up for dumbest answer, only because he at least named an actual Beatles album beforehand, is Michael Douglas, who also names "Imagine" and pretends that he wants a world without possessions. He doesn't.

Jude Law's comment is more apropos: "No, it wouldn't be 'Hey Jude.' I've got so many memories of that song being played. Thank God, it's a good song. It would be terrible to be named after an awful song."

The good thing about the Beatles is that in spite of the air of '60s Boomer nostalgia that surrounds a lot of discussion of their work -- hence movies like Across the Universe and various Boomers who think "Imagine" is profound -- the actual songs really do transcend the period in a way that a lot of iconic '60s music and entertainment doesn't. I attribute this to the songwriting of Lennon/McCartney and Harrison, who always seemed to go for fairly timeless themes and influences, whether it's the traditional AABA pop-song structures they used, or McCartney's various pastiches of every style of popular song, or Lennon's Lewis Carroll nonsense lyrics. (The Lewis Carroll influence means that whereas most '60s "psychedelic" songs sound horribly dated, something like "I Am the Walrus" feels sort of timeless because it actually has its roots in 19th century nonsense verse.) That may be why movies and revues don't usually succeed when they try to put these songs in the context of the '60s mythology -- these songs aren't really '60s songs any more.

14 comments:

John said...

Hey, it could have been worse -- Carter could have said his favorite Beatles song is "The Girl Is Mine".

Booksteve said...

Yeah, I read those comments on the songs elsewhere last night and cringed at both IMAGINE references, too. Guess I could give it to Jimmy but Michael Douglas was young and hip in the sixties and should know better!

Rob G. said...

The title of this post made me laugh out loud.

Great post, btw. Even though I've totally burnt myself out on the Beatles, I'll agree their music does transcend most of that of their peers.

At least no one said their favorite Beatles song was "I'm a Believer."

Anthony Strand said...

What a bizarre sampling of people. Still, points to Ryan Gosling for choosing something as obscure and terrific as "Here, There and Everywhere".

And I have to say, Across the Universe looks like the biggest train wreck ever. The trailer actually contains the line "There's a revolution going on out there, Jude!" And I can only imagine the whole movie will be just like that.

Jorge Garrido said...

I've always hated those damn Beatles.

VP81955 said...

We seem to forget how much time has elapsed...it's been 37 years since the Beatles broke up, 43 years since they hit it big in America. In 1970, going back 37 years put you in the era of Russ Columbo, and going back 43 was when Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic and Babe Ruth was hitting 60 home runs.

Galen Fott said...

Just wanted to point out that "Across the Universe" is far from a critical bomb; it's gotten some very positive reviews too, including a rave from the NY Times and four stars from Roger Ebert. Sounds like a love it/hate it proposition to me. Looking forward to it, meself!

Tom said...

"Across the Universe" is getting a critical free pass because of Julie Taymor's artistic cred. Does anyone remember the 1970's Twentieth Century Fox abomination "All this and World War II?" That one, conceived by some film executive, combined Beatles songs with stock footage of Germans, Japanese and Allied troops in combat. It's presumably buried in the same 'do not release' Hollywood vault as "Skiddoo"...

Katie6 said...

I personally thought that Across the Universe was absolutely fantastic. Not only was the music great but the characters were terrific and I plan to see that movie again. Anyone who thinks that this movie was a waste of time to see, seek help at once.

jessica82 said...

HEY NEWS FASH>>>PAULS STILL ALIVE!

jessica82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jessica82 said...
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jessica82 said...

AND Across the Universe was terrific!! You dont have to be a Beatles fan to enjoy this movie, its well acted, well produced and directed, beautifully done!!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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