Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movies! - "He's very clean."

If you're not a fan of The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night isn't going to turn you into one. However, if you are a fan, then the movie is a must-see. Sure, there are some other Beatles movies like Yellow Submarine, Help, and Let it Be, but for my money, their first one is the best. (I'll be honest - I've never seen Magical Mystery Tour. I understand that I'm not missing very much.)

I realize that I've written about a few movies that get me all emotional, and this one is no different. No, it doesn't make me cry when Ringo goes off and hangs out by himself. This movie makes me happy. As soon as it gets started, with its oft-mimicked scene where the lads are being chased by a mob of fans, I get a smile on my face. I continue to feel good throughout the entire experience, from the silliness with Paul's "very clean" grandfather to the part where they run around a field to the tune of "Can't Buy Me Love".

I should point out that the film really doesn't have much of a story. It's best to think of it as a long-form music video. The story looks for excuses for them to play music, and even when it can't find one, they go ahead and play the music anyway. Sure, there are some funny dialogue bits in there, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo manage to do a decent job with their lines. I don't know if I'd call them actors, but they're all personable and likeable enough to keep the banter snappy. Here's a sample:

Ringo: I don't snore.
George: You do, repeatedly.
Ringo: Do I snore, John?
John: Yeah, you're a window-rattler, son.
Ringo: That's just your opinion. Do I snore, Paul?
Paul: With a trombone hooter like yours, it would be unnatural if you didn't.
Grandfather: Now, Paulie... don't mock the afflicted.
Paul: Ah, come off it, it's only a joke!
Grandfather: Aye, it may be a joke to you, but it's his nose. He can't help having a hideous great hooter! And his poor little head, trembling under the weight of it!

George: That's not your grandfather.
Paul: It is, you know.
George: But I've seen your grandfather. He lives in your house.
Paul: Oh, that's my other grandfather, but he's my grandfather, as well.
John: How do you reckon that one out?
Paul: Well, everyone's entitled to two, aren't they?

Man on train: Don't take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort.
Ringo: I bet you're sorry you won.
Of course, what really makes this movie is the music. A Hard Day's Night is the third full-length album by The Beatles, and it's probably their best one up to that point. I know that there are some people who like their early stuff, and there are others who like their later stuff. Me? I love it all, really. Still, I have to say that their third album is probably one of their most solid efforts, and there really aren't any bits that lose the momentum. (Where's the Beatles Rock Band download for that album, anyway?)

Would I call A Hard Day's Night a great movie in general? No, but it is a great movie for Beatles fans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally enough, I just watched this for the first time this past week. I agree that it’s a fun watch. I’d argue that Yellow Submarine is a better film (larger appeal, more depth, great music), but it’s a shame that the rest of the Beatles full length filmography couldn’t be half as enjoyable as either. Help? MMT? Ugh. I guess next on the list to watch is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (3.4 out of ten stars on imdb!) and The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch.

Anyway, my real two cents was an interesting factoid I uncovered when trying to figure out what the joke was about him being so “clean”. One of the hooks of the film was that it introduced several words of Liverpool slang to mainstream America, things like “cheeky” and “gear”. But along the same pursuit, they intentionally made up a slang word in hopes of it catching on and demonstrating how fashionable the band was. Yep, that word was from George’s ad agency scene: grotty (grotesque). While watching the film, I thought, “Funny, they pronounced ‘grodey’ different back then/in England.” Funnier still, it was actually because they’d made it up, and only after it caught on and time passed did it become the to-the-max-optional “grodey”.

“Legend has it that George Harrison, stuck with the job of using this word for the first time was terribly embarrassed and had to go over the scene several times before he could say it naturally”

- The Jakes