Queen on tour — and not on the edge of splitting up — in 1984, the year before Live Aid.
And while that’s great for the band’s legacy — proof once again that its music has universal appeal — it also means that a surprising amount of untruths are now enshrined as the biography best known to the moviegoing public.
Before you dismiss that as a necessary evil of storytelling, consider this: When you dig into the band’s actual history, the true version of their tale is, in almost every instance, far more dramatically interesting. Queen was larger than life, and certainly larger than the standard-issue music biopic cliches that populate Bohemian Rhapsody.
Case in point: the band’s origin story.
As It Began
In the movie, a shy young Farrokh Bulsara (calling himself Freddie, but not yet Mercury) introduces himself to Brian May and Roger Taylor, guitarist and drummer of a band called Smile.
Smile’s lead singer Tim Staffell has quit to join another group called Humpy Bong (fact check: true). Brian and Roger are suspicious of this newcomer with the big teeth until he sings a few bars of May and Staffell’s song “Doin’ Alright.”
In real life, however, Freddie and Tim were good friends who went to the same art college. Freddie got to know Brian and Roger through Tim, and started running a flea market stall in Kensington with Roger in 1969.
Their friendship went through a year-long comedy of errors, in which Freddie became lead singer of a Liverpool-based band called Ibex, traipsing up and down England while he and the two other future members of Queen actually moved in together back in London.
Freddie quit Ibex. Tim quit Smile. And still these three lunkheads didn’t figure out for weeks that history wanted them to be in a band together.
Tell me that isn’t a perfect Hollywood meet-cute montage sequence.
The first gig
The movie shows bass player John “Deaky” Deacon joining the lineup immediately; in fact, the band would go through three bass players in quick succession before finding him.
It also features an iconic moment where Freddie gets frustrated and rips off the top half of the mic stand for more on-stage mobility; this did in fact happen, but while he was singing with Ibex……………………………………………….”
Welcome to ‘Blade Runner’ year, now where’s my damn replicant
A new life awaits you, but when?
The confetti has been swept up, the hangovers have almost faded, and there is nothing before us now but huge swathes of 2019.
Which is, as any nerd knows, the year in which the 1982 classic Blade Runner officially took place. And whatever else may happen in this likely very insane year, it’s safe to say that we have utterly failed to live up to the future we imagined back then.
Oh, sure, we created a generalized dystopian atmosphere of despair. That part was easy; we were already well on our way to crumbling infrastructure and rising inequality in the 1980s. The fact that the movie (sort of) predicted an out-of-control climate is no big whoop either; anyone working at an oil company or paying attention to scientific literature back then knew global warming was about to be a thing.
But the Ridley Scott movie, and the Philip K. Dick short story on which it was based, both anticipated major leaps and bounds in our adventurousness and our technological prowess that compensated for the gloom.
Here was a future where most people have departed years ago for “off-world colonies.” Hence the giant blimp seen advertising a new life in them to the remaining residents of grimy Los Angeles. Not only that, but we had created lifelike artificial intelligence in the form of replicants to help build those colonies. True, that part didn’t work out too well, at least not for the victims of six dying rogue replicants who fled back to Earth. But still, pretty impressive tech there, Mr. Tyrell!
On the one hand, it’s something of a relief that we are not as smart as we liked to think. Best not to have malfunctioning robots running amuck, giving poignant yet snooty speeches about all the things they’ve seen that we wouldn’t believe. On the other hand, it would be kind of nice if somebody would go far off-world and see things so they could come back and brag like a hipster about it.
Rutger Hauer, who wrote that space fantasy death monologue himself, has never explained how attack ships off the shoulder of Orion could actually catch fire in the vacuum of space. (Maybe that’s why we wouldn’t believe it.) Nevertheless, I say we build attack ships, send them to Orion, and test his hypothesis! (Spoiler alert: We won’t be visiting Orion………………………………………………………”
2018 was a fantastic year for horror movies
Please call her “Jesus Lee Curtis.”
“If you despise slasher films, hate any scene that’ll make you toss your popcorn, and flee spooky previews let alone full-length fright fests, then here’s something really terrifying: Hollywood’s horror industry is coming for you.
Whether you’ve heard it called a resurgence, a renaissance, or (ugh) scary movies “getting good,” anyone within spitting distance of a box office knows something is up with the horror genre. In the past few years, a storm of scary films with big name stars and high art aspirations has swept over theaters with support from major studios, awards committees, and mainstream audiences.
From Halloween’s victorious (and lucrative) return to a batch of original nightmares we didn’t know we needed, here’s how 2018 made the elusive, modern-day horror renaissance 100% official.
Looking back on horror history
Let’s set one thing straight right now. Horror did not—I repeat did not—“get good” in 2018. Horror has always been good, but many people are just now getting to the party. (If that’s you, totally cool. Hope you brought chips.)
In very broad strokes, horror, maybe more than any other genre, has tracked our societal anxieties like a culturally keyed in Freddy Krueger. From George Albert Smith’s 1897 short The X-Ray Fiend, depicting the unsettling abilities of then newly-invented technology, all the way to Jordan Peele’s take on racial tension in 2017’s Get Out, year after year we have seen the horror industry bottle our most prominent fears for cinematic success.
Of course, 2018 audiences think contemporary horror is the best—it’s what they’re living. But more than being topical, 2018’s horror lineup has been special because of the innovative, nuanced approaches we have seen creators take towards universal fears………………………………………………………..”
These Movies Movies Open On Christmas Day!
The annual Christmas Day movie dump isn’t much of a dump this year. Thanks to the big day’s close proximity to a Friday, the multiplexes are already flooded with fresh fare. But there’s still a ton of new content on the big screen, some of them in a theater near you.
‘Holmes & Watson’
It’s not being screened for critics, but who cares? It’s the long-awaited third team-up of Will Ferrell and the phenomenally busy John C. Reilly. What it’s not is Step Brothers 2. But them doing a goof on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved dics is close enough, especially since they’re joined by a litter of overqualified Brits: Rebecca Hall, Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Macdonald, and another dynamic duo, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, the latter Reilly’s screen partner in the biopic Stan & Ollie, which hits limited release on the 28th.
Speaking of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, Adam McKay, their director on Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, did not helm Holmes & Watson. That’s because he was busy making a movie about Dick Cheney. Like The Big Short, this is the former SNL head writer (and Anchorman guru) going serious if still slightly (if darkly) funny, cranking out a renegade biopic that never once paints its real-life protagonist as heroic, or even as a decent human being. Christian Bale gained a De Niro-in-Raging Bull amount of weight to play the former veep, shown nearly destroying the world upon becoming the de facto world leader under George W. Bush (an ideally cast Sam Rockwell). Meanwhile, there’s Steve Carell as Rumsfeld, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, and Jesse Plemons as a character we don’t want to reveal.
See the rest of the list here: https://uproxx.com/movies/christmas-day-movies-open/
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