I check the release schedule on boxofficemojo.com a lot. Okay, I obsessively check it week to week to see the all the new new that has been added and I pretty much plan my monthly movie going happenings this way. Sometimes a film that hasn’t been on my radar at all seems to pop up out of nowhere. Yesterday, a new movie directed by Danny Boyle, had its first trailer drop this past week. From what I can gather from the three minute preview is that the film tells the story of a musician who has an accident and wakes in an alternative universe (?) where no-one has heard of the Beatles; he begins to perform their songs and achieves huge success.
The problem with a question like “what would music sound like today if the Beatles never existed?” is that it’s a bit like asking “what would cars look like if wheels had never been invented?
“Man, I’m glad that I’m better after my accident, but I’m not looking forward to going back to work. My boss keeps changing the outcomes for this project, and I want to tell him, ‘Stop re-inventing the wheel’.”
“Re-inventing the what?”
“Re-inventing the wheel, it’s a saying.”
“What’s a wheel?”
*dollar signs flash in protagonist’s eyes*
Yesterday is a high concept/high genre notion and well, I do like the idea of Charles Manson being influenced by The Monkees…I STILL have questions.
1) John Lennon, who presumably would not have been assassinated by a deranged fan had he remained an anonymous?
2) How do Coldplay and Ed Sheeran exist in a world in which the Beatles didn’t exist? Did some other band fill that hole in this timeline?
3) Oasis isn’t famous, right?
I mean, No Beatles=No British invasion. Also, without the Beatles, all of the British blues bands like the Stones, Yardbirds, High Numbers (Who) etc. would not have been driven to become pop artists and to excel. Without the Beatles, you’d probably have the retired postal worker seventy-something Keith Richards who liked to tell stories about the cover band he had when he was a kid, before getting a job and settling down. The Beatles set the bar VERY high, and the other British groups did their best to rise to that level, with often fantastic results. Also, we would have less white of a pop music canon without those lovable lads cribbing girl groups and Motown’s style to stardom.
I think it would be cool if Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) wakes up and tries to become a star using the Beatles songs, but finds out he just can’t because it was about more than just the material, and he will never be able to be the right band in the right place at the right time meeting the right manager and the right producer and having the right look and the right personality AND having the right material. The cultural moment of the 50-60s and the development of youth culture/pop music was bigger than just the Beatles. This guy would be a genius songwriter for sure and successful though as he mined that catalog. He’d be like basically Pharell Williams today and write songs for children’s cartoons.
Still, it looks like a charming movie, even if the premise is nothing more than a decent conversation starter for people who are high… or on the internet… or both.
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