This really is an awful movie, so why do I like it? It’s corny, campy, horribly acted, terribly plotted, and just plain bad. And yet, it’s quite a piece of work to watch. Basically an excuse to cram as many Beatles songs as possible into a single film, there’s no dialogue, save for George Burns’s narration (which sounds a lot like Peter Falk in The Princess Bride). Peter Frampton plays Billy Shears, and it’s rather obvious why he and the Bee Gees never acted again. Sandy Farina is lovely as Strawberry Fields, while British comedian Frankie Howerd is over the top as Mean Mr. Mustard. Steve Martin’s humor shines, though, as a giddily wicked Dr. Maxwell.
But casting aside, the music is definitely what saves the film. Frampton and the Bee Gees have great harmony, and most of the songs are almost as good as the original versions, particularly “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “A Day in the Life,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” I would even go so far as to say I like a few of the film’s versions better, like “Strawberry Fields,” “Come Together” (my VC’s favorite), and especially Billy Preston’s rendition of “Get Back.” On the other hand, the film also butchered a couple as well, such as “Because” whined out by Alice Cooper and the way overly long “I Want You.”
Despite its abundant flaws (I’m lookin’ at you, hokey female robots), all the goings on are obviously tongue-in-cheek and, if not hilarious, at least amusing throughout. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was not that “generation’s Gone with the Wind,” as producers had hoped, but it’s the only movie on this list that is so bad that it’s good.
Best line: George Burns says, after Billy is zapped by Father Sun’s electrical system, “Could Billy survive 10,000 volts? It was a lot more than normally came through his guitar. Frankly, he was shocked.” 🙂Artistry: 1 Characters/Actors: 1 Entertainment: 7 Visual Effects: 1 Originality: 3 Watchability: 6 Other (Music): 7 TOTAL: 26 out of 60
Tomorrow – #358: Panic Room
© 2014 S. G. Liput