Maybe you’ve never heard of it. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see it. Or maybe you’re just tired of the new. Whatever your reason, the classics are always worth a nod. Every Friday in Stay Classy, we look some of the films that started it all and how they hold up today. So sit back while we reel through the past.
Before the JoBros and BSB, there was The Beatles. Yes, aside from their legacy as rock icons, they also set the bar for screaming, crying and fainting women. Looking back, they seemed so quirky. Nowadays, it’s all about the rock bods, pearly whites and coiffed locks (OK, some things haven’t changed). But I guess when you’re singing songs about holding hands and giving all your loving, ladies in hot pink dresses and beehives will swoon.
In 1964, The Beatles capitalized on Beatlemania with A Hard Day’s Night, a mockumentary following our four British beaus around London the night of a big television performance, much like their famous Ed Sullivan Show gigs. You know, it’s just a “typical” day in the lives of The Beatles, charming women, giddy dancing and getting arrested, not to mention babysitting Paul’s grandpa all day.
It’s a very simple story, so simple that at first, you aren’t sure if there’s going to be more to it before realizing it’s just about goofing around and playing great music. There are only two traceable strands throughout the film: the whereabouts of the “clean old man” and the impending concert. Well, unless you count constantly trying to escape authority a storyline.
It’s actually a bit surprising how silly these guys are. I guess it should have been obvious having seen their Sgt. Pepper and Yellow Submarine outfits or even just listening to some of their lyrics. Again surprisingly (and again it shouldn’t have been), the silliest of all was John! Really, what 20-something year old still plays with toys in a bubble bath?
It’s also funny how many one-liners are cracked at poor Ringo’s expense, including from himself. I feel bad laughing but when Paul grandfather keeps making jokes about Ringo’s nose (and “his poor little head, trembling under the weight of it”), I can’t help it. They also speculate about why he’s got the least fans and yes, grandfather deduces it’s the nose.
But the best part of all was the quartet’s escape from their manager to skip and dance through fields on fast forward to the tune of “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Honestly, you’d think they were 12-year-olds trapped in the bodies of mid-20 heartthrobs. I only wish there was more of this. Actually, I just wish there were more of the entire film. Eighty-seven minutes is not enough.
However, there are a few scenes that drag, mainly the “plot scenes,” sans antics and guitar strumming, but when the rest of it is so entertaining, it compensates. You know, brave the bore for the brilliance.
Of course, A Hard Day’s Night has served as model for many fan-serving films made later, most notably Spice World. And although they both raked in millions, Spice World sank with critics while A Hard Day’s Night is still revered by many (including Ebert). But if you ask me, I’d watch either of them again. The only necessary criteria for loving these films: being a fan.