Review — Yesterday

Alright. Time to review a movie I watched a month and a half ago. Let’s see if I remember anything? I will state two things before I start, though. The first is the obligatory “I won’t spoil anything” comment, as I always leave the spoiler section of the review till the end in a very clear distinction. The second is that in all honesty, I still am not sure how I feel about this movie. It touched at a lot of things that are still quite subconscious in my head, both good and bad.

The first thing I should point out is that the plot is nothing to write home about. The “call to action” as it were is ludicrous and is waived off pretty quick because, let’s face it, this movie is about The Beatles, not the story (apparently). Sort of related to this is the fact that the trailers did not do a very good job setting the movie up as a Rom-Com, when that ends up being nearly 100% of the screen time. I wasn’t surprised, but it did disappoint me a bit. After all, shouldn’t this movie be about… The Beatles? (See above.)

Apart from the standard plot, the characters and themes aren’t really explored very much at all. The people ‘on stage’ are painted in broad strokes and aren’t really touched ever again, and the only two people that ever show any real emotion are the leads. It’s like you gave an artist a coloring book and they spent hours shading in all the detail of the clothes, but then when they got to the background they just used a blur of primary colors. (A bit of hyperbole here, though. The lead characters don’t have nearly that much attention to detail.)

What makes it good, though? Well, to put it simply, the movie tries to do one thing: to live in the nostalgia of the majesty of Beatlemania, and reminisce about how great a lot of their songs were while having fun along the way. It accomplishes that. It does a phenomenal job, even. The fact that the group put out so much iconic music means that the writers could put in the perfect song to fit every scene, and the vibe of every piece of music hits dead on the money. On that principle alone, the movie is fantastic. It pumps you up with energy when you need it and lets the somber numbers soothe the pacing in between.

Now that said, will somebody who doesn’t know the Beatles enjoy it? I think it’s tough to say, but either way, they won’t get nearly as much out of the movie as a Beatles fan would, because they aren’t the target audience.

Alright. Spoilers ahead.

To further elaborate on my point that the plot is pretty weak, I’ll say that they missed a lot of opportunities. They don’t even try to explain what happened when the global blackout happened, or even why it happened. The other two people that remember The Beatles could (and should) have at least provided some insight, as the three of them could have all had similar stories, but we never get any explanation as to why they know, when Jack had to get hit by a bus to remember. On top of this, they touch on the idea of Jack’s impostor syndrome, but in reality, he would feel it to a scale nobody has ever felt before, so I would have liked to see the movie punch that up more. Plus, the fact that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were actively teased in both the trailer and the movie without them actually having a cameo bothered me. That felt like a really dirty move.

What I would have loved to see, and the biggest disappointment I had in the movie (beyond the fact that it was actually a Rom-Com), was that this movie could have easily retold the story of how Beatlemania happened in real life. The Beatles go to Germany, are very popular, go to America and transform music entirely, the music changes who they are, they grow apart, etc. You translate Brian Epstein into the evil agent lady (already don’t remember her name) and fit “The Beatles break up” to instead be “Jack gives up being a star” and bam, your movie is already written. You could even still make the Rom-Com the main genre, but more parallels to the actual lives of The Beatles would have been fantastic.

Also, I’m not surprised that the movie never explored this, but if The Beatles actually lived in this parallel world and simply never became who they are in ours, Jack’s story of “I remember a past that didn’t happen” is easily provable. All you have to do is have Jack tell the story of The Beatles, then track down the real band members, and see where the lines cross (or might have crossed). He would probably know so much about the lives of nobodies that it’s truth would be hard to refute. Again, the movie was right not to address this, because that would have derailed the plot off a cliff, but still. I can’t help but think of these things.

Lastly, the ending is… weird. The fact that he puts her face on the big screen and confesses his love to her, without being face to face, seems really odd to me. I mean, he’s not even confessing it to her, he’s confessing it to his audience. I always wonder how many people get proposed to at public events where it would humiliate both people for the girl to say ‘no’, but this feels like a similar moment to me. Ellie is standing in a room hearing the feedback of his voice and the distant roars of the audience, being told that that Jack apparently loves him. That doesn’t strike me as the killer finale this movie deserves, though of course it wasn’t painted that way. In addition to that, there is no way the audience would clear out of the stadium before Jack’s agent managed to find him. She would have been cutting the mics and tackled him within minutes of him rescinding his fame, which I have no doubt he would have been sued horrendously for in the real world. (Jack “loving” Ellie is a load of crap, by the way, because if he is surprised when she first confesses her love, then that means he really had no interest in her, and I do not for one second believe that anyone can develop romantic interest in somebody they’ve platonically loved for years.)

That’s about it. Is it a good movie? Well, sort of. It does what it wants to do and absolutely nothing else. I will leave off with this, though. I do not like romance in virtually any storytelling. It’s always a hard sell for me because most often, it ends up feeling unearned or contrived, and Yesterday is no exception. This movie was particularly offensive in that regard in the fact that Ellie’s character struck a lot of chords with me, as she reminded me a lot of somebody that was/is very dear to me, and I wish that that was not the case.

Me — Exhausting Your Music Tastes

I’ve lately been getting burned out on music, which has never happened to me before. Every time I get bored of one band or one genre of music I can always jump onto another thing, be it a new station on the radio or a new artist I haven’t heard much of.

But in the wake of my depression, I overdosed on my “happy, energy-inducing music”, and in order to compensate for that, I put Spotify on the computer I use at work so I can listen to my own playlists, such as my 28 hour long gaming playlist (a good portion of which is Darren Korb from Transistor/Pyre etc, as well as things like the Faster than Light soundtrack and, most recently, the FFVII soundtrack).

The problem with this is that music doesn’t take very long to listen to. If you listened to every officially recorded Beatles song, it would take you about 9 hours, so with a 40 hour work week you’d be done Tuesday morning, and unless you’re prepared to start the next Beatlemania, you’re going to have to find something new pretty quick.

And so, where do you find new, good music? I’m not looking, per se, I’m just finding it interesting that I feel burnt out on everything. All my modern pop rock stuff is exhausting, my chill video game music is diverse and confusing as far as mood goes (I mean, just in FFVII alone you can go from Costa del Sol to One Winged Angel in a heartbeat).

At home I don’t listen to music a whole lot, because if I have any amount of actual free time I’m probably watching either Day9 or Critical Role. If I am listening to music, it’s probably a YouTube playlist of lo-fi music, which I recently discovered. I love the chill, hip-hop beats, but I don’t want to bring it to work because my production manager would hate it and I also don’t want to ruin this genre for myself as well. It’s funny, because picking the day’s music has slowly become a game of “what songs will I hate the least“. Having recently watched Yesterday, I’m going with Beatlemania II: Beatlmanier.

(It is also at this moment where I realized I should have just written a review post of Yesterday. I have quite a bit more to say about it. But I’m already this far in,  and this post is already a day late, so whatever.)

Is this why people ask for music suggestions on social media? Because they’ve exhausted their personal library of stuff they enjoy? I feel like all I really need is to take a break from music altogether, but working in silence day-to-day would be far, far worse. In addition to that, the only music sources I really have access to there are Pandora (which sucks, because it’s radio library is tiny, and it will occasionally play the same song twice in a row!) and Spotify, which is much better, but difficult to find good radios, because everything is a playlist and people’s preference of music are not my preferences of music.

When I’m no longer working at my current job I’m going to get back into podcasts. I’ve got over a year of stuff to catch up on!