A movie post: “Rocketman” provides great music, and a so-so story. 30 years on, remembering the great “Dead Poets Society.” And a father’s day PSA honors Dads of all kinds

Here are some things I can tell you after a rare trip to the cinemas Friday night, to see the new Elton John biopic, “Rocketman.”

— There are a whole lot of Elton John songs in this movie (although disappointingly, we didn’t get “Candle in the Wind”), and they’re all sung excellently and with fantastic stage presence by Taron Egerton. Egerton is so freaking good he almost redeems the movie’s flaws by himself.

— This is a sanitized version of John’s story; I mean, yeah, we see him treating people badly, and we see the drugs and the drinking that takes place after he shoots to fame, but it’s really pretty tame stuff compared to most rock biopics. Alas, Sir Elton was an executive producer on the film, so that explains why it was rather tame.

— Did I like the movie? The music scenes were excellent, Egerton was, as I said, superb in channeling the look and sound of Elton John, and visually there were some incredible set pieces.
But the story was really, really slow-moving; we didn’t need a half-hour of Elton John’s childhood. There were lots of unexplored avenues in the film, a lot of the plot was simplistic in regards to John’s parents, and the movie abruptly ends telling John’s story in around 1989. Lots of interesting stuff has happened to him since then, including his incredible AIDS charity work, his musical evolution without working with Taupin, etc. I would’ve liked to see a lot more of the last 30 years, and less of his first 30.

I’d give the movie 2.5 stars, because when all is said and done, I did have a fun time watching it.

— If you believe this movie’s chronology, about 95 percent of the classic Bernie Taupin-Elton John songs they wrote together were penned in the first year they knew each other. Seriously, SO many hits were played/sung in the first months of their collaboration that you’re left thinking “Man, these guys started out hot, then didn’t write another great song for like 10 years.

— Finally, this has nothing to do with “Rocketman” but I just need to share:

The guy working the snacks counter told me, authoritatively, that not only are there people who purchase the giant horsebucket-sized container of popcorn for $9.50, but often bring it back for the promised free refill, while the film they’re seeing is still going on.

Who are these people that need THIS much popcorn? How can they eat this much popcorn? Even if they’re sharing it with, like 6 or 7 people, that’s still a ridiculous amount of popcorn?
Sorry, this stayed with me for a few hours after the movie.

**Next up today, in the same “movies” vein, The Ringer.com and Bill Simmons had an excellent podcast the other day about the classic “Dead Poets Society” which turns 30 years old this year.

I have always loved, loved, LOVED “DPS,” because I’m a writer and an English major nerd and because it’s just such a beautiful film, acted so well by Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and a young Josh Charles.

Anyway, they of course talked about the final scene, which for my money is the best last scene of a movie, ever.

Enjoy. And seize the day!

**And finally today, Sunday was Father’s Day, and I hope if you’re a Dad you had a great one, and if you’re lucky enough to have your own father still around, you called him or hugged him or maybe did both (I saw mine and we had a lovely day).
Before I go on, had to share these two fantastic Dad jokes I took from NPR’s Twitter thread Sunday, when they happily unveiled a flurry of Dad jokes for our groans and amusement. These two legit had me laughing out loud:

1.My wife is really mad at the fact that I have no sense of direction. So I packed up my stuff and right.

2. Guy walks up to a librarian and says…”Can you tell me where I can find the books on paranoia?” The librarian (whispers) “They’re right behind you.”

OK, moving on, thanks to my Facebook memory feature Sunday I saw this incredible PSA from 2013 that I ran on the blog here in honor of Father’s Day, and it was so good and moved me, again, on Sunday that I wanted to run it again here.

Just beautifully put together by the folks at Family Today; the Dad’s face at the :55 mark is all of us…

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2 responses to “A movie post: “Rocketman” provides great music, and a so-so story. 30 years on, remembering the great “Dead Poets Society.” And a father’s day PSA honors Dads of all kinds

  1. lovely – xo

  2. We saw Rocketman this weekend as well. I wanted to see Book Smart but it was already gone and I didn’t feel like driving to Milwaukee to see it. I liked the movie and of course the movie was great. I am pretty sure 90 per cent of the movie was fiction. Maybe being too harsh. But from what I had read before seeing it, that it was supposed to be more of a fantasy. The BBC has a pretty decent documentary. It was cut up into 4 parts but I couldn’t find the 4th part. Not sure when it was made, but certainly a while ago. It is really difficult to make a bio pic. It is really hard to distill ones life in to a couple of hours. I wish there was film of the Troubadour show. I think one of the better bio pics I have seen is Love and Mercy about Brian Wilson.

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