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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Posted by: Creon1690
Date Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 1999 at 17:41:09
Date Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 at 07:46:31

Hoooo, boy. This movie. This one was pure pain to watch. The main reason I decided to watch this one was because I am a big Aerosmith fan, and they all appeared in this movie. Some things just aren't worth the price of admission.

I apologize for not remembering all the names or details, but in order to get them all straight I'd have to watch the movie again, and I'm not putting myself through that for anything.

This movie was created to capitalize on the success of the Beatles. You don't see them in this movie, but the movie is a musical using songs such as...well, "Come Together" and the title track are the only ones I can think of off-hand. A bunch of other rock stars appear as the cast to sing their songs. Everybody is wearing outfits lifted from the Middleview High School marching band. They must have held a bake sale or dunking booth to raise the money for them.

Your cast starts off with the late great George Burns. He is the narrator/overseer, kind of like what Bela Lugosi did for Ed Wood's "Glen Or Glenda." (PULL THE STRINGS!) He takes us to a battle of the bands, where we meet our heroes, Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees playing the hero band. Peter's main squeeze is this girl named Strawberry Fields. We keep seeing this weather vane over the town square, a black ditty shaped like a trumpet player. They win the battle by singing the title track.

Some Dude is the Bad Guy, who is receiving instructions from an evil female computer to get the instruments away from the Hero Band. Villain kind of reminds me of Newman from Seinfeld. The computer is acting under orders of the Future Villain Band, whose identity the movie is trying to keep a secret, but if you paid attention to the credits you already know it's Aerosmith. Our prime evil is to bring one instrument to Dr. Maxwell, played by Steve Martin in his first ever movie role, and another to a weirded-out guy played by Alice Cooper sporting a mustache, similar to the character he played in "Wayne's World." Oh wait, that was himself. Well, same thing. I'm sure there was a third instrument/villain; I can't remember. My subconscious is still working on trying to block this movie out of memory. I think there was a guitar, a bass guitar, a TUBA, and drums.

The computer tells our villain that he can keep the drums (or was it the tuba?) for himself. The main problem with this villain, a rotund little rogue, is that somebody told him was going to be "the funny one," and he keeps trying to live up to it. He has a sidekick, a Lurch-esque guy who has no lines. In fact, I don?t know this for sure, but I believe that it is the same big dude who always hung around with Counselor Deanna Troi's mother on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," where he played basically the same character. Compare the two and tell me if you don't agree.

Well, naturally our diabolically evil mastermind succeeds in stealing the instruments, because our pretty boys are too busy arguing over which one of them gets to be John Lennon. Frampton keeps insisting that he looks more like a girl than Taylor Hanson. So, our Limp Bizkit wannabees must embark on a quest to get their gear back. (Too bad eBay wasn't around yet -- they could have just got better ones for a fraction of the price.) There is a ridiculously poignant goodbye number between Peter Frampton and Strawberry Fields. The middle chunk of the movie is the band's pursuit and eventual recovery of each instrument.

Getting one back from Dr. Maxwell is easy. He is so busy singing a song about himself in the third person that the Bee Gees just run in and take it. (Maxwell SINGS.) Too bad for Steve Martin that the sound quality sucks and it sounds like you're listening to him through a wall underwater. This must have been what killed his singing career. In fact, everybody who appeared in this was written off with career failure. Miraculously, many survived.

They go to get the next instrument back from a bemustached Alice Cooper. His lair is a surreal Dali-esque place. Alice sings a cool but incoherent song.

Well, they get the rest of the instruments back, so the Future Villain Band has no choice but to kidnap Strawberry Fields. Peter Frampton is very upset by this. So, our flab four run off to the rescue. They confront the Future Villain Band in an oversize set of raised platforms and dollar signs. It makes both bands look like The Borrowers.

In the movie's only worthwhile scene, Aerosmith performs "Come Together." (You can hear this version on the Aerosmith Greatest Hits album. It rocks, real dark and brooding.) Unfortunately, this filming took place right during the band's heyday of drug use, better known as the 70's. They are totally fried, and you can see it. In fact, during shooting someone on the crew said "Get those drunks off my set!" before realizing they were in the movie. The look in Steven Tyler's eyes during a closeup was priceless. Also, Joey Kramer on drums looks like he's about to fall over and eat his snare drum. The drumsticks look like they were very heavy. The song crescendos, Steven Tyler and Strawberry Fields struggle atop a high platform, and Ms. Fields falls to her death. Frampton rushes up and returns the favor. You see Steven Tyler at the bottom, lying facedown. It was probably the easiest acting he did. The rest of the band just kind of leaves.

Our Hanson-esque boys return to the movie's first scene. Frampton is incredibly upset at having lost his girl. He gets up on a roof and contemplates jumping. (Note: At this movie?s first ever screening by critics, the critics all yelled "Jump! Do it!") In the high point of the movie, he does.

However, that damn weathervane starts spinning and uses the wind to gently lift him to the ground. It then comes to life, as a brother in a yellow marching band suit with a trumpet. He floats down to the ground. You can see the strings big time. He sings "Get Back" and uses the funk to lift everyone's spirits wit da soul.

In the most unfair part of the movie (besides watching it all to see five minutes of Aerosmith), trumpet man makes Strawberry Fields come back to life and magically reappear in the scene. Great, so he knows the editing guys. He should have brought back Steven Tyler! They both died the same way, and he did a lot more for the movie. Well, the band is happy, the bad guys are all gone, and our trumpet man floats back up to the sky.

This movie was just incredibly bad. It was poorly produced and was nothing but pop culture of the time put on screen. Critics at the time described it as "rock 'n roll pretty boys mugging for the camera."

If you must watch this movie, please take the necessary precautions.

Scene to watch for: Lurch-esque assistant, driving truck, gets hit in the face by a dashboard-mounted boxing glove. Incredibly funny. Reminded me of the album cover for Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power."

Best line: Steven Tyler: "He wear no shoe shine, he got...toe jam football, he got...monkey finger, he shoot...Coca-Cola, he say, I know know me. One thing I can tell you is you got to be free."

Things that make you go "Huh?": Weathervane comes to life and fixes everything wrong with the characters in five minutes by singing "Get back to where you want to go." Too bad he couldn't fix the plot. I?d like to Get Back to the video store so I could save my money to rent "Felicity Takes Manhattan" when it comes out.

Response From RinkWorks:

I'm always amazed at how all these rock bands can play their instruments when they're totally smashed on their illegal substance of choice. It totally boggles my mind that people who can barely walk can still play guitar.

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