I began working at radio stations at the age of 13 and became a talent manager at the age of 21, so music has always been a big part of my life. Consequently, I rarely miss a music-oriented movie. In the past year I’ve seen the remake of A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Rocketman.
I liked A Star Is Born the least, because it was not only depressing, but it was also totally incongruous to have Ally (Lady Gaga) get discovered for her soulful voice and then “become a star” by singing a completely different style of music (dance). Also, why play-up Jackson Maine’s (Bradly Cooper) tinnitus when it didn’t play a role in the outcome of the movie (unless we’re supposed to take a giant leap)?
I’m sure avid Queen fans enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody more than I did. For me, the movie was a fine way to spend two hours. The story was interesting and the music was wonderful, but it’s not the kind of film I would watch over and over.
Of the three, I liked Rocketman the best. The musical numbers were fun and I credit Elton John for not being afraid to tell a personal story that was often unflattering.
Other music movies I’ve seen recently: Across the Universe (a Beatles themed movie from 2007). I was late on seeing that one but thoroughly enjoyed it. The Runaways and Bad Reputation are two movies about Joan Jett. The first is a story of her teenaged band, retold in dramatic fashion, and the second is more of an interview/biographic film. Both are excellent.
That said, a common theme in many of the above movies is an “asshole manager.” I object! When I was a manager my acts loved me. I’m still waiting for the movie where the artist gives due credit to the manager. Managers are easy pickings to play the bad guy in music movies, but the facts are that behind most successful acts is a dedicated, hardworking manager. So to those making/writing music movies: I scream micro-aggression, un-wokenness, trigger-warning failure, and general un-PCness! More music movies are coming this summer, and they look great. Best of all, none appear to feature a sacrificial talent manager.