When they were young and their hearts were open books, the besuited Beatles made the band movie to which all other band movies would forever be compared. That was A Hard Day’s Night (Kiggins Theatre, opens July 4; Hollywood Theatre, July 6-7), which turns 50 this week.
Alas, they don’t make movies like that anymore. Sure, you get the occasional concert movie, but actual narrative films starring bands are few and far between—at least since From Justin to Kelly. Here are a few script treatments to get the revival going.
A Hard Night’s Day
Starring: One Direction.
Paying homage to the original boy band, One Direction stars in a loose remake of A Hard Day’s Night. The film—cut with montages of 12-year-old girls fainting—chronicles the band’s U.S. tour. The boys’ delightfully British shenanigans are interrupted when, like Ringo in the original, Harry Styles goes missing. Unlike in the original, things take a dark turn when it’s revealed Styles has been abducted by a deranged fan obsessed with re-creating Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired fan fiction. Directed by Lars von Trier.
Tweeter and the Monkey Man
Starring: The Traveling Wilburys.
The surviving Wilburys reunite for a film version of the group’s hit song about drugs, violence and sexuality. It centers on the cross-country adventures of two drug dealers: the Monkey Man (Jeff Lynne) and Tweeter, who undergoes a sex change halfway through (Cate Blanchett and Bob Dylan share the role). Tom Petty is the undercover cop hot on their trail, while Andy Serkis transforms into Roy Orbison via motion-capture. The narration is cobbled together from archival interviews with George Harrison. In true Wilbury form, the movie is not nearly as good as it should be.
Sharpetown: Up From Below
Starring: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
The year: 2017. Investigators descend on a grim scene: Bodies lay motionless amid wildflowers, clutching bottles of tainted kombucha. This is the story of Alex Ebert, who assumes the persona of Edward Sharpe and becomes a prophet of peace, love and dirty feet. The film traces the band’s rise and Sharpe’s eventual descent into mania as he closes off his Zeros from reality, marries all the females (to the chagrin of second-in-command Jade Castrinos) and retreats to a doomed compound in Arkansas. It wins the Oscar for Best Documentary.
Girl Talk: The Movie
Starring: Girl Talk.
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) becomes enamored with the gangster lifestyle in this riveting crime drama, which follows Hill as he coordinates the infamous Lufthansa heist, becomes an old-timey baseball player, fights Mothra, gets in a steamy threesome and marries Julia Roberts. It eventually becomes clear this is just Goodfellas with scenes from Field of Dreams, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Wild Things and My Best Friend’s Wedding spliced throughout. The film is wildly successful.
After a decade writing soundtracks to
nonexistent spaghetti Westerns, Portland band Federale finally gets its
own film after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The funds are
immediately spent on ponchos. The film—shot on iPhones—premieres at the
Clinton Street Theater, where audiences are captivated by the tale of an
outlaw who wanders a barren wasteland that looks suspiciously like a
park in Gresham, looking for the men who stole his hawk. Federale
performs the soundtrack live, mainly because the film’s budget didn’t
allow for a sound mix. The ponchos look incredible.
- With its rampant pop-culture barbs, incessant silliness and casual racism, Airplane! laid the groundwork for the modern-day spoof. But unlike those that came after it, Airplane! is actually funny. Pix Patisserie. Dusk Wednesday, July 2.
- Back to the Future will forever be a classic for
the way it speaks to our universal fear of the aggressive sexual
advances of our super-hot teenage moms. Academy Theater. July 5-10.
- We all have our heroes. In 1979’s Breaking Away, the main character’s idols are the members of the Italian cycling team. Much spandex-wearing ensues. Laurelhurst Theater. July 5-10.
- The Japanese animated epic Akira, released in 1988, is so explosive and brilliant that Hollywood has been trying to adapt it for decades. With white people. Sigh. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Saturday-Sunday, July 5-6.
- 1988 was a landmark year for Japanese animation: It also included the staggering Grave of the Fireflies, which follows two children trying to survive in the countryside during the final months of World War II. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 4:30 pm Sunday, July 6.
- I once had a friend who told me he hated The Godfather. No idea what he’s up to now. Hollywood Theatre. 7 pm Saturday, July 5.