My names James Dallas, I was born, raised, and currently struggle to live in Brooklyn, New York.
I created this site because I always loved discussing/debating/recommending all forms all types of modern POP Culture and NYC life.
( In reality, I’m just regular opinionated, loud mouthed New Yorker)
The title alone is vague but worrying, The statement alone invites anxiety and sticks in your mind.
Just like its title “I’m thinking of ending things” is a purposefully opaque film, it leaves you with a haunting feeling. It’s pretty surreal, a bit overblown, but still, it’s worth a watch.
Jessie Buckley plays our protagonist, lucy, although even her name doesn’t stay consistent as the plot moves, Struggling to break up with her boyfriend (“Jake”) who is taking her to his childhood home to meet with his “off-kilter” parents. The boyfriend is played by the talented Jessie Plemmons who at this point in his career has kind of been typecast as the “small town weirdo with a dark side” but it’s a role he plays with confidence. They interact politely yet it’s awkward. A sign that this relationship is reaching its fortunate end.
On one hand “I’m thinking of ending things” is a darkly comic psychological drama following a “Lucy” as our unreliable narrator, confessing to the audience that she knows her relationship with Jake is coming to an end, even though it’s only been seven weeks, and now has to endure a long drive and even longer evening, and once they eventually get the house, the strangeness ramps up. Time seems to be broken, or, at the very least shifting. To Lucy, the past seems vague and out of reach, she’s having trouble remembering things that happened only weeks ago. Something else is at play here, and it’s causing her to lose her grip on reality.
The performances by Buckley and Plemmons is amazing in its subtly. Her noticeable discomfort and his almost-frightening desire to impress, create a sense of casual tension. This is only compounded by the strange behavior of Jakes’s parents, and the clear emotional baggage that has yet to be unpacked.
“I’m thinking of ending things” is not what I’d call an easy film to watch. It’s bound to confuse some or maybe even bore others with its slow-burn approach and unusual style. I enjoyed the cringe-inducing long shots that stacked on the dread. The several literary references littered throughout the film won’t help either.
The Director – Charlie Kaufman, his past work on films like the disheartening yet amazing “Synecdoche New York” and “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind” clearly presents his talent for creating wonderfully weird and postmodern films. This all to say, I Kaufman rides the fine line between genius and pretentious. I’m thinking of ending things doesn’t change that trend.
But even if the movie confounds and frustrates some, I believe that those with an open mind and appetite for surreal yet beautiful cinematography and storytelling will be satisfied. Even if by the end, you’re left with more questions than answers, it’s still an interesting watch.
“These last few days are some the happiest I’ve ignored”
Something about this quote from the late Doug Kenny, which appears right before film begins , has always stuck with me, and during this crazy time where I’ve tried to throw myself into my hobbies to avoid going absolutely mental from the news of the world, it continues resonate strongly.
For those who don’t know (and lets face it, a majority of people probably don’t) Doug Kenny was a talented writer who co-founded the humor magazine National Lampoon, he would also go on to write two of the most influential comedies of the 70s and 80s: Animal house and Caddyshack.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture is biographical com-Drama, that stars Will Forte as comedy writer Douglas Kenney, during the rise and fall of National Lampoon. The film is character study as well as a tribute to doug kenny and all the wild, creative people who flipped comedy world on its head. The movie is more so trying to capture the spirit and energy of that era, instead being a boring retelling o things we can just read on Wikipedia. This attitude is clear just from looking at the casting. Iconic comedians and writers like Bill Murray, Brian McConnachie, Anne Beattes and Gilda Ratner from that time are played by the iconic comedians and writers of today. I don’t care what anyone says, Joel McHale playing his former co star Chevy Chase was a genius idea.
Let me cut the chase. I really like this movie. So much so that since its debut on Netflix in 2018, I’ve watched it at least three times. To me its a humble but touching tribute to comedy, low art, the spirit of creativity of rebellion. The surprisingly bittersweet ending may catch you off guard, but I will always find it uplifting.
In times of great sadness and woe, A Stupid and Futile gesture can be just what people need to get through the day.
The verdict: WATCH IT
Recommended for Fans of : Community, Saturday Night Live, MAD Magazine, Stand-up Comedy
Its safe to say right now, that world events right now are troubling. A pandemic has been announced, our president isn’t smart enough to have a solid grasp of the situation, or any situation for that matter. Events and travel plans are getting canceled, and the economy is in rough shape. Even if you are not a normally anxious person, its understandable to have a feeling of dread or worry about the future.
So far this site has only been focused with hot takes on TV shows and movies. Just somewhere to post my thoughts an get my opinion out in casual way . However, Ive always wanted eventually to write about more serious topics that would spark some discussion about mental health or just ways to cope with the unbearable slog life can sometimes be.
If you do happen to be someone who suffers from high anxiety or has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, then you might be feeling even more overwhelmed than usual. Maybe even feel paralyzed.
Its ok to feel to this way, and its certainly not something to be ashamed of or feel like you have to hide from your friends or family. In times of high stress, its important to be open and honest. Its also very find and practice strategy to overcome that bouts of Anxiety/Depression. Here are some things to remember when dealing with the rough times
1. Remember To Breathe
Seriously. Take a few deep breathes a few times a day . If you happen to be the type of person who gets worked up easily, or, if you’re like me, and your mind happens to be a black belt in overthinking any situation, it can feel suffocating.
Mindful Breathing Practice can help gather your thoughts, focus on the here and now, allow you to briefly relax the grip on whatever anger or insecurities are plaguing you at the moment. It doesn’t even have take a lot of time, taking 15 min. to just decompress can give a boost for rest of the day. Its something to try before going straight to other ways of coping like drinking, zoning out to video games, or smoking (because lets face it, those things are really fun to do as well)
The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. You can do this while standing, but ideally you’ll be sitting or even lying in a comfortable position. Your eyes may be open or closed, but you may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes.
I’ve personally tried numerous times. Trust me, it takes practice, but so does learning literally any new skill. You can also do it anytime you want, for as long you want. It cant hurt and your mind will thankful for the break.
2. Remember To Have Plan
I read a phrase a couple of weeks ago while I was online just goofing of. It was on a thread about succeeding in job interviews but I like feel its one of the those rare gems where they can be adapted into a lot different situations.
“Hope is not a strategy.”
Now to some folks that phrase sounds a little callous or even like a bit of downer, but its something I wholeheartedly agree with. You wont win the war with anxiety with wishful thinking. You cant spend your valuable time hoping for things to get better.
It all comes down to you and how you plan your days out. Whether you’re worrying about paying bills, losing weight, making money, doing something creative or just want to get through the days without feeling crappy and depressed, you need a strategy. A rough idea of what you want, how to get it, and how to avoid triggers and distractions on the way to getting it.
What does planning look like? Its:
Getting yourself on a schedule that you enjoy
Setting alarms for things you know you need to do
Knowing what triggers you, then finding a way to overcome it or avoid
Giving yourself time to relax and reflect
When dealing with your anxious and annoying thoughts, it can feel like you’re your own worst enemy. But hey, you know what defeats any strong enemy? A strong game plan.
3. Remember to check on your friends
For some of us, we have a very unhealthy thought process that goes
“I shouldn’t be bothering people with my problems. No one really wants to help”
Raise your hand if you have ever had that thought.
Now put your hand down, you look silly.
Its normal to be afraid of reaching out to friends for help, making yourself vulnerable is not an easy task for anyone to do. Especially if you come from a background where trust is in short supply. But it also helps to realize that your homies might be going through it to.
That’s why I’m telling you, the reader, to make the first move and check on your true friends. The people you care about and know that they care about you. Because a real friend isn’t just someone whos available to party, drink with, or borrow money from. Nah, a true homie is there for you in the rough times too. The times of sadness, anger, disappointment and shame. The special few who stick with you through those times are ones to be remembered.
Cant think of anyone like that in your social circle? Might be time to for some new friends
4. Remember that “This too, Shall Pass”
A fact of life is that it is excruciatingly hard. The universe can and will be unfair, and its only a matter of time before it all becomes so overwhelming that’s its almost paralyzing. That whatever is causing your mental hell right now is unending. Maybe you’re in the middle of one of those times right now.
If you are, I want to share an old saying that you might have heard before:
Not to get all philosophical in the end (although its probably way too late for that), but everything in life, good or bad, is temporary. Including our thoughts and emotions. Remembering that can be freeing when your drowning in what feels like a sea of worry. Remembering to accept what you cant control and making the best of all the moments you can.
Kipo and the Age of the Wonder Beasts is a new all-ages animated Netflix original. Created by Radford Sechrist, adapted from his 2015 web-comic, the program is an action-comedy set in a post apocalyptic wasteland where humans live in underground burrows or struggle to survive on the surface, where the animals and wildlife have mutated and evolved to the point of human intelligence. The MAIN PLOT of the series focuses on Kipo going on a dangerous journey to find her father after an destructive mutant separates them.
I’ve noticed that besides a handful of YouTubers, there hasn’t been that much buzz around Kipo. Which is a crying shame. I’m pleased to report that, not only is Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts a good show. It might be one of the best animated shows currently on Netflix. I’m not gonna waste anymore of your time, that’s time that should be spent watching or preparing another COVID-19 outbreak, so here are 5 reasons why you should be watching Kipo and the Age of the Wonder Beasts.
1. The Soundtrack is Amazing
I’m gonna keep it 100. The soundtrack in this show has no excuse being as good as it is. Going into the show, I wasn’t expecting such a strong mixture of musical styles to populate the series, ranging from hip-hop, country, rock, classical, and even dub-step. These are not instrumentals, mind you. Some are licensed songs that blend perfectly with the scenes and characters, and others are songs and segments created for the show itself! You can tell that whoever was in charge of composing the music wanted to capture many different styles and genres, making the show standout among a sea of bland, by the numbers, action cartoons.
2. Its from the studio that animated The Legend of Korra and The Boondocks
If your looking some quality assurance with this show, you can ease your anxious mind knowing that this show is project from STUDIO MIR, who are also responsible for working on other great cartoons like The Legend of Korra, Voltron, and the most recent season of the Boondocks. Each of those shows were animated and storyboarded fantastically and its no different with Kipo. This doesn’t feel like show that’s made for baby’s or a young audience, its a show great imagination made for those who appreciate a great story at any age. speaking of story…
3.The Story is Well Written
The Story follows Kipo attempting to reunite with her father and community after a gigantic mutant causes them to evacuate their home. On her journey, she meets Wolf, a young but cold and resilient human girl surviving on the surface, Benson a charming but cowardly black kid who is accompanied by his best friend Dave, an obnoxious bug that is constantly aging and regenerating himself. On their journey they come across a bunch of different tribes mutated animals ranging from cats, frogs, snakes, wolfs, insects and monkeys, who all have their own reason to go find the remaining endangered humans.
By the time had finished the last episode of the season, I was attached to theses to these little bad-asses. The snappy dialogue and weird world give this show a truly charming vibe. I never found myself annoyed or looking to fast forward past a stupid joke or moment. Wolf in particular might be my favorite character with her heart breaking backstory and wonderful character design. The show almost reminded of OG Teen Titans from when cartoon network was still good.
4. The Animation is Great
While good animation and lovable characters are given with Studio MIR, at first glance Kipo isn’t that mind blowing. Its OK, ill forgive you for being judgmental. Happens to the best of us.
Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts has a rather deceptive cartoon style. From static images you just might see wacky cartoon animals, but in motion the show really comes alive. In addition, the beautifully rendered backgrounds make world feel fantastical yet dangerous. There are also many hidden details and nuances that can be discovered when re-watching episodes.
The opening of Episode 2 alone was enough to convince me of the polish and love that went into bringing this series to life.
5. A member of the Wu-tang clan has a Cameo
The GZA of Wu-Tang Clan fame actually voices a hyper intelligent wolf named “Billions” in the show. There is a pretty funny segment of the show where he raps about the history of the scientific world while the his wolf brethren chant “New-Ton, New-Ton, New-Ton” like it was a Wu-Tang Music video.
No further explanation needed. Go watch this show.
I’ll say this about the current season of Rick and Morty. It keeps surprising me in new and delightfully disgusting ways.
This weeks episode, titled “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”, presents us with another scenario of Morty asking Rick for a reward he promised, a fair trade for having his young life risked yet again on an crazy adventure.
Morty just wants one thing.
Rick tries to renege on his promise, believing dragons are lame and saying “You know whose into dragons Morty? Nerds who refuse admit their christian.” However, Rick eventually relents and summons a wizard to initiate a soul bond between Morty and his new grumpy dragon, Balthromaw. This goes as well as expected, because Balthromaw isn’t too thrilled to be beholden to the whims of a 14 year Zoomer. Later, some accidental fire breathing is the final straw for Rick and he goes Slay the beast. However the two end up bonding over the dragons collection of treasure, and their mutual love drugs and freedom. This tender moment initiates a REAL soul bond. Unlike the contract based one made with Morty, this one is much more…..intimate. This insane scenario ends with Morty and Summer finding out, Morty ripping up the deal, Barlhromaw being captured for being a “Slut Dragon”, and Rick and Morty having to go save him from being hanged.
While Rick, Morty and summer are getting into highly magical and highly kinky hi-jinks, Jerry has his own weird little story going on with a talking cat, inimically voiced by Matthew Broderick. Why does the cat talk? Where does it come from? The cat thinks you should learn to not ask questions and just have fun. This episode was probably one most weirdest and vulgar yet, and I haven’t even mentioned the “Slut Dragon Orgy Super Phoenix” yet.
While it could very well be argued that this was one of the more uneven and inconsequential episodes in the series lineup ( the words “Slut”, “Slut Dragon” and “Fuck” are beaten into the ground very quickly), I would personally argue that its also one of the funniest in recent memory. The surreal scene of a wizard whipping and slut shaming a dragon, will be stuck inside my mind for weeks. While the side plot with Jerry and the Cat is admittedly boring and starts to feel like a waste time the more it goes on, the hilarious pay off is dark as it is vague.
By the time the episode was over, I knew fans were going to either love it or hate it. It relies too much on cursing and sexual/gross out humor, and yet for some reason the longer the episode played, the more I laughed. The whole episode feels like something Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland wrote while they were drunk or playing D&D. But I’m willing to bet real money that they couldn’t stop giggling to themselves while were writing it.
Its really crazy how viewing a movie at a completely different age can completely change the experience.
I had thought I saw this film back when I was a kid. My memory of it was “eh it was I guess?”. Well, either at some point I had my memory wiped or my memory is in a much graver state than I previously imagined. Because after watching this charming animated adventure again on Disney+, I feel really really silly and also slightly disoriented.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a 2001, animated, Sci-fi action adventure, and at the time was Disney’s 41st animated feature film. It was one of the few Disney animated features at the time that instead of being a musical, was focused solely on being action-adventure film inspired by the works of Jules Verne and old Sci-fi comic serials. It also had a art style heavily influenced by comic creator Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy.
The film follows Milo Thatch, a cartographer and linguist at the Smithsonian Institution, who is mocked and chastised for his passionate research and belief in the Sunken city of Atlantis. He however catches a break when an old friend of his grandfather, funds his expedition, and gives him a jaw dropping submarine, the Ulysses, with a very eccentric yet highly skilled skilled crew.
The crew depart on their expedition but are quickly attacked by the monstrous Leviathan, a robotic lobster-like creature that guards Atlantis’ entrance. The Ulysses is wrecked but the crew narrowly make it inside the city, which is where Milo meet Princess Kida. From there we learn of the tragic fate of the lost city, and where the true conflict of story seeps in.
While the overall plot of Atlantis is pretty straight forward, save for maybe a twist or two, the biggest strengths of the movie come from the beautiful animation and art direction, as well as the very quick paced and intelligent dialogue, with the dynamic of the crew tying everything together. The whole movie could have been just these characters riffing off of each other and I might have been satisfied. But if that happened we would have never gotten the visual feast for the eyeballs that is the action packed climax or the beautifully drafted piece of art that is the lost city itself.
It was Written and Directed by Gary Trousedale and Kirk Wise ,who also directed Beauty and The Beast, along with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Another writing credit also goes to JOSH WHEDON, ya know the guy who’s responsible for things like *ahem* :
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
The Cabin in the woods
The first two Avengers movies
Yea. That guy.
Listen, by no means am I saying Atlantis is a perfect movie, it has a few flaws. Some of the characters (including the villain) are bit one dimensional, and the climax starts pretty quickly. But I believe this movie deserves more than a 49% on rotten tomatoes. An animated movie with this much passion put into it, deserves a another look. In contrast to some of the mindless corporate garbage we get, this is absolutely a movie worth your time.
Green Room is the punk rock thriller we needed and deserved.
The first time I watched Green Room, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate time. It was around earlier this year and I had recently developed an almost a mad infatuation with punk music. I’m not quite sure what triggered it, but all i know is that for months I was devouring all the info I could find about classic bands like: The Clash, FEAR, Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys.
So when I finally decided to watch the film (after having it in my watch-list for an embarrassing amount of time) it was out of desire to just ingest anything hardcore punk related. I wasn’t expecting the movie to completely blow me away, but as soon the credits hit the screen, I knew this was banger.
Green Room is a tense, claustrophobic, darkly humorous, thriller about Punks vs Neo-Nazis. It has no right being as good as it is.
The unfortunate heroes of our story are Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner). Four members of a struggling punk band called the Ain’t Rights, who get by playing in embarrassingly small venues and siphoning gas when they’re desperate. Contrary to how I just described them, the film does an excellent job of making these characters very likeable. They’re crass yet laid back attitude,clear passion and friendship immediately charms you and succeeds in making later events feel more even harrowing.
Down on their luck after a cancelled show, they begrudgingly accept a gig at a Skinhead bar in the backwoods of Portland. After a particularly hostile set, where they play a cover of the Dead Kennedys song “Nazi punks F**ck Off”, they begin packing up, leading Sam to forget her phone in the green room, only to discover a grisly murder scene. From this point on they become trapped in the green room and the skinhead leader Darcy (played chillingly by Sir Patrick Stewart) comes in to “handle the situation”. From there the film becomes a visceral cramped nightmare.
What was so refreshing about the films premise is the strength of all the characters clashing personalities, and the complexities of the Neo-Nazi groups hierarchy, coupled with a extremely tense build to the gory chaos. The disaster the bands been thrown into feels frighteningly realistic, especially because of the growing real world anxiety of the violent alt-right. I definitely would fear running into a skinhead in the wrong part of town, let alone an entire sect.
The skinheads in the are not portrayed as mustache twirling goons or as mindless killers. This aint that type of movie.
Rather, they’re shown as cold and calculated foot soldiers, who would do anything for “the cause”. This includes faking a stabbing between two willing members to throw off the police and using rabid dogs to hunt our poor musicians. This is in contrast to the band pretty much making most of their decisions pretty much on the fly. Its a war between two ideologies: Living in the moment vs unwavering military-like discipline.
While the whole cast is great in their own right, the two brightest stars are the late Anton Yelchin as the band leader Pat, and Patrick Stewart as Darcy. These two completely throw themselves into their roles and elevate the movie to classic status. Pats transformation from naive band leader to frenzied survivor is great to watch, and a certain brutal scene involving a door, and some sharp knives will have you cringing. The wit and vulnerability he brings to his character is something you don’t see a lot in horror movies, and its a tragedy that an talent like Yelchin passed so young.
Last but certainly not least we have Darcy, the skinhead leader. As soon as Patrick Stewart casually dropped the n-word, I knew I was in for a treat. Whats terrifying about Darcy is how calm and methodical he is while coordinating atrocities. He speaks calmly and intelligently. Even when talking to the band through the Green Room door, he speaks in warm tones, barely ever raising his voice. This is man who values loyalty, discipline, and most importantly, control. He orders around his men and orchestrates plans with almost navy seal like precision, its like the darkest timeline version of Jean luc Picard. My only gripe is that this is the only character I truly wished we got some background on, to see just how this man fell so far into the Neo-Nazi underworld.
Its pretty safe to say that I love Green Room and Director Jeremy Saulnier is slowing becoming one of my favorite new directors. He is master of playing with audience expectations and is always looking for a way to subvert expectations. If you want a great thriller that doesn’t waste your time, Green Room is where its at.
9 out of 10
Green Room was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier
After a few weeks of silence, im gonna try and get back on the saddle. I was in the middle of a big move and numerous family issues came up, but hopefully now I can finally focus the website. Thanks to the 10 people who actually read my handful of articles so far, and if this is your first time here. Welcome.
The most run-of-mill blockbuster Ive seen in a longtime
I’m gonna be honest and state that my expectations for this movie weren’t high. I wasn’t expecting a beautifully choreographed action movie, and I wasn’t expecting thought provoking drama. I just wanted a fun, and maybe a bit goofy monster movie. And Full disclosure I came into viewing of this…product….slightly tipsy. Everything was set up for this to be a fun night.
Fun was nowhere to be found.
I have never seen a movie that was this bloated and yet so shallow in a long time. The movie hits you over the head with so much exposition and world building, all for it to not amount to ANYTHING. By the time the actual monsters do show up, I couldn’t care less about what was going on. Unfocused is the best way to describe it.
Lets get what little good there was out of the way first.
The movie itself looks good. Godzilla and other the titans that appear in the movie have weight to them and the scenes where they each make first appearance are handled well enough. The best looking being Mothra, who in my opinon, the movie should have focused on. Mothra arguably has the most breathtaking scenes in the movie.
Ken Watanabe, who plays Dr. Ishirō Serizawa, gives the best performance in the entire movie. His character is an earnest scientist who just wants the titans are misunderstood creatures, that could benefit mankind, instead of destroying it. Its clear that Watanabe put the most effort into his role, because everyone else looks like their just going through the motions. Why he wasn’t the main character in boggles the mind.
Now to talk about everything else that was awful. The plot, and characters.
The plot is convoluted for absolutely no reason. It has so many characters and plot devices stuffed into it, none of which you actually care about. It wants you care about the main character saving his idiot wife and daughter. It wants you like all of these quirky scientists and soldiers, who all feel they were ripped from a cheesy blockbuster from the 90s. The movie focused on the human element so much, and dumped exposition to such a gross degree, that it drained all the excitement from my body. When the fighting between the monsters actually started I couldn’t care less. THE MAIN THING I WAS THERE TO SEE WAS ROBBED FROM ME.
The main human villain in the film is as generic as they come. So much, that the movie actually forget about him by the time climax arrives! Its honestly hilarious. Theres a little twist near the middle of movie, revealing that a main character was helping the bad guys all along. But its so poorly though out, that it boggles the mind as to why it was even filmed in the first place.
One excuse Ive heard for this movie was “oh its supposed to be all about the action and spectacle, who cares that the plot is bad?”. First of all, the actual battles themselves are OK at best, its nothing we haven’t seen before in similar movies like Pacific Rim or Transformers; just CGI models fighting each other. The awe of CGI action is wearing off, and this movie has only accelerated that for me. Second of all, and I cant stress this enough: Good writing and Good characters give purpose to the action. If the writing doesn’t hold, and the action is just so-so, what exactly is supposed to keep you invested? Thats just asking for me to fall asleep in the theater.
At the end of the day, Godzilla King of Monsters wasn’t the worst Ive ever seen. But it is definitely up there with one of the most baffling and most cliche. Everything about it makes me believe it was cynically written a board room, only trying to satisfy the widest possible audience. And when you to try please everybody, you end up pleasing no one.
I left my viewing of “Rocketman” smiling ear to ear.
For the last few months Ive been watching many amazing movies; old and new. But I had come realize over the last few weeks, that a great number of them were either incredibly DARK or ended on slightly nihilistic note. Theres nothing at all wrong with a film that deals with morally bankrupt charterers, in fact some of my favorite films include : Reservoir Dogs, American Beauty, The Master, etc.
But to be blunt. Some of the best films Ive ever seen, are kinda downers.
Rocketman changes that tune ( pun intended), by being great biopic that, while not shying away from the darkest parts of Sir Elton Johns early life ( sex,drugs and Rock n Roll), it doesn’t wallow in darkness or cynicism. Instead it chooses to focus on a story of perseverance, neglectful childhoods , and most importantly, finding self-worth in a truly toxic environment.
The film opens with Elton John (played by Taron Egort) dressed in a bright orange devil suit storming down a corridor. As the song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” plays, we come to find out that Elton is not rushing to perform to adoring fans, but instead has come to rehab center to seek help and explain the events of his life that have led to this very moment. As Elton tells his story, he also physically relives it, with the musical number “The Bitch is Back” taking him back to his childhood.
From there we experience the fantasy-like odyssey that is Elton’s life. Beginning with him discovering his close-to-genius talent with the piano, while dealing with his callous and unloving parents, who seem to see him as an annoyance. Then we go onto his start into pop stardom; meeting his longtime collaborator and friend Bernie Taupin, being discovered by a label and impressing American audiences with his voice and showmanship. Things seem to be going well for Elton.
However with all this success is going on, we truly see and feel how lonely Elton is through all of this. Struggling with sexual identity, afraid to open himself to anyone except his friend Bernie, who is immeadiatly accepting of his friends struggles. Coupled with the baggage of having horrible parents and only feeling genuine from a very small group of people, the film portrays Elton John as figure constantly seeking approval and love, while also becoming more and more flamboyant with his costumes. As his success increases, so does his insecurity and reliance on drugs and alcohol. This is all further stressed by the arrival of John Reid, who becomes Elton’s manager and lover. On the service John is suave and intelligent, but as time goes on we see how truly manipulative and emotionally damaging he really is.
Remember when I said this movie wasn’t depressing?
However through all these trials and traumatic emotional episodes, Rocketman tells a story of redemption and self-care. The classic theme that “all that glitters is not gold”, is used exceptionally well here and that before seeking love and approval from other people, one must first love themselves. All of this beautifully told through great musical numbers, my favorites being “Honkey Cat” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road“. All of actors seem to be loving their roles and play their parts with humor and emotional weight.
The film isn’t perfect though. Some of the writing is VERY corny ,a little too on the nose , and it doesn’t help the story starts to drag near the end. Also, while the movie doesn’t shy away from the problematic parts of Elton Johns personality, It still felt like some punches were pulled in reference to Elton infamous anger issues and temper tantrums. If the film was any more hokey, it might feel like a vanity project.
But what truly makes Rocketman special is its never-say-die attitude and optimism, combined with breathtaking cinematography and documentary-level eye for detail; with all of Elton’s famous stage costumes and mannerisms captured on screen.
I had a blast watching Rocketman. This biopic is a hyperactive musical that’s brimming with life and tongue-in-cheek creativity, that also doesn’t try to look away from or censor some of the darker and explicit aspects of the aging Pop-stars life.