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Monday, May 11, 2015

Just when I think I understand the movie industry, it does something I cannot explain. After gaining tremendous momentum with Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie business decided to take a break this week and release almost nothing new. With birthdays and Mother’s Day falling on the same day this week, I decided to focus on my family and get back to the drive-in next week.

In February 1964, the Beatles burst into American homes with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. Like any smart manager, Brian Epstein saw what was going on and immediately wanted to cash in even more on the Beatles’ phenomenal success, so he had a movie written and made in less than seven weeks. The final product was released to much fanfare in July 1964. Considering everything that could have gone wrong with the movie, it actually turned out very well.

The one knock I had about the movie is that it moves incredibly slow. If you are not into British humor or the Beatles (I happen to enjoy both), then you will probably turn this movie off after the first 15 minutes. But the Beatles are actually very funny when they talk to each other and, even though it is a script, they deliver it so naturally that I have to believe that they had a hand in writing it. To be honest, the poster for the movie is more exciting than the movie, but I still enjoyed the film immensely.

With A Hard Day’s Night, you get jokes like Paul McCartney’s “grandfather” quickly glancing and the generous cleavage of the woman next to him and him commenting that she must be a wonderful swimmer. To me, that is funny. It isn’t raunchy, like American comedy tends to be. It is cheeky, British humor that is done much better by professionals such as Monty Python, but still done very well by the Beatles in this movie.

There is no exciting action in this movie, despite what the exciting clips you have seen of the Beatles running from thousands of fans would have you believe. This is simply a movie about the Beatles doing stuff and being funny. There isn’t even really a plot. The writer, Alun Owen, inserted a couple of extra characters to help flesh things out a bit, but this movie is just an excuse to put the Beatles on the big screen, make them likeable to everyone, and sell more records.

It seems like one of the primary goals of this movie was to make the Beatles likeable to parents around the world. The Beatles make several comments that could only be classified as parental and, in the presence of Paul McCartney’s “grandfather,” it is the Beatles who act like the adults. But that only helps to set up some extremely funny scenes with the grandfather that make the movie all that much more entertaining.

When A Hard Day’s Night was released, it was a box office and critical success. The major publications such as Time Magazine got the humor and the popularity of the Beatles sold tickets at the box office. But it is the fact that this movie is still regarded as one of the best musicals and band films ever made that is a true testament to its quality. When your movie receives a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, then you have definitely created a hit.

A Hard Day’s Night is a funny movie that is worth watching at least once. If you are a Michael Bay Boom! ‘Splosions! kind of guy, then don’t even bother with this film. But if you are interested in watching something that is British humor at its best and gives you some insight into just how talented the Beatles really were, then check this out on Hulu when you get a chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

+George N Root III  is a drive-in fanatic who is riding out the lull in movies this week by watching the Beatles. New movie reviews start back up next week and he hopes to see you at the drive-in.

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