Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, we hope that you'll survive the show

I'm starting to feel 'normal' again after several days of being knocked flat on my back by the flu. I don't wish that shit on anyone. Well, maybe Robert Stigwood, who until this morning I sort of admired, if in a narrow sense.

For you kids, Stigwood was the mastermind behind the worldwide explosion in popularly of disco in the late 1970s. He was more than that, of course, but that was his legacy, his high water mark. He managed/produced the Bee Gees and produced the films and soundtracks for Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

But this morning I happened upon his Waterloo and it suspended me in perplexed animation: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, The Movie. Oh God, the Horror! I couldn't move, my eyes wouldn't close.

I was lying in bed, half awake. Still coming back from the flu's wrath. I flipped the TV on and there it was. In every way that something can be bad, this is worse. Every frame, each note redefines yet again and takes to new heights the term "that's just wrong." And the sounds! Good God, yall - what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Edwin Starr unwittingly wrote the first review of this movie about eight years prior to its release

Now I don't hold up the Beatles Pepper album as some 'on high' untouchable beacon of light. There is no thing so holy in my book. Everything and anything is fair game for fucking around with if it produces something of value. And in fact, Sgt. Pepper is close to dead last in my list of favorite Beatles albums (just scrapping up off the basement floor above Magical Mystery Tour). But how much cocaine and booze and hyper inflated shots of ego-booster did it take come up with this shit storm???

The casting of feather maned mannequins the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton was an act for which no punishment seems worthy. Now, I like the Brothers Gibb. I loved the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. Frampton never 'Came Alive' for me but I had nothing personal against the guy. Until now.

Look, if I want to hear the Beatles tunes done up in such a fashion, all I have to do is play the original mop top album at triple speed and add synthesizers to the mix. While sticking my hands on two lit stove burners and dropping my dick down into the running garbage disposal. Ed Wood himself would have chased these boys from the set and chewed through his angora sweater in disgust over the chips in their acting chops. Elvis at his thespian worst was Olivier doing Hamlet when compared to these pepperheaded choir boys. Thankfully they don't do much more than sing, prance around and mug for the camera; unfortunately, they do a lot of those things.

No amount of 'stunt' cameos can pour enough deodorant over this steaming pile of shit to disguise the stench. And anyway, the flies buzzing overhead would surely give it away. It is an eclectic brew of "special guests" fading in and out too: Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Earth, Wind and Fire, Steve Martin, all doing a Beatles tune before running for the hills. Billy Preston, who played keyboards for the real Fab Four toward the end of their run, plays Sgt. Pepper himself. Steve Martin is the only one who isn't funny, which should tell you something. The funny ones - all the rest - are funny, sad. Not funny, ha-ha.

"A splendid time is guaranteed for all." That's the tagline. It must have been a misprint. "An excruciating time is guaranteed for all" was likely the correct one. On that, they delivered big.

I really expected more from the director of Car Wash. Then again, I'd have expected more from a random homeless person on the street or that three legged dog up the block with the dented head who's happily lapping up its own diarrhea.

I recommend mandating its viewing for the hard cases in juvie as a sort of "scared straight" cautionary tale of the damage done through unchecked power, excess and "better living" through chemicals. I'm not talking 1960s psychedelics - nothing this vile could possibly emerge from something so tame as a bad acid trip. No, this is more serious.

Look kids - look what people did to themselves in the 70s with cocaine and ego and champagne. And synthesizers.

And the damage continues unabated through the DVD, Cable and digital downloads. Some things are better left on the cutting room floor, sometimes some things are every thing.