Thursday Movie Picks: The Band

 

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is about Bands. I suppose you could interpret this as bands of people, but I took it for literal musical bands. Here are some of my favorite films that include them.

1) Breakfast on Pluto

I love this movie about a trans woman who leaves her Irish town and heads to London and their cabaret scene. It has an amazing performance by Cillian Murphy. After watching the documentary Disclosure, I know it's not highly regarded in the trans community anymore as Murphy is a cis, straight male playing the lead role, and that makes me a little sad because it's always been an indie film I recommended. Especially for those looking for LGBTQIA requests. 

2) God Help The Girl

This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing movies I've ever seen. I love everything about it. The music, the fashion, the way the leads make such a great team. It follows a girl fresh out of treatment for an eating disorder, a singer/songwriter, and one of his guitar students. They form a band together to share their love for songwriting. It's just a cute movie. 

3) Band Aid

This film is about a couple who in a last ditch effort to save their marriage decide to write all their fights into songs and start a band together. It's peak mumblecore but I like how it all plays out. 

17 comments:

  1. I only know Breakfast on Pluto of the three. I liked but didn't love it. I try and be as sensitive to issues of gender identity as possible but I have to say I'm weary of the constant carping about this role or that not being played by the exact type of person the role essays. It's acting for heavens sake!! Creative performers should be able to fulfill the requirements of the role not have to be excluded because they aren't a precise fit. IF they could have found an Irish trans actress would the performance have been as skillful as Murphy's? Not impossible but doubtful.

    Your second appeals to me more than the third (the mumblecore reference puts me off) I'll have to try and track it down.

    Once I'd compiled mine I realized this could have been documentaries on bands. Usually that wouldn't matter but I just watched a whole bunch of them last week when TCM showed an entire day of concert films in a sort of end of summer music festival. Drat! But I'd already finished.....the Woodstock one was fantastic though (very long however, almost 4 hours)

    Here's what I came up with instead:

    Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)-In San Francisco near the turn of the last century concert violinist Roger Grant (Tyrone Power) abandons classical music when he falls under the spell of jazz much to his family’s disapproval. Circumstances lead to him renaming himself Alexander and forming a ragtime band with buddy, pianist Charlie Dwyer (Don Ameche) and singer Stella Kirby (Alice Faye) who both men love. Two decades, and a flock of great Irving Berlin songs, pass as they reach the heights of success even as their love lives founder.

    Strike Up the Band (1940)-Teenagers Jimmy Connors (Mickey Rooney) the drummer of the band he leads and his girlfriend, singer Mary Holden (Judy Garland) dream of winning a contest for school bands hosted by popular band leader Paul Whiteman. There’s just one hitch, the contest is in Chicago and for the band to take the train they need $200 (the equivalent to almost $3,800 today). They borrow the cash but when one of their number becomes seriously ill the money has to be used to help out. What to do now? Why put on a show of course!!! Mickey’s on the unctuous side but Judy is appealing and sings like a dream.

    The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)-The Bower Family Band (including Buddy Ebsen, Lesley Ann Warren and Kurt Russell) are newly arrived in Dakota Territory just as statehood talk is at its peak and the 1888 battle between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland for the presidency is in full swing. The Bowers are Republicans as are most of the other residents of their new town but Grandpa Bower (Walter Brennan) is a staunch Democrat which causes no end of trouble for the clan. All the strife doesn’t keep them from breaking into elaborate musical numbers from time to time in this Disney flick. In the small role of the “Giggly Girl” Goldie Hawn makes her screen debut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get that, but Trans actors need to be given the chance and they just aren't, which is why I understand wanting trans actors to play trans characters. They need to get in the door.

      Strike Up The Band is on my Judy list. I think that's likely what I'll watch next.

      Delete
    2. I see that too and I definitely support more opportunities going forward but these things can't be done retroactively. Once the die is cast and the film is a fait accompli it's useless to grouse about what it isn't. Appreciate it for what it is and contextualize it within the time period it was made. We shouldn’t abandon something because it doesn't fit into a contemporary worldview. Older films can't be viewed that way or sooner or later everything about them will be objectionable. I think many groups waste a lot of time and energy focusing on that rather than saying "Okay this is how it was, let’s remember that and learn from it but here's where we're going and move on."

      Few things change overnight and as I recall Breakfast on Pluto was considered a big step forward at the time of its release in representation on the screen for the very idea of a trans person being a visible lead character or existing in society. There are certainly more trans people who have received levels of recognition since, and some of that can be tied to projects like this but progress is slow, which unfortunately holds to almost all areas of social evolution. However if it comes down to casting someone who is not up to the demands of the role just because they are trans or putting someone in it that is not but will make a powerful impact with the mastery of their craft I’d rather see the latter than the former. But yes both should have a chance at it.

      Strike Up the Band (and the pair's Babes in Arms from the previous year) is sort of a crystalization of the "Let's put a show on in a barn and save (the family...the band...or whatever pressing need the script came up with!!!) idea that was so successful for Mickey and Judy until she grew out of her teenhood and up and away from such shenanigans. Enjoyable but very "Golly Gee Whiz" earnest.

      Delete
    3. Mickey I never could stand, but I think Judy will be enough for me to ignore that lol

      Delete
  2. Breakfast in Pluto and God Help the Girl are films I really want to see. The former because it features a cameo appearance from Bryan Ferry and the latter because it features music written by the leader of Belle & Sebastian. Band Aid is an awesome film that people need to check out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're bother really wonderful and I think you'd enjoy them.

      Delete
  3. Oh man, I haven't seen any of your picks this week! Breakfast on Pluto sounds like something I'd really like to see <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Haven't seen any of these. Breakfast on Pluto has been on my radar for ages. I really should break down and watch it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Times change. There will be a time when we look at movies like Breakfast on Pluto in the same way that we look at whitewashed films of the '40s and '50s. 2005 was a year for cis/het actors playing trans roles--Felicity Huffman was Oscar-nominated in Transamerica.

    That's problematic casting now, but wasn't 15 years ago, and Huffman is brilliant in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should get around to seeing Transamerica. I let my salt over Cillian Murphy not getting enough attention for Breakfast on Pluto get in the way of that.

      Delete
  6. I haven’t seen any of these but I love Murphy and I’m always looking for more LGBTQ+ movies so I’ll definitely check it out. And I agree, trans role should be given to trans people because a thing is playing a character like Redmayne’s in The Danish Girl, a thing is playing a character that has transitioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like Breakfast on Pluto, it's really good!

      Delete
  7. I'd like to see the first one and the 2nd sounds sweet. I agree with what Joel said. I do believe that the roles should allow actors who are Trans etc... to try out but if they are truly bad in acting and a straight person is excellent then we need to go by this.
    Unfortunately, I also know that prejudice is ripe and someone who is Trans and who gives an outstanding performance, may be disregarded. It makes me think of the film, The Good Earth. Louise Rainer won the Oscar for this role and she is excellent in it, but the Asian community complained because an Asian actress was not used like Anna May Wong. It would have been cool to see if Anna May Wong would have been just as good as Louise Rainer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I watched a video from Be Kind Rewind on Louise Rainer's win. It's frustrating how racist studios were with casting and rules and interracial relationships.

      Delete
  8. I've only seen the second movie. I like the look of the film generally but I didn't like the scenes where Browning's character broke the fourth wall and looked directly at the camera. It was just so awkward.

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me, I'm lonely.