Total Run Time of 90 minutes or less. Have I seen them all? Yes, but that doesn't mean I'll vouch…
Magical Mystery Tour
A typically Beatlesque film originally produced for television, this short film was intended to be an off-the-wall road movie with the Beatles and three dozen or so friends on a psychedelic bus.
It makes an acid trip with The Beatles not the most amazing thing ever.
'Magical Mystery Tour' sees the Beatles on one of those dull, dull, bus trips around the countryside.
Except of course this trip keeps getting interrupted by strange happenings and visions, and has some classic Beatles tracks including 'Flying' (with lots of colour filter changes which would have really looked rubbish when this film first aired on TV, in black and white!); 'Blue Jay Way' (in which George drones on while playing a keyboard drawn on a rock); 'Your Mother Should Know' (with the cheesy 'coming down the stairs' bit); 'The Fool on the Hill' (where Paul stands on a hill, natch); and, best of all, 'I Am The Walrus' (with eggmen, walruses, and other strange beings, and some funky spaced…
So the Beatles have made a film with the same whimsy and subversive unconventionality with which they made their music. Except, you know, without the genius, inspiration, or technical proficiency.
The "Death Cab For Cutie" scene is brilliant though, and pretty much invents David Lynch. Even their table scraps innovate.
Edit: upon further consideration, I'm changing my rating from 1.5 stars to 2.5 stars. It's still not a good film, but the Lynch comparison is an interesting one. There are a handful of interesting scenes. The famous spaghetti scene is made memorable by Lennon's perverse performance. The improvised wizard scenes have some real spontaneity to them. And the romantic dream sequence maybe even evokes some emotion. There's the seeds of an interesting film here. Ultimately it fails, however, because the MO is "too cool to care."
"-I am the walrus".
"-Shut the fuck up, Donny!".
Hadn't seen this since a baffled viewing as a kid. Despite its reputation for being a bit of a mess, I found it entirely warm and charming, and although it is silly and indulgent it's also touched by genius (well, of course it is, it's The Beatles). There is so much to love - Victor Spinetti's very funny sergeant major, Ivor Cutler, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and inevitably the simply brilliant musical sequences. There is probably not much more to it than the band having fun, but if you scratch the surface you can sense the pain they were going through in their personal lives, and nostalgia for the Britain of their youth, by then left far behind.
Ultimately, you have to admire that four years after Love Me Do the band was using their position to inflict this on a Christmas viewing public. It's hard to imagine One Direction doing the same.
Magical Mystery Tour is one of those movies that's only worth watching because it's so shit. As with Help! the music videos are the only thing worth, but whereas Help had potential and a good cast, Magical Mystery Tour has none of this. That being said it's almost fun to watch just because of how spontaneous and bad it is.
For a Beatles fan this is a great watch, although if you're not big into them I'd imagine it'd come across as a little silly and plotless.
A nice piece of Beatles history that is certainly worth the watch, though not quite a cinematic masterpiece.
"-I am the walrus".
"-Shut the fuck up, Donny!".
One of their best albums (no really, it is), and one of their worst outputs. I chalk it up to them being in an acid and marijuana induced state of distress following the sudden death of Brian Epstein. This for them was comfort food. For us it's... stuff.
But as George Harrison pointed out in the Beatles Anthology documentary, where else will you see John Lennon piling a gigantic slab of spaghetti in front of a screaming fat lady?
In a catalogue of groundbreaking and highly acclaimed works in both music and the movies, Magical Mystery Tour is seen by many Beatles critics and historians as one of the band’s only artistic failures. When it first released as a television movie on Boxing Day 1967 critics were less than kind - the phrase self indulgent used quite often - and audience members made paralytic by Christmas meals and stranded with extended families were taken aback by an hour of walrus costumes, Wacky Races antics, strippers, truly dark absurdism and, in maybe the worse horror of all, having to experience a British coach day.
There is an important element to their viewing experience, however, that also means some of…
Somehow I've ended up watching this more than once and I still cannot make heads or tails of it
where are the jokes?? the plot? any substance at all?? why did i watch this twice??
This movie is so odd and weird that everytime I watch it, it makes me cringe a little. But there are some good reasons that make me keep watching it:
1) The Beatles (did anybody have any doubt about this?);
2) The I Am The Walrus part, that is amazingly absurd;
3) Paul McCartney was a total babe.
"Away in the sky, beyond the clouds, live 4 or 5 Magicians. By casting wonderful spells they turn the Most Ordinary Coach Trip into a Magical Mystery Tour."
Bizarre, wacky, surreal and most probably a Paul McCartney acid trip; but still the Magical Mystery Tour is somewhat enjoyable.
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