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Episode #88: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

  

94 members have voted

  1. 1. *crashing guitar chord*

    • Yes
      81
    • It should be sleeping like a log
      13


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Richard Lester's film not only changed the language of pop cinema and created music videos, it showcases The Beatles at their most irreverent. But does it belong in the Canon?

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So, embarrassed to admit that I'm a Beatlemaniac who hasn't seen this or any Beatles movie. So again I can't vote. A couple of things though. One, I'm a George guy. I also like The Monkees. Saw Mickey Dolenz a few years ago on tour with The Turtles and he was great. So were the Turtles.

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This was one of those episodes that fills giant holes of ignorance in my tiny repository of wisdom. I found the movie unwatchable; the dad-joke humor, my immense indifference for all things Beatles, the re-use of the same 4-5 songs throughout. Just nope.

 

Listening to the podcast, though, and hearing both Devin and Amy's obvious joy for the subject matter and filmmaking techniques really softened me on it. I love how they are both so adept at giving context to the period of the film and helping me appreciate how it impacted subsequent cinema. So I recognize that if I were smarter I would probably vote it into the Canon; but I'm not there yet.

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When I heard you guys were doing this episode I was super excited because, cards on the table, I'm a huge Beatles fan. It had been a little while since I had seen this movie, so I decided to re-watch it so that it was fresh in my mind for today's episode and very small nitpicks aside I had a lot of fun watching it again. It had been long enough since I had seen it that it was like I was experiencing it through fresh eyes again.

 

That being said, when I was considering how to vote, I did momentarily consider the question of whether it really was good and important enough to be put in the canon. I tried as hard as I could to remove my fanboy goggles (as much as is possible) and thought about it. Ultimately, I came in as a pretty hard yes, but listening to Devin and Amy's effusive praise during the episode (which was delightful) effectively stenghened my "yes" vote.

 

 

This is a really is a well-crafted, smart, funny movie that perfectly encapsulates a day in the life (no pun intended) of Beatles during the height of Beatlemania.

 

Oh, and ps, Devin, Revolver was 1966, not 1965 =P (sorry to pull an Amy and nitpick)

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A hard yes, as far as I'm concerned. I watched this a lot as a kid and re-watching it for this podcast really enjoyed again. A lot of great jokes I remembered and a few I'd forgotten or never noticed before. People seemed kind of hostile to it in the homework thread. I hope people watch it with an open mind. I love the Beatles but I think you can appreciate this movie even if you don't. So much great absurdist humor.

And, totally unrelated to this movies Canon's worthiness, Devin, isn't the joke you were talking about with the coat from this movie? She definitely falls in a deep hole, were you thinking of another movie where a woman fell in an even deeper hole, or did you somehow miss that scene and forget this is the movie you were thinking of?

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A hard yes, as far as I'm concerned. I watched this a lot as a kid and re-watching it for this podcast really enjoyed again. A lot of great jokes I remembered and a few I'd forgotten or never noticed before. People seemed kind of hostile to it in the homework thread. I hope people watch it with an open mind. I love the Beatles but I think you can appreciate this movie even if you don't. So much great absurdist humor.

And, totally unrelated to this movies Canon's worthiness, Devin, isn't the joke you were talking about with the coat from this movie? She definitely falls in a deep hole, were you thinking of another movie where a woman fell in an even deeper hole, or did you somehow miss that scene and forget this is the movie you were thinking of?

 

You know what, I think I had an episode where my brain refused to accept that the joke was from the movie I had just watched. Sometimes when I watch the movie right before taping I don't process everything,

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I was glad Amy mentioned Richard Lester having been influenced by the French New Wave. While I'm sure I could have done a minimal amount of research to confirm this was the case, it hadn't really popped into my head until I started listening to this episode and rethinking about the movie, which I haven't seen since discovering the French New Wave in film school.

 

It's also crazy to think about Lester as an actual filmmaker rather than the guy the Salkinds hired to ruin the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Of course, that's more a clear mismatch of director and material than a reflection of Lester's true ability (or lack thereof).

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A thousand times yes on this one! Pure joy. Loved this episode, you guys, as I have three cultural obsessions: Errol Flynn (you knew this), The Beatles, and Stephen Sondheim. So I look forward to your eventual 'West Side Story' episode.

 

Anyway, it's funny, the Beatles movie I watch most often and enjoy a bit more is HELP! That may have something to do with the fact that I saw it first. Or maybe cuz 'Ticket to Ride' might be favorite Beatles song. Or maybe cuz I'm obsessed with Victor Spinetti's mad scientist. But, in terms of the Canon, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is the definite pick for all the reasons so beautifully stated in the episode.

 

B

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This was one of those episodes that fills giant holes of ignorance in my tiny repository of wisdom. I found the movie unwatchable; the dad-joke humor, my immense indifference for all things Beatles, the re-use of the same 4-5 songs throughout. Just nope.

 

Listening to the podcast, though, and hearing both Devin and Amy's obvious joy for the subject matter and filmmaking techniques really softened me on it. I love how they are both so adept at giving context to the period of the film and helping me appreciate how it impacted subsequent cinema. So I recognize that if I were smarter I would probably vote it into the Canon; but I'm not there yet.

 

So..... you say.... you should've known it better?

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It was a 'yes out of consideration' until I rewatched it yesterday. Now its a hard yes...I hadn't seen this film in at least 8 years, and it blew me away! I will never get over how much I hate Ringo's opening joke->laughter at his own joke, but that just showcases the highs and lows of The Beatles as comic performers. John's tub bit was very Bugs Bunny (thanks for pointing that out Devin) and the visual style is impeccable. The Ringo wandering sequence visually reminds me of The 400 Blows (another hard yes on the canon ~70 eps back), and all of the music is beautiful. Lets think about that for a second though -- I'll find myself complaining that a movie relies on music too heavily, and that it feels like a music video (Almost Famous), but this just uses the songs in the absolute most perfect timing and order, to make this 90 minute mock-rock-doc feel like i just spent a couple minutes flipping through my Beatles CDs looking for my favorite tracks in their early work. When the opening line of All My Lovin', "Close your eyes, and I'll kiss you" came on, I couldn't help but start dancing and singing along to my favorite Beatles song. This is so great, thanks for choosing to do an episode on it, because I probably wouldn't have rewatched it otherwise!

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Easy yes. This is one of the first movies I truly remember loving, and as an adult it holds up as well (if not better) than when I watched it as a kid. The chemistry and effortlessness from the fab four is amazing to watch, especially comparing it to almost any other musician trying to act in the history of movies.

 

John is hammy, absurd, and hilarious. George has maybe some of the funniest line deliveries in the entire movie. I could watch Ringo mope around forever. Paul is a little subtle, but I actually think there is a charm to his performance.

 

Great music. Great performances. Influential and stunning directing. So many amazing lines:

"Sorry we hurt your field, mister."

 

"I bet you're a great swimmer."

 

"Books are good."

"Paradin's better."

 

"I fought the war for your kind."

"Bet you're sorry you won."

 

"Do you see your father often?"

"No actually, we're just good friends."

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I am not a fan of The Beatles. They're not overrated, but they also don't do anything for me. Having been raised on The Beatles, and having listened to all of their records many times, I'm pretty burnt out on them.

 

That said, having seen A Hard Day's Night, I was almost re-converted. The film is so energetic, so charming, and so irresistible that I was nearly sold on the band all over again. Hell, pre-Revolver is my favorite era. So, if ever there was a way for The Beatles to bring me back in, it would be through this. A Hard Day's Night is a great comedy, and the impact it has had is undeniable. This is an easy yes.

 

That said

Best Beatle: George

Best album: Revolver

Best song: "A Day in the Life"

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That said

Best Beatle: George

Best album: Revolver

Best song: "A Day in the Life"

 

Well, two out of three ain't bad. :)

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Easy yes and instead of copying and pasting what I said in the homework thread, I'll instead give a shout out to my fellow May 24th birthday-ers Amy and Bob Dylan.

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This movie is the wellspring of music videos, and it helped (as mentioned by Amy and Devin) solidify British comedy worldwide. Solid yes on this one.

 

Also, Paul forever, y'all. Paul forever.

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So I love the Beatles. The Anthology series in the nineties had a big influence on me, and I've been fond of A Hard Day's Night for decades, but I did pause for a moment when I saw it was up for the canon. Is this a great film or is it a great piece of Beatles memorabilia? The fact that there truly is NO PLOT originally made me think this was too fluffy to be canonized, but I reconsidered when I thought about just how big the Beatles were and are to this day. It gets a big bump for that. Period. But I would never vote for this if the film weren't so damn clever.

 

In terms of it being plotless: it's not a flaw, it's a feature. Beatlemania was such a fascinating moment in mass media and pop culture that all you really needed to do was capture that moment in time, and it does so hilariously. If a person is funny they can get away with murder, and it goes for film as well. The fact that John Lennon was such a naturally quirky comedian (the mocking, syncopated gyrations he makes in response to the studio dancers is such inexplicable pure comedy, and you couldn't synthesize it if you tried.) really speaks to the genius of Richard Lester. A Hard Day's Night knows that the only story that it really needs is in the personality of its stars.

 

Context elevates this one dramatically. I'm not sure if someone a thousand years from now could watch AHDN knowing nothing about the Beatles and understand, but I do feel like it's a fun comedy with beautiful songs and a really fascinating look at the early days of mega pop culture hits. Good times. Hard yes.

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As I mentioned in the homework thread, growing up in the San Francisco area where many of my friend's parents were insufferable Berkeley baby boomer hippies kind of soured me on The Beatles because they were such asses about the band. Endlessly telling Gen X kids,"You know, none of the music you like would exist without The Beatles." (hey, as long as there was Chuck Berry, Link Ray, and Gene Vincent; The Cramps would have still existed regardless!) As I got older I eventually came around and learned to enjoy their later material, but admitted I still have a little knee-jerk bias against The Beatles more than most other bands of that period.

 

This was one of those episodes that fills giant holes of ignorance in my tiny repository of wisdom. [...]Listening to the podcast, though, and hearing both Devin and Amy's obvious joy for the subject matter and filmmaking techniques really softened me on it.

 

This was a bit of my experience. Before the episode I was on-the-fence/"soft no". Now I think I might be a "soft yes". I think a lot of the arguments could be reduced to "...but, it's The Beatles!" which wasn't going to sway me, but in between they did make good points about the film being influenced by the French New Wave, as well as the influence this film had on what came after, and the context of what this was really documenting at the time was interesting to hear. Swayed me enough to vote it in. "Not for me" doesn't necessarily mean "not for Canon", so yeah...a "soft yes".

 

Favorite song: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" <-possibly the very first Doom Metal song. \m/ \m/

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A slam dunk "yes" on this one. So important, so influential, and it holds up remarkably well. Two summers ago, I was traveling cross-country and stumbled upon a small, local "cool" theater (similar to CineFamily) in Portland, OR, showing A Hard Day's Night. On a whim, we decided to buy tickets. We were pleased to see that it was sold out to one of the most diverse audiences I've ever seen. Young, old, hip, square, arty, serious, and a variety of different cultures and ethnicities were present and enjoyed the film immensely; it's the kind of movie that an art-house crowd and a mainstream audience can watch together and derive equal amounts of enjoyment (although they might appreciate different aspects of the movie).

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A slam dunk "yes" on this one. So important, so influential, and it holds up remarkably well. Two summers ago, I was traveling cross-country and stumbled upon a small, local "cool" theater (similar to CineFamily) in Portland, OR, showing A Hard Day's Night. On a whim, we decided to buy tickets. We were pleased to see that it was sold out to one of the most diverse audiences I've ever seen. Young, old, hip, square, arty, serious, and a variety of different cultures and ethnicities were present and enjoyed the film immensely; it's the kind of movie that an art-house crowd and a mainstream audience can watch together and derive equal amounts of enjoyment (although they might appreciate different aspects of the movie).

 

That's awesome! I'm actually from Portland! I wish I had known about this, I totally would have gone! Do you happened to remember which theater it was? (Perhaps the Hollywood Theater? - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Theatre_(Portland,_Oregon))

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Of course yes! The Beatles are the sound of the '60s social revolution, in terms of songwriting and political ideology/social norms. This is a band that went from "She Loves You" to Tomorrow Never Knows" in almost exactly three years.

 

This movie is great even if the songs aren't that anarchist or ambitious though. The jokes are especially classic absurdism..

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Would've loved, or felt deep pain at, a versus episode with this and HELP.

 

 

It would be an AHDN landslide.

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It would be an AHDN landslide.

 

This.

 

I really like Help! a lot, but not enough to delude myself into thinking that it's anywhere near in the same league as A Hard Day's Night.

 

On the other hand, if we were comparing the albums, that might be a bit closer.. (The British versions, of course.)

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