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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 83 The Commitments (w/ Once)

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One man’s story to become a world famous band manager.

We watched:

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I really enjoyed the movie, but I really didn’t understand exactly how an Irish band that exclusively performs covers of Sixties souls music was ever supposed to become world famous. Like, I get how the type of music was supposed to reflect and be relatable to early 90’s Dublin, but I didn’t understand how that was supposed translate to international stardom. At best, I felt like they’d be a really well-liked local band. Maybe if the movie was set in the Sixties, but early 90’s? I don’t know...

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

I really enjoyed the movie, but I really didn’t understand exactly how an Irish band that exclusively performs covers of Sixties souls music was ever supposed to become world famous. Like, I get how the type of music was supposed to reflect and be relatable to early 90’s Dublin, but I didn’t understand how that was supposed translate to international stardom. At best, I felt like they’d be a really well-liked local band. Maybe if the movie was set in the Sixties, but early 90’s? I don’t know...

That's the point.  Jimmy thought the music would appeal to the "working-class" and never thought through that the working class was limited, or that other cultures' working class would have different tastes or aspirations.  I hadn't thought of that until now but it explains a lot for me.

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Obviously I love the movie but the music is the big draw.  Supposedly the music was recorded live to preserve the performances as they were.  That seems like they did it during the rehearsal scenes but I am not sure about the club gigs.  There is one or two spots (the fight at the roller rink where the music and singing trail off) but Try A Little Tenderness seems too spot on.  I also know there is another singer for some of the songs, Niamh Kavanaugh.  I'm not sure how they worked her in or if they didn't film songs she participated in.

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

I really enjoyed the movie, but I really didn’t understand exactly how an Irish band that exclusively performs covers of Sixties souls music was ever supposed to become world famous. Like, I get how the type of music was supposed to reflect and be relatable to early 90’s Dublin, but I didn’t understand how that was supposed translate to international stardom. At best, I felt like they’d be a really well-liked local band. Maybe if the movie was set in the Sixties, but early 90’s? I don’t know...

Especially when it seems that very few of the people in the band listened to or had any interest in soul music. This is a cover band. Maybe they would have started writing their own songs but a cover band of a style instead of a particular band probably isn't going anywhere big. And it appears that the artists they were covering seemed to be active and occasionally playing in Dublin.

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While I enjoyed the movie, I do kind of feel like it has a few too many characters. Like, the bass player and the guitar player are set up as main characters (it’s their band after all that starts the whole thing), but I could not tell you their names without looking them up. 

I think the problem with so many characters is that rather than getting deep on any particular storyline, conflicts get introduced but are almost immediately resolved. For example, the original drummer leaves so they get their psychotic bud to replace him. There’s one scene of him rehearsing where it’s set up that he’s going to be a disaster and then it cuts to their gig and he’s absolutely fine. Maybe the book gets deeper into these things, but I feel like if you have a character who is “a violent drummer who hates the lead singer” and replace him with “a violent drummer who hates the lead singer” then I have no problem combining those two characters and writing somebody out.

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1 hour ago, Cinco DeNio said:

That's the point.  Jimmy thought the music would appeal to the "working-class" and never thought through that the working class was limited, or that other cultures' working class would have different tastes or aspirations.  I hadn't thought of that until now but it explains a lot for me.

I feel bad for Bernie (sp?).

She gets killed when her shuttle explodes in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

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28 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

While I enjoyed the movie, I do kind of feel like it has a few too many characters. Like, the bass player and the guitar player are set up as main characters (it’s their band after all that starts the whole thing), but I could not tell you their names without looking it up. 

I think the problem with so many characters is that rather than getting deep on any particular storyline, conflicts get introduced but are almost immediately resolved. For example, the original drummer leaves so they get their psychotic bud to replace him. There’s one scene of him rehearsing where it’s set up that he’s going to be a disaster and then it cuts to their gig and he’s absolutely fine. Maybe the book gets deeper into these things, but I feel like if you have a character who is “a violent drummer who hates the lead singer” and replace him with “a violent drummer who hates the lead singer” then I have no problem combining those two characters and writing somebody out.

I felt similarly about all the relationship stuff. You have Rabbit (I know it was spelled different but so what) who seems to be crushing on... I don't recall all the names, blondie. He gets, short hair to bring her along because she's good looking and obviously he likes her. Then the girls start sleeping with Hot Lips and then the brunette girl asks Rabbit "If we weren't in a band would you go out with me?" Where did that come from? It's not really brought up until the end again when he's talking about where everybody is. Even there it is vague as if they're an item or not.

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1 minute ago, Cam Bert said:

I felt similarly about all the relationship stuff. You have Rabbit (I know it was spelled different but so what) who seems to be crushing on... I don't recall all the names, blondie. He gets, short hair to bring her along because she's good looking and obviously he likes her. Then the girls start sleeping with Hot Lips and then the brunette girl asks Rabbit "If we weren't in a band would you go out with me?" Where did that come from? It's not really brought up until the end again when he's talking about where everybody is. Even there it is vague as if they're an item or not.

Very true! He even says, “How can you ask me that after what I just said in there!” and I was like, “Have you two even been alone together in a scene?”

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I enjoyed the movie but it did something I hate. Nothing about the movie but with myself. Obviously the movie shares a lot of similarities with Sing Street which is a movie from a few years ago that I absolutely loved. Once I started noticing those similarities I couldn't help but start comparing the two movies in my mind. This isn't fair to this movie because the story is different (they're both about poor Irish who start bands) and the type and style of music is different. Not to mention the 20 plus year gap between them and this movie could have well influenced Sing Street. I just feel like I couldn't fully judge this movie because the shadow of Sing Street was looming in my mind. I loved the music, didn't like their disrespect for jazz, and thought the movie was good.

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22 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I felt similarly about all the relationship stuff. You have Rabbit (I know it was spelled different but so what) who seems to be crushing on... I don't recall all the names, blondie. He gets, short hair to bring her along because she's good looking and obviously he likes her. Then the girls start sleeping with Hot Lips and then the brunette girl asks Rabbit "If we weren't in a band would you go out with me?" Where did that come from? It's not really brought up until the end again when he's talking about where everybody is. Even there it is vague as if they're an item or not.

Yeah. I felt the same about the just being too many characters to the detriment of character development. I liked the developed characters but the are several band members who don't really get anything to do. If this had six band members, I think it's just a stronger film for the characters. 

This scene with long brown hair woman confessing her love was jarring. I had no idea she liked him or that maybe he liked her. I think it would have worked better if it Bernie and Imelda as the only two back-up singers.

Bernie could have been the one in line with Rabbit. It makes Bernie's anger at Rabbit asking to get Imelda in the band more justifiable (though it was justifiable but is stronger). It's a bit stereotypical that the aloof guy isn't picking this up but oh well.

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2 hours ago, Cinco DeNio said:

Obviously I love the movie but the music is the big draw.  Supposedly the music was recorded live to preserve the performances as they were.  That seems like they did it during the rehearsal scenes but I am not sure about the club gigs.  There is one or two spots (the fight at the roller rink where the music and singing trail off) but Try A Little Tenderness seems too spot on.  I also know there is another singer for some of the songs, Niamh Kavanaugh.  I'm not sure how they worked her in or if they didn't film songs she participated in.

Did the whole band play their instruments? It definitely looks like some of the music was recorded live. The lead singer didn't look like he was lip synching.  I figured a lot of the rest was just miming it.

I was too lazy to look it up but did the lead singer ever go on to be a singer? He's got a great voice.

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2 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Did the whole band play their instruments? It definitely looks like some of the music was recorded live. The lead singer didn't look like he was lip synching.  I figured a lot of the rest was just miming it.

I was too lazy to look it up but did the lead singer ever go on to be a singer? He's got a great voice.

Didn't you see the end of the movie?  He did but he was a big prick. 🙂

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9 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Did the whole band play their instruments? It definitely looks like some of the music was recorded live. The lead singer didn't look like he was lip synching.  I figured a lot of the rest was just miming it.

I was too lazy to look it up but did the lead singer ever go on to be a singer? He's got a great voice.

I think everyone could play, or at least fake it well enough. I’m not sure how “live” it was though. I definitely caught the bass player out of sync a couple of times.

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22 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Did the whole band play their instruments? It definitely looks like some of the music was recorded live. The lead singer didn't look like he was lip synching.  I figured a lot of the rest was just miming it.

I was too lazy to look it up but did the lead singer ever go on to be a singer? He's got a great voice.

Yes, the lead singer, Andrew Strong,  IRL has a singing career.  So do others.  Some of them were in bands beforehand.  (The rabid drummer was in a band.  The end footage of him screaming into a mike is basically him with his real band.)  I had a big crush on the actress who played Natalie.  She still sings but she got married.  She's Maria Doyle Kennedy now.  The actor who played Jimmy, Robert Arkins, sings Treat Her Right in the end credits.

Also, the whole band toured for a little while, a la Spinal Tap.  Some still do, under the name The Stars from The Commitments.

 

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10 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I think everyone could play, or at least fake it well enough. I’m not sure how “live” it was though. I definitely caught the bass player out of sync a couple of times.

I thought it sounded pretty good for an early 90s Irish movie band if it was live but I also thought the lip synching was too good to be pre-recorded.

I just saw this is based on a novel. So, I assume the book gives a lot of the characters not getting enough time. It's probably just as adaptation issue of compressing everything to a movie length.

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18 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

I thought it sounded pretty good for an early 90s Irish movie band if it was live but I also thought the lip synching was too good to be pre-recorded.

I just saw this is based on a novel. So, I assume the book gives a lot of the characters not getting enough time. It's probably just as adaptation issue of compressing everything to a movie length.

That’s what I think to, but like I said above, I think it might have behooved them to combine some of the characters/stories. Like you said, reduce one of the back up singers, or like I said, combine the two drummers.

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Another thing I had a bit of an issue with is that when the band ultimately implodes, I’m not entirely sure why. I get there was animosity simmering in the background, but I wasn’t clear as to why *this* time was the straw that broke the camel’s back. (I mean, beyond the movie needing to end... :) )

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The Corrs each have small roles in this film! Andrea played Jimmy's oldest sister Sharon, while Caroline, Sharon and Jim Corr were background characters in this as well.

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

That’s what I think to, but like I said above, I think it might have behooved them to combine some of the characters/stories. Like you said, reduce one of the back up singers, or like I said, combine the two drummers.

Absolutely. Guitar, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, lead and two back-up singers. That's still eight people even without the manager. That's enough for a two hour movie.

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I loved a lot of the onstage drama. It reminded me of my old band and how we would yell and glare at each other onstage whenever we would fuck up or do something stupid. Moments like that made you believe that this was a real band.

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Did anyone else notice that Joey "the Lips" is a member of the "Well-Meaning White Musicians with Inexplicable Backstories Playing Traditionally Black Music Because They Claim to Be Sent By God" Club?

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Another nice thing about this movie is that it introduced me to “Dark End of the Street” which I love.

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By the way, even though I keep kind of ripping on this movie, I did like it. I think the actors were mostly pretty good. The energy of the film is pretty good and I'm really glad they didn't try that dumb ending like, "They went on the be the biggest band in the world" or some such nonsense. They ended like the vast majority of bands:  a few gigs then never, ever being remotely popular.

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