Movies about the lives of some of our most famous musical acts have been around for a long time.
We’ve had Gary Busey play Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story in 1978. Lou Diamond Phillips Played Ritchie Valens in La Bamba in 1987. Dennis Quaid was Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire in 1989. Jennifer Lopez became a household name for portraying Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in Selena. Jamie Foxx won an Academy Award for portraying Ray Charles in Ray in 2004. Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award for portraying Johnny Cash, and Reese Witherspoon won an Academy Award for portraying June Carter Cash in Walk The Line in 2005. These are just a few of the plethora of movies about musical icons. We’ve had great ones and not so great ones – looking at you VH1 (although I will admit I liked the Meat Loaf and Def Leopard movies; the VH1 movies could be an article all by themselves).
Just this past Friday, November 2nd 2018, we had the newest movie come out to this impressive field. Bohemian Rhapsody starting Rami Malek, best known for his starring and Emmy winning role of Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot.
I’ve only seen the first season of Mr. Robot so far, but I knew Malek had talent when I first heard he was cast as Freddie Mercury, the lead singer for one of the top three best bands from England, Queen.
Everyone knows a Queen song even if you don’t think you do. They scored the classic Flash Gordon. For Highlander they created the theme song, which was also used in the TV series, along with adding a few other songs to the mix for the movie. I’m sure we all know the sport stadium classics “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. If you don’t then just stop reading right now. I don’t know what rock you’ve been under or dark black hole you’ve been living in, but I can’t imagine you are here on the internet and don’t know those two songs.
If you were alive and watching movies in the 90’s you know of Wayne and Garth and the head banging fun they brought us with the song “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Like I said, we all know a Queen song. I’ll admit I’m not as much of a Queen expert as I would like to have been before seeing this movie, but I sure am going to do a lot of research on the history of the band now. I know enough that I could tell where the movie, like all movies do, shifted some areas around for the sake of adding drama where it was needed.
They didn’t even touch the whole backlash Queen got for playing Sun City in South Africa in 1984. Alas, this was mainly a movie about Freddie Mercury and not as much about the rest of Queen. While Freddie Mercury and Queen are inseparable in my mind, adding too much about the band would have taken away from the awesome movie.
There was a lot of trouble with the movie during production. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally supposed to play Freddie, only to be replaced by Rami Malek after years of delays. During production Bryan Singer, who is credited as the director, had problems with Rami Malek and even threw something at him and left the film set for three days unexplained. Luckily the cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel stepped in for those three days. Bryan Singer was eventually let go with a few weeks of shooting left, as well as reshoots and post production. Fox Studio was able to get Dexter Fletcher to step in and take over.
Knowing this entire back story scared me. I was happy they replaced Sacha Baron Cohen, though, because I could not picture him playing Freddie.
Then the first trailer came out. WOW!!! Again WOW!!! It blew me away. It looked a little VH1-ish, but WOW!!! I was so excited to see this movie.
Let me tell you – it did not disappoint. The acting was phenomenal. Rami Malek was Freddie Mercury. The other three actors, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joseph Mazzello who played Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon respectively were great as well. I really thought I was watching Queen both in the studio and in live performances, and just interacting. I got completely lost in this wonderful movie.
I always dread seeing a film that is 2 hours or more in the theater. I’m afraid that it will be boring in parts, but this movie had me from the opening to the end, when it didn’t even feel like the 2 hour 14 minute run time was over. I wanted so much more. It left me hungry for more about Freddie Mercury and Queen.
The concert scenes are great. I mean it is a great story about the ups and down for Mercury. Even sitting here now I just want to go see it again. The Live Aid performance was the best. I could hardly tell you if it was Queen or the actors portraying them. To capture that magic, of what is considered by many to be one of the best live performances ever, is just jaw-droppingly AMAZING.
They captured the infighting the band had; they show the struggle Mercury had with his sexuality and just the magic of them going into the studio to create some of the most iconic rock songs of all time. It’s awe-inspiring just sitting here and thinking about the movie again as I write this.
So to wrap up… GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!
If you like Queen, love Queen, or have just heard of Queen, you have to check out Bohemian Rhapsody. I feel like there’s a good chance this could get Rami Malek Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
Don’t wait to see it after that happens – see it now.