Thursday, December 4, 2014

Movie Review: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1978)

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Movie"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Director: Michael Schultz
Year: 1978
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a military band that inspired the troops on the battlefield during WWII and were awarded the Golden Eagle Award for their service. Their magical instruments were left to their hometown in Heartland, USA where it is said that as long as they remain in the town, these instruments can make dreams come true. Now, Sgt Peppers' grandson Billy Shears (Peter Frampton) has reformed the band with three brothers, Mark (Barry Gibb), Dave (Robin Gibb) and Bob Henderson (Maurice Gibb). This new Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band becomes very popular, but is in danger of being corrupted by a greedy record company, along with drugs, alcohol and women. This leaves an opening for the evil Mr. Mustard (Frankie Howard) to steal the magical instruments from Heartland, which leaves the town vulnerable. Soon, it may even be overrun by strip clubs, liquor stores, and other low moral establishments. 
...this was the face we made the entire time we watched this movie. God bless Barry Gibb and his marvelous haircape.

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is an iconic, experimental album from legendary British band The Beatles. John Lennon was obviously an outspoken musician and person when it came to spreading peace and non-violence, as well as promoting a staunch anti-war mindset. So, when the makers of this film heard the album and were inspired to make a movie from its music, they went with a movie about an "American" band of war heroes that takes place in "Heartland, USA" and stars British musicians Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees, not The Beatles. How logical.

This film is bizarre to say the least. It's like one big acid trip of melody and utter nonsense coated in a candy-colored shell. On the plus side, it does have some amazing music written by the Beatles...and that's pretty much its only plus side other than the unintended LOLs, hilarious facial expressions and Barry Gibb's hair. On the much more negative flip side, some of said music is performed by the likes of George Burns, who we love, and Frankie Howerd, and the word "performed" is used extremely loosely. It's all one big trainwreck of epic proportions that drags on and on and on and on until you think you're going to cry from how long it is. At one point during the movie, we decided to check and see how long we had been watching it. We figured it had been on at least an hour, if not more...but then again, we'd be wrong. 18 minutes. It had only been on 18 minutes. At another point in the film, we assumed it was winding down because there wasn't much left to talk about and really, no songs left from the album. It had over an hour left to go. At one point I even wanted the good lord above to take me while I still had my sanity.

While some might find this movie endearing because it boasts a maximum campy and cheese factor, it's really hard to get past how painful it is to watch. The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton are not actors and should have stuck to actual singing instead of showboating and lip syncing for the amusement of no one. Really, it's sort of embarassing. It's really no wonder why The Beatles wanted nothing to do with this movie. What little story there is follows a loose, poorly constructed map that is only there to showcase The Beatles' songs to see how many they could fit into a 113 minute time slot. The film, instead of being a movie with the potential to be a poignant piece of art, ends up being corny, hokey, and a surely drug-induced stupor with horrible acting, bad timing, a pitiful plot and silly characters. It's pointless to go into specifics about a movie we're not even really sure we understoodd because we weren't high enough when we watched it.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 3.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 15%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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