My Favorite Film of 2019: “Rocketman”

Fantastic year for Elton John, not only with the superlative "Rocketman" but his brutally honest autobiography "Me".
Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures

I don’t go out to the movies much anymore. As you get older, the hassle of being around the general public outweighs the joys of seeing new movies. Also, films just aren’t that interesting right now. The real action is happening on TV and with streaming. The talented types are moving there because they’re allowed the freedom to take chances and do what they do best, and it’s resulting in a new revolution in quality product. And this is only the beginning with streaming, which is in the midst of exploding, so we should see even more great stuff coming down the pike, although there is a limit to how many good ideas there are out there, of course. And there’s always the danger that the powers that be will figure out a way to stifle creativity once again.

Anyhoo, of the movies I did manage to drag myself to see, “Rocketman” was the big event for me. Of course I’m an Elton John fan and have always been, even loving his albums during his lean years (1981’s “The Fox” is my all-time favorite and one of his most forgotten), so I was the prime audience for this. Of course I had liked “Bohemian Rhapsody” but I was hoping for something a bit more historically accurate. This was not only more accurate, it was brutally honest, taking us soaring with Elton’s highest highs and dragging us into the gutter during his lowest lows. And the music sequences were so masterfully done, far beyond what they did with “Rhapsody”. Well, the approach was different, making the numbers into fantasy sequences within Elton’s head instead of being performance-based, so they had the license to fly into fantasy. They used the songs more like in a musical, out of order chronically sometimes in order to tell the story; as an example, they used a latter-day hit “I Want Love” early on to express the longings of young Elton and his family members.

Taron Egerton was of course perfect casting, keeping everything grounded in reality despite the emotional see-sawing and equally operatic costumes. He also captured Elton’s body language so well, especially in the “I’m Still Standing” number, link below. Great support from Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John Reid, Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother, along with all the brilliant crew.

I’m hoping it’ll win every Oscar it’s eligible for. And hopefully it’ll lead to more excellent musical bios. They’ve announced Boy George already, but there are so many others they could do (in no particular order): George Michael, Fleetwood Mac, The Monkees, the Beatles, Donner Summer, Spice Girls, Blondie, The Carpenters, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Kylie Minogue, The Supremes, Depeche Mode, Crosby Still Nash & Young, among so many.

Well, let’s hope that any they attempt are done with as much thought, skill and care as “Rocketman”. Here’s the number from the film “I’m Still Standing”.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More Stories

Quentin as Elvis

“Golden Girls” Responsible For Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”

During an interview on Jimmy Fallon’s show (see below), Quentin Tarantino attributed his appearance on “The Golden Girls” as providing him with funds that helped him develop “Reservoir Dogs”. With Tarantino’s oddball and remarkable career, this makes perfect sense. For those familiar with “The Golden Girls”, you will know that Quentin appeared on the show before he was famous, while he was a movie-obsessed aspiring filmmaker, acting as an Elvis impersonator, in a line-up of similarly-dressed impersonators gathered for Sophia’s

Read More »
Vacation Poster

John Hughes’ “Vacation” Hitting Broadway, Too?

I guess anything’s game to be turned into a musical nowadays. Thus, today’s film turned into improbable musical is National Lampoon’s “Vacation”. Yes, the John Hughes-created Chevy Chase-starrer that gave us the immortal image of a dead lady tied to the roof of a station wagon is now going to be peppered with songs and dancing. Really? It is happening, though. It will premiere this fall at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, also the launching pad for other out-of-town tryouts such

Read More »
Fran Drescher Is 'The Nanny'

Fran Descher’s “The Nanny” Hitting Broadway? With songs by Rachel Bloom!

In a rather bizarre development, a Broadway musical version of “The Nanny” (you know, you know, Fran Descher’s starrer about the flashy nanny from Flushing, Queens who eventually married her employer, the Broadway impresario, Maxwell Sheffield) is coming whether we want it or not. I loved “The Nanny” but not sure it’s a natural for the stage. Well, in a way it’s a twisted version of “The Sound of Music”, so maybe. The most promising aspect of the venture is

Read More »
There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.