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    Saw this last night at home--it was very entertaining, if a little shallow.

    The performances were excellent. Taron Egerton channeled Elton John seamlessly. He also brought out the melancholic aspects of John that most of us don't remember from the time. Richard Madden (Robb Stark on GOT) does a great job as John's manager/lover John Reid, who also managed/had relationships with Freddie Mercury and Michael Flatley. Also standing out is Bryce Dallas Howard as John's mum. (Bryce is Ron Howard's daughter, by the way.)

    What I liked about it was the costumes and scenery--always love London in the 60's. There was a sense of adventure in starting out on a musical journey, especially at that time. And the scenes with the family show how Elton was influenced by his family's dysfunction. After the movie I saw an interview last year with Elton and Graham Norton, in which Elton said that these scenes were generally consistent with real life.

    The music of course is great. Elton's early songs are full of energy and musical sophistication. The story of his getting together with Bernie Taupin is also spot-on, according to Elton--pure chance.

    My 2 quibbles with the movie: cute as it is to have a young Elton and his family singing his songs, I really wanted to see Elton performing them. A true-to-life recreation of his famous Troubadour performance or 1 of his big concerts would have been rewarding here. And this is where in comparison to the Freddie Mercury movie Rocketman falls short. Sometimes you just wanna see somebody imitate what you enjoy, not make it into a complicated production number.

    Second point, I think some of the secondary characters were given short shrift. I realize in a movie this length one can't have 15 characters, but I found his bromance with Bernie to be a little tiresome, and his chaotic relationship with Reid to be a bit superficial and distracting.

    As far as Elton himself, he is quite an artist. He was one of the first singer-songwriters to come along in the early 70's who played piano, as opposed to guitar. The other piano-oriented musician from that scene who comes to mind is Carol King, who was quite well known as a songwriter but became established as a solo artist in large part through playing at places like the Troubadour. Not only could he play ballads on the piano like Liberace, he could pound out like his idols Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. So he really stood out in that crowded field of musicians.

    His albums from that period have worn very well, in part because of their exquisite production. They just have a great sound, mainly due to some great LA studio musicians.

    Sorta review--Rocketman-51d5pthnapl-_sx366_bo1-204-203-200_-jpg


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  3. #2

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    I saw it... my biggest takeaways are 1) how difficult of a life he had (though seems good now) and 2) how great his music is.

  4. #3

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    I listened to Madman across the Water yesterday and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road today. Just a great, great sound, and great songs of course.

    It's hard to make out the lyrics sometimes--Bennie and the Jets for instance--but it's worth it to check them out, as Bernie Taupin was just a superlative lyric writer. Very clever.

    From Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting:

    Well they're packed pretty tight in here tonight
    I'm looking for a dolly who'll see me right
    I may use a little muscle to get what I need
    I may sink a little drink and shout out she's with me...

    A couple of the sounds that I really like
    Are the sounds of a switchblade and a motorbike
    I'm a juvenile product of the working class
    Whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass.

    Also the synth intro the Yellow Brick Road...Funeral for a Friend...that has to be one of the first pop songs to feature synths so prominently in an orchestral arrangement, also arpeggiated loops. (Yes I thought of Baba O'Riley, but that was actually a Lowry organ, not a synth.)