November 26, 2014

"All you’ve got is a girl with high cheekbones."

Said Joni Mitchell, scoffing at the idea of a biopic about her with the impersonation done by Taylor Swift.  Joni doesn't like the story of her life as a material either:  "It’s just a lot of gossip, you don’t have the great scenes. There’s a lot of nonsense about me in books, assumptions, assumptions, assum­p­tions."

So, do it like "The Rose." Make it a fictional character and use the best of the nonsense and assumptions and punch it up even more. Taylor with her cheekbones will provide some allusion to Joni for those who care.

Personally, I loathe all these musical biopics. They should have stopped at "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), as far as I'm concerned. But actors seem to get extra credit for impersonating someone recognizable, especially where they do the singing themselves. But movies aren't made for people like me, who rarely if ever go to the movies.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Movies Aren't Made for People Like Me."

Great Title for a country song.

Patrick said...

I thought the Johnny and June C Cash bio pic was good. The actors stretched themselves and sang, and did it very well.

I don't think Ms. Swift sings very well, and I doubt she's got the acting chops to do anything more than play herself in a music video. She writes nice songs for the kids, though.

surfed said...

I make myself go to movies. It's difficult and I have to exercise due vigilance - we just saw a wonderful movie "The 100 Foot Journey", a small movie starring Helen Mirren. We like "small" movies. Not that we follow Steve Martin's 40 year old advice and "get small" mind you. Just movies about things that are our sized.

Brando said...

Biopics are terrible and predictable. They always follow the same progression:

1) Subject isn't yet famous, and has a hardscrabble beginning, no one treats them like the great famous person they're going to become. How silly they are not to notice the greatness that Ray/Cash/Dewey are about to demonstrate!

2) Quick rise to the top, while being supported by a relative/love interest/close friend. Wow, they're getting famous! The glory days of their career!

3) Subject becomes consumed by the fame, turns to drugs/alcohol/abusiveness. They don't appreciate their relative/love interest/friend.

4) Subject hits rock bottom or faces some other major obstacle/tragedy. Ah, see how far they fall! Like Icarus, they flew too close to the sun!

5) Through the power of faith and the love of their relative/love interest/friend, the subject rises above their challenge and conquers their demons. Hooray, they are now appreciated for the artistic genius they have always been, and now appreciate that person who was always good to them!

6) Hey why were all cars from those days so shiny and new looking? Didn't they have crappy dull looking cars back then?

Laslo Spatula said...

I hope Taylor Swift understands that the nude scenes are essential to the film's integrity.

Laslo Spatula said...

In the free-spirit Sixties women often made lunch naked. I hope they get that part right.

Unknown said...

Laszlo, Naked Lunch must have been such a disappointment to you. Would you please remind your friend bm3k we are still waiting on his Lena Dunham sexbot epic? He could warm up with a Taylor Swift piece if necessary.

Paco Wové said...

"But movies aren't made for people like me, who rarely if ever go to the movies."

Amen to that. Last movie we saw in a theater was that one about the racehorse. "Sourdough" or something.

madAsHell said...

ohhh.....Joni.
It's not about you.
It's about Ms. Swift.
How do we sell more of Ms. Swift?

Laslo Spatula said...

I think a scene of Taylor Swift sitting nude on her bed playing a ukulele could be very dramatically powerful. It needs to be a ukulele because a guitar would hide her breasts.

Laslo Spatula said...

Maybe playing a flute would be even better.

William said...

Did Joni Mitchell lead an interesting life? Who knew? I never heard of any suicide attempts, rehab stints, messy divorces, or lesbo flings with Joan Baez. I'm not saying these things never happened, but they never made the papers.....,.I saw the recent biopic on Godzilla. Without being hagiographic, they presented a sympathetic side to that creature. People are so quick to demonize sea monsters who destroy large cities, but, as the movie made clear, he had his reasons, and they were substantial.

John Lynch said...

Laslo,

We know the lion by his claw.

Laslo Spatula said...

If -- in a fair and uncontested election -- the American People voted for the Right to See Taylor Swift Naked I hope she would be a good citizen and follow their wishes. I hate to think Taylor Swift might be a Communist.

Bob R said...

William - You didn't read Jaco Pastorius' biography. Presents Joni as a home-wrecker, unstable, bad for Jaco, who (much later) met a bad end. I assume that's one of the books she is referring to.

Jake said...

Is Taylor native american?

Mark said...

At a recent family gathering my sister in law went to 'put on johnny cash' and played the soundtrack.

He was a good actor and all, but it is a cover band album. A shame her kid will never hear Johnny Cash, just an impersonation.

Jim Gust said...

"They should have stopped at "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980)"

I agree with Patrick above, Walk the Line was excellent, just as good as Coal Miner's Daughter. I'm glad they didn't stop.

Rick Turley said...

Surfed:


If you haven't seen it already, you'd probably like "Chef."

mccullough said...

I love the album Blue.

For me, the only value in the movie would be the soundtrack.

I still think I will see that James Brown biopic

Popville said...

+1 for The Buddy Holly Story.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

No love for Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story?

CatherineM said...

Sissy Spacek was perfect in Coal Miner's Daughter. Aging from 13 to her 30s. I think what makes it different from others is the fact that she never wanted to be a singer. It was all her husband. It did go off a bit when it had to cover the pills and exhaustion of touring like the others.

As someone else said, this is about Swift. Do a doc on Joni, not a biopic please.

Brando said...

"No love for Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story?"

That was the spoof that killed the genre. How could they make a biopic about a musician with a straight face after that film came out? The kids playing with samurai swords talking about how they were going to live forever should have put all others to rest.

lgv said...

There were always a lot of rumors about Joni Mitchell. Whether true or not, they would likely be played out in a biopic, so it should surprise no one she would be opposed to it. I loved her music and had the illusion of her being sweet and wonderful. She wasn't nothing of the sort, but I still like her music. I would prefer not to see the truth on screen.

Also, I liked:

La Bamba
Buddy Holly Story with Gary Busey (1978).
Deadman's Curve (1978)
Sid and Nancy


robinintn said...

Isn't she the one with the mental illness characterized by the belief that invisible bugs are boring into your body? That sounds pretty interesting.

Unknown said...

Thought "Selena" was a good biopic. Mostly upbeat, not someone who trashed herself with drugs or creepy self-destructive friends.

Joe said...

For a Joni Mitchel biopic, you need someone who can screech in a very high soprano. Not a fan of Taylor Swift, but her voice isn't high enough (and she can sing much better.)

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Beyond the Sea is a great film. Kevin Spacey nails it as Bobby Darin. He's a pretty good singer, too.

St. George said...

"Immortal Beloved," the Beethoven film, is a good one.

Drago said...

"high cheekbones"?

Not about Elizabeth Warren?

Okay then.

Freeman Hunt said...

A fill in the details outline wotksheet for takng notes on any musician biopic:

Struggle
Success
Decadence
Addiction
Misery
Redemption OR Death