“Eight Days a Week” (2016 directed by Ron Howard)
This film is simply one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen on a screen. I have no earthly idea why it isn’t in wide release. Rolling Stone gives it out-of-the-ballpark reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 95%. It’s only playing in one very small, one-screen neighborhood theater in Pittsburgh and I have to brave 45 minutes of traffic and road construction to get there. It was only on four nights out of the last seven.
It’s the masterful, visual chronicle of the Beatles growth from about 1962 through their last public performance on a roof in London in 1969. There are clips and films of them that I’m certain few if anyone in the general public has ever seen, masterfully edited and created by Ron Howard. It’s absolutely one of the very best films I have ever seen. Someday perhaps it will be released in wide distribution and if so, it’s a must-see.
The Beatles changed the entire landscape of music and popular culture, propelling them toward their fate at literally the speed of sound. They fulfilled a lot of what Americans were looking for post-Camelot collapse. Something harder edged, innovative but in-touch. Beatles were “cute”, had different hair, different attitude and they might be just a little dangerous but within limits. They played their own instruments with a defined danceable beat, wrote their own songs the lyrics of which American youth could identify with and looked cool in their mop tops, matching outfits and Cuban heel boots.
American kids latched onto the Beatles phenomenon like pit bulls on a poodle. A new life-style emerged around them in the summer of 1964 fueled by a need for a new order in musical expression. Other groups evolving vertically from the stage that fostered the Beatles quickly followed to as the “British Invasion”.
At the end of this film, the editors and various technicians have isolated a 30 minute series of clips from the Beatles performance in 1965 at Shea Stadium in New York City in front of 55,000 screaming fans, mostly girls. In the real world, the sound system was woefully inadequate, 100-watt Vox amps that might have been OK for a big dance hall. No one could really hear them and they couldn’t hear each other. The police worked full time catching breakthroughs and tossing them back into the fray. It was as Paul McCartney said later, “a circus” and contributed to their mutual decision later to stop touring.
For this 30-minute clip, engineers reconstituted and refurbished the video, colorized it, infiltrated the correct audio and generated the whole thing in 4K high-resolution film. It’s simply amazing. They look as if they’re playing this afternoon. They are fresh and young again 50 years later. It’s positively amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.
If you can find it on a big screen, “Eight Days a Week” is absolutely mandatory. It is history brought to you as today. 70 year old men playing life in their 20s in 4K high resolution. If there’s ever such a thing as immortality, this is pretty close. It has to be seen to be believed.
Five of Five mop-tops with a bullet. Must-see