So I’ve been thinking about the film Bohemian Rhapsody recently. It’s a film that I have complicated feelings over. My review might read: a film of good acting and subpar to decent filmmaking. It also reminded me how fond I am of the music of Queen, which was surely part of the impetus behind the film’s creation. There’s also the worrying stink of Bryan Singer and all the sexual assault allegations against him. All that aside, there was an interesting thought that occurred to me. The film seems to be pushing and pulling between two instincts. Is this a biopic of Freddie Mercury or Queen? The two might seem to be synonymous in some ways. The story of Queen is the story of Freddie Mercury, right? The film follows Freddie as the protagonist. From his quiet family life to his meteoric rise, to his attempts to break away from Queen, to their reunion for Live Aid. However, the film from a thematic standpoint is about the band as a family with Freddie as the wayward rock star son. It has been pointed out that the other members of Queen get to be the level-headed paternalistic members of the band while Mercury plays to the standard rock star tropes. Also, noteworthy is that the still-living members of Queen got some significant power over the film by virtue of licencing all their songs and being creative voices in the room. This no doubt led to the push and pull of the film’s narrative vs themes. With this in mind, can pop culture ever truly eulogise the dead?
We, as a society, tend to give women the short end of the stick. Right now, you might be thinking ‘duh’ or crying misandry right now. If you’re in that second group, I can’t help you with this piece. Sometime last year I was listening to the Slow Burn podcast about the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. I had complicated thoughts about the whole thing. As someone who grew up in the 90s, I was distantly aware of the scandals. Bill Clinton mainly figured into my worldview via re-aired episodes of the Simpsons. Episodes were he appeared as a cool saxophone-playing guy, was replaced by an alien in their attempts to take over the Earth, and uh, flirted with Marge Simpson. Generally, as I learned more, there were a few conclusions I came to. What Clinton did was wrong, regardless of whether the relationship was consensual or not. The power imbalance between the middle-aged President and his twenty-year-old White House intern was always going to be fraught. Might we view Clinton in a different light in the wake of the #MeToo movement? Absolutely. However, at the time, it was clearly a partisan hack job. Those condemning the President weren’t about moral standards. You know why I think that? One of Clinton’s detractors was a fellow named Brett Kavanagh and we know what his track record with sexual assault is. There was only one person in the whole scandal who I thought was pretty blameless in all this. Monica Lewinsky herself.
Hey all, so I wanted to compile my list of favourite things for 2016. However, I’m not doing it alone. I’ve brought in some of my previous collaborators from Geeked to discuss their favourite picks of the year. You can find their social media links at the end of the article. Enjoy!
Zoe – Alive by Sia
My favourite song of 2016 was Alive by Sia. 2016 was a challenging year, and Alive as a song has this energy to it that made it the perfect song to unwind with. I’ve always been a fan of Sia, even before she got her big break in America. The imagery of the lyrics are so strong that I can picture them so vividly, and working in videography, that’s an important aspect for me. ‘Alive’ has so much passion and movement, and I always love to repeat “I’m still breathing, I’M AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
So recently I went to see Moana in cinemas. I loved it, and you might hear more about it from me soon. Anyway, it prompted me to think about the reasons I love musicals. Not everybody likes musicals and it’s always somewhat baffled me. I understand it from a taste perspective but I think that there’s a musical for everyone who loves music.
For many, 2016 is the year of the dead celebrity. Now celebrities die every year but the sheer girth of icons we lost this year is staggering. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Prince were some of the biggest icons taken from us. The loss of Bowie and Rickman so close to each other at the start of the year led to an outpouring of grief from many on social media. The day each of these men died, my Facebook page was awash with grief. Some saw the deaths of Bowie and Rickman as an omen of the dumpster fire of a year that followed. With the shroud of celebrity death upon the year, every new announcement of a dead celebrity hit home for someone and defined 2016 as the year of the dead celebrity for some. Now, that’s probably not true. People die all the time. Celebrities, by virtue of being people, have to die sometime.