Movie Mondays ~ Monday, March 4, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, March 4, 2019

Not surprisingly, this first week post-Oscar Run is not filled with loads of films to review. I had much catch-up to do for my writing assignments and was also off for a few days of staycation, so the last thing I felt like doing was watching movies.  That is basically all I’ve been doing for several weeks! But I do have many film titles I still want to see that I crossed paths with during my Oscar run but set aside so I could focus on nominees. They are next on the list! They are not the two films I’m reviewing this week, however. The two you’ll learn about here are music-focused biographical films – one a documentary and the other a TV biopic – that I just happened to come across during my TV viewing. So…I gave them a shot. And now you can find out what I thought about them right here.  As always, thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.


FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 02/25/2019 – 03/03/2019


37. Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Documentary, Music (2017)
Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett


Sammy Davis, Jr. is such an interesting performer because his talents and the characters he hung out with could vary so much from one art medium to another. Surprisingly, this documentary lacks depth and doesn’t have nearly as much quick wit or fast pacing as the performer himself. I was disappointed. I’ve seen so many musicians’ documentaries, so I know they can really deliver and having just seen QUINCY earlier this year which was not nominated but should have been for Best Documentary Feature, it set the bar higher for any of the musician documentaries to follow this year.  Here is the blog featuring my earlier review about that film.


I would say the most interesting bit of information that I took away from the Davis documentary was that for much of his career, Davis was like a man without a home — that is, he faced the racial discrimination of the era from some white audience members particularly while he was gaining fame as part of the Rat Pack Tour, often during his travels and as his own music and acting careers flourished. Yet he also garnered the wrath of Black fans who felt he was allowing himself to be used by the rest of the Pack, as the butt of a joke onstage at times, and some of these fans felt between his interaction with the famous group of performers as well as his own expressed Republican views and support of President Richard Nixon, that he had lost sight of his beginnings and the struggle that Black Americans were going through across the country as they fought daily civil right injustices and took part in demonstrations, even though Davis himself did get involved with the movement, too. But he seemed to pose a paradox to some fans, and his decision to convert to Judaism while becoming well-known appeared to be part of audiences’ conundrum of understanding who the man on stage before them really was. I did get the sense from the documentary that he was often misunderstood. Fans of the legendary singer and dancer may enjoy some of the behind-the-scenes stories that do get shared about his Rat Pack days but like me, you may not feel like you’re any closer to truly knowing the real Davis when the final credits roll.


Score: 78





38. Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You

Drama, Music (2018)
Delta Goodrem, Kate Jenkinson, Paul David-Goddard


I had very low expectations for this TV bio-pic but happened to see it advertised during one of my addicting reality programs on the Lifetime network. But I checked it out anyway, and yes, it lived up to those low expectations. After seeing a slew of films during the Oscar Run that attempted to  tell a story using thoughtful and inventive means, this bio-pic offers nothing new at all. In fact, you barely get under the sleeve of the pop singer to know what makes her tick. I happen to find XANADU a guilty pleasure (primarily because of the fantastic soundtrack and not the plot) but if you think that it’s empty and devoid of purpose, then you’ve no need to see more of the same. Find a good biographical documentary on PBS or VH1 archives about the singer, and skip this mediocre TV flick.



Score: 60



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