If the last year or so of the movie business is to be believed, there are few things more worthy of dramatization than the world of popular music — how it is created, how it builds and unravels its stars, how it emerges from trauma, how almost every musician of note has a “Behind the Music” biopic in them.
Most recently, there’s been “Rocketman,” the Elton John biopic, which is similar in structure and theme to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about Freddie Mercury and Queen, which won four Oscars this year.
Add to that, in the post-“A Star Is Born” ecosystem, the madcap pop madness of “Vox Lux,” with Natalie Portman’s indelible Staten Island accent, and “Her Smell,” with a bravura performance by Elisabeth Moss as a Courtney Love-esque punk frontwoman. For good measure, toss in the cool breeze biopic “Blaze,” about gone-too-soon Texas troubadour Blaze Foley, and also the recent episode of “Black Mirror” starring Miley Cyrus as both a meta version of her Hannah Montana character and a robot who retains her Miley-ish essence.
As radically different as these subjects are, the arcs of the stories can be eerily similar. Does Hollywood have just one fixed idea about what it’s like to be a musician, regardless of genre and scale of success?
On this week’s Popcast:
A.O. Scott, The New York Times’s co-chief film critic
K. Austin Collins, a film critic at Vanity Fair
Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, a film critic for Pitchfork and others
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