The Beatles or The Stones? It's an age-old debate (originally positioned, erroneously, as pop vs. rock) but no matter what side you fall on personally, it's pretty hard to deny the impact of the Beatles and the fact that they've left a stronger legacy. (Not counting Keith Richards, who will outlive your children's children.)
Case in point, cinematically The Beatles have a much deeper cadre. Sure, sure, French master Jean-Luc Godard made a Stones flick (1968's
Sympathy for the Devil) but it's not all that epic, whereas The Beatles had madcap weirdness (A Hard Day's Night), a one-ring-to-rule-them adventure (Help!), good strong acid (Yellow Submarine) and some decent "inspired by" tales (Across the Universe, Nowhere Boy).
And the newest Beatles-inspired flick, hitting screens this week, reminds us of the band's history of thinking outside the box. Yesterday stars Himesh Patel (Dev's brother) as a not-bad-not-great, 20-something singer-songwriter who gets hit by a bus and wakes up to realize the entire world has forgotten about The Beatles—like, in this version of reality the Fab Four just didn't exist. But Patel can remember, and sing, all their best songs.
The good news here is director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later) brings a real love for the music and the "what if" concept. The bad news is the script is by the dude who wrote Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral so there is a heavy romantic subplot that ends up overpowering the cool alternate-universe idea.
Sadly, the second half gets a bit hokey, but hey, those Beatles songs are still gold and, ultimately, Yesterday is about timeless music and what it means to us. Too bad Boyle didn't write it though.
Also opening this week (on Tuesday) Spider-Man: Far From Home sees our friendly neighbourhood webslinger on a high school trip to Europe with his chums. It's all fun and games until he has to help Nick Fury save the world, good thing he brought the suit.
The press embargo is still out on this one (I haven't seen it anyhow) but what we do know is it's made by the same dude who made the last one (which is also the best Spider-Man flick to date) and we have Tom Holland returning along with Zendaya, (a 22-year-old who is already going by just a single name because she is that good, like Rihanna good) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko) steps in as Mysterio (aka: the bad guy with a fishbowl head and no super powers except for being a magician/hypnotist/special effects expert...also he might not be a total bad guy this time around).
As the first Marvel flick to come out after Avengers: Endgame apparently brought half the world back to life after a five-year absence (are those people that turned to dust then returned the same age as when he finger-snap erased them? Is the other half of Peter's high school class 23 now?), Far From Home has a built in fanbase and will sell a zillion dollars regardless of whether it's any good. But it doesn't look too bad and certainly can't be any worse than the cheesy, cooking, dancing montages in the Sam Raimi-era Spider-Man 3. (Those scenes were so bad they were even lampooned in last year's animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse—still one of the best films of 2018.)
On the small screen, sticking with cartoons, there's a nifty crossover on Amazon Prime right now: Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Granted, the Ninja Turtles were created as a parody of the Batman-style comic plotlines of the day, but the heroes in a half shell have more in common with the caped creator than anyone suspected.
This one is 87 minutes of simple but slick animation (excellent use of slow motion), lots of battles and violence, and the kind of bonkers comic book storyline that makes these small screen offerings fun. Plus, who hasn't wanted to see Batman fight Shredder? It's no Beatles vs. Stones, but it's still a decent fight.