21 September, 2018

Advance screening in Boston

In today's episode of, "Zander Has Undeserved Luck in the Queen Department," I'm going with a few friends to see an advance screening of Bohemian Rhapsody in Boston on October 31!

I just... Why me?? I have a local Queen tribute band that I can see unless there is a damn good reason I can't go, I'm officially said tribute band's number one fan (their words!) (Gunpowder Gelatine. They're awesome and they're also awesome people), I have a rose that Freddie Mercury touched when he was tossing them into the audience at their show in Maine in August 1980 (this one landed on the edge of the stage, and my friend Tony managed to run up and snag it after the show ended), I've seen Queen Extravaganza, I got to go to the We Will Rock You musical (didn't like it, but it had been on my bucket list since 2002(?), I've met Brian May and gotten his autograph, I've seen Queen + Adam Lambert twice and had kickass seats both times, the movie exists at all, I can make plans with friends to go see it...

I have followers on my social media even though I only sporadically update my blog.

Any day now, my luck will dry up. It has to, right? I just hope I'm striking the right balance between enjoying it immensely and not taking it for granted.

23 May, 2018

Trailer explosion

So!

It has been eight days since the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer went online (the one from 20th Century Fox's Youtube account has 11,597,185 as I'm writing this, and I think it's safe to say that I've made a significant contribution to that number so far.

The day the film is finally in theaters cannot come soon enough for some of us, as evidenced by people posting wonderful trailer reactions (Sally's, and James', and Cam Deacon's (John's youngest son!!) being my favorites - but you should also check out the rest of their videos because they're awesome) but the 1:30 we've all seen so far has resulted in a couple shit storms as well. I'm doing my very best to avoid or at least greatly limit my exposure because November is six whole months away and I'm not interested in speeding up the process of my hair going gray, but I find myself getting pulled in anyway.

(I don't have a problem with having gray hairs, I just don't need to rush that process when I'm not even 32 yet)

Bryan Fuller, an American television producer, has decided that the film is straight-washing Freddie and completely ignoring the AIDS crisis solely based on that 1:30. I was prepared look into it to see if he had a valid point despite my disagreement with those assessments, but his words hold absolutely no weight with me. At all.

HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO MARY AUSTIN IS BUT FEELS LIKE HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT! THAT'S DAY 1 TRIVIA!

ETA - And there's also that shot at 0:32 of what looks like Freddie in the studio with a guy getting really up in Freddie's space (I'm not sure if that's supposed to be Paul Prenter, as they didn't meet until '77 and this shot looks like '75, but it looks like Allen Leech, who's playing Prenter, so maybe artistic licensing?). I can't usually tell when a guy is cruising me, but this is definitely not just queerbaiting (showing something in a promo that's intended to look queer to drive up interest and viewership, but then it's not actually queer at all in the context of the rest of that scene, and queer people have gotten their hopes up for nothing). Dude is coming ON to Freddie! But that's an easy clip to miss when you're too busy throwing a tantrum to pay attention.

The cast list on IMDB also shows a number of (not necessarily all!) men Freddie will no doubt fuck around with, or try to fuck around with. The jury's out, though, if that includes the guys credited as "Meat Packer One" and "NYC Meatpacker" because I'm honestly not sure if that's a euphemism or not! ... I'm also thinking "NY Clubber/Former Lover to Freddie" is supposed to be Thor Arnold.

(Side note: the question of erasing Freddie's sexual orientation is resulting in a really interesting and much needed discussion on gay/bi-erasure in general, compulsory heterosexuality, and queer history on Tumblr, so there's a silver lining in breaking down what those things mean, but the knee-jerk blowing up without a clue will never not be frustrating all the same.)

And as for "ignoring AIDS":

Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid – the biggest concert in history. But fate and past behaviors throw a devastating obstacle at him, one that forces him to confront then accept his own mortality. Pulling himself up from personal strife one more time to overcome the odds, the band puts on one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. On Freddie’s terms, not the rest of the world’s. - excerpt from Queen Online's Bohemian Rhapsody page

There is a part of me bummed that the movie won't at least go up to the release of Made In Heaven, but I know in my heart that it cinematically makes sense to stop at Live Aid if you have to pick a stopping place sooner than what we're used to seeing in documentaries like Champions Of The World, The Untold Story, Days Of Our Lives, and The Great Pretender. And I also know that biopics tend to always have a text epilogue at the end just before the credits roll, and I'm sure that text will cover the highlights.

I kind of feel like even the Days Of Our Lives documentary glosses over a bit past Hot Space before focusing a bit on Wembley and Knebworth in 1986, and then glossing again a bit before delving into Innuendo, then the tribute concert, then glosses up to Made In Heaven... etc. etc. And while that specific period had a lot going on for all of the guys individually, I could see that not really translating well to film. Also, Brian's life in particular was a pretty big mess around that time (first marriage ended, his dad had died, Freddie was dying/did die, Cozy Powell died, and he struggled in a big way with his mental health and we almost lost him) and I wouldn't blame him for not wanting to revisit that period.

But anyway! I'm still excited for the film, with the full awareness that artistic licensing will be utilized just like any other film based (key word) on a true story. I've asked a number of my friends to save the date for the theatrical release so we can all go together, and I'm especially excited to see how Rami moves as Freddie in further detail on and off stage (a LOT is resting on his movement coach, Polly Bennet). Being straight, can he play gay well enough to convince me that he doesn't need to try too hard? Will he and Aaron McCusker have good chemistry? Another question I have is, "Who the hell is playing Phoebe?" because Google is failing me. He'd better be in the film, as he's definitely consulted.

15 May, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody trailer

IT'S HERE!!!! FINALLY!!!!!

brb - watching the shit out of this all day!

14 May, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody sneak peak

YOU GUYS!!!

While we've officially been waiting for this moment since 2009, I feel like many of us have been lowkey waiting for it since the 2004 biopic Ray was released because that film really raised the bar for musician biopics. I remember the Days Of Old on the Queenzone forums when people would post wondering who would possibly play Freddie if a movie were to be made.

Contenders came down to Eric McCormack (older promo shot for Will & Grace because that's what he looked like at the time)...

(Side note: He's also a huge Queen fan!)

... And Johnny Depp, who will not be pictured here because he is an abusive prick.

And then we all know Sacha Baron Cohen was actually slated to play Freddie when the film project was hovering just inches from the ground. And then Ben Whishaw, and that five second rumor that Daniel Radcliff was in the running. And finally Rami Malek!

The poster looks great, but I'm not digging the tagline.

But the sneak peak! I HAVE WATCHED IT MAYBE EVERY COUPLE MINUTES OR SO!

I am BEYOND excited for this!! The trailer will finally drop online tomorrow, after being shown at CinemaCon in April. I won't tell you how many hours I spent combing Youtube for a leak... but I'm sure if Youtube were a conscious entity, it would have said at one point, "For fuck's sake, how many times do I have to tell you that the trailer's not here?! Get a life!"

It's cool if you're not looking forward to the movie. It's understandable to be protective of the greatest band in the universe. What fucking kills me is that Rami Malek said that Brian emailed him after seeing the film that Freddie would be very proud of it, but some fans are convinced that Freddie would absolutely despise it. I think I'm going to go with the guy who's known Freddie for 20 years.

22 February, 2018

Finally finished What He Left Behind

I enjoyed parts of this book (more on that in a second), but OH MY G-D IT REALLY COULD HAVE USED A FUCKING COPYEDITOR!

Phoebe's first book about Freddie flowed pretty well, but this... This was all over the place, and spelling errors galore! I'm wondering if part of that was a sense of urgency? The Freddie Mercury box set had been recently released at that point, and maybe he wanted to give fans that extra bit of info on Freddie? I dunno.

I also feel like the first book had Phoebe and David Evans working really closely together, but What He Left Behind feels to me like they were both writing stuff and just mashed both projects together, hoping for the best. I think that's the most disappointing part for me.

However! I appreciated Phoebe's compassion for Mary after Freddie died, and his account of what went down at Garden Lodge is way more satisfying than Jim writing in Mercury And Me that she was just a heartless asshole with zero regard for anyone else. THAT SAID, Mary and Jim Beach definitely pulled some dick moves (some were "our hands are tied because legalities and red tape" and others were "yeah, I'm going to be an asshole"), but I don't think either of them set out to be dicks before Freddie's body had gone cold. I'm also trying to factor in how grief played a role, because while Mary made some decisions that are not to be given a free pass, it should be remembered that Freddie's death fucked her up, too. It's very possible that Phoebe could be being generous in trying to explain what Mary was going through, but it's just as possible that Jim's account is so negative because he and Mary probably didn't get along all that well (based on pictures where Freddie's with both Jim and Mary, I always get the impression that there was tension). This, of course, is all up in the air because none of us knows what really truly went down. Anyone can speculate anything at this point, so I think folks should keep that in mind whether they ship Jim or Mary, or even hate them both because you're convinced that the two people Freddie cared about most could only have been using and cashing in on him.

And can I just say? The reviews of What He Left Behind where people are complaining that Phoebe and David largely talk about their lives immediately post-Freddie, and how he continues to impact their lives? It's in the fucking title! So why don't you snag a copy of Phoebe's first book (it's really good!) and shut the hell up?

So there were some good parts to this book and some really good pictures, but the disorganized, unedited writing can be a bit of a turn-off. Still, my only real regret about it is that I don't have a physical copy.

29 December, 2017

Queen Monopoly

After being super generous to me for my birthday, my grandmother informed me that she also purchased me a gift off of my wishlist. I feel terrible that she spends any money on me at all, but she got me Queen Monopoly so it's hard to stay mad at her.

I've only ever played Monopoly once as a kid, and thankfully we all decided to pack it up before things had an opportunity to get ugly, but I would happily stick this one out for the right people!

06 December, 2017

Dexter Fletcher replacing Bryan Singer

Here's hoping Dexter Fletcher isn't a fucking gross human being! Bryan Singer being fired from production on my birthday (December 4) was a really lovely and unexpected present!