Suspend your disbelief–probably a good idea in today’s political environment–but in this instance it’s to recommend a highly imaginative and delightful film called Yesterday.
Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 127 Hours) and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually) have made a movie with a suspend your disbelief premise—due to a Y2K-like electrical event the earth experiences a 12 second blackout during which a struggling singer-songwriter on a bike is hit by a bus. But wait, that’s not the premise.
It’s when he wakes up in the hospital and discovers that no one understands his references to The Beatles or their songs that he realizes the event has erased all knowledge of The Beatles in the world. He Googles The Beatles and gets beetles and so on. This is where the story really begins and Jack, the aspiring singer-songwriter, embarks on a long and winding road to stardom by presenting the Beatles’ songs as his own.
Don’t overthink it. Just go with it. Yes, there are obvious issues with the premise, but it also lets us look at a variety of personal, emotional, and ethical questions. Add Ed Sheeran, in an engaging cameo, as the hero’s enabler and you could do much worse than spending 1hr 56min listening to Jack’s playlist of the Beatles’ greatest hits. I loved it. It was the soundtrack of my young adulthood.
Jack Malik, the protagonist, is a young teacher who has willingly given up his teaching job to play small clubs and chase the dream of stardom. He is supported by his manager and childhood friend (played appealingly by Lily James) who also happens to be in love with him and his immigrant Indian parents with whom he is resigned to living in order to save money. When the story opens Jack is about to give up his failing music career, his second job as a forklift operator and return to teaching. But, lightning, i.e. that cataclysmic 12 seconds, strikes and the Beatles songbook propels him to stardom.
No spoilers…there is a happy ending. I left the theater smiling, and at the same moment had an idea for the perfect sequel. But, before you hear my idea for a sequel you should watch the trailer for the Beatles-based movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY0GBmOxyYY
The sequel called “The Man Who Thinks He’s President” would star Donald Trump as himself, an opportunity he couldn’t turn down. It goes like this: when the cataclysmic event occurs – 12 seconds of earthly blackout – the world’s memory of Donald Trump and the Trump family is erased. Can you Imagine it? Can you Let it Be?
It wouldn’t take a wild imagination to write the script. The opening scene would be The Donald waking up in front of the Plaza Hotel. Confused and alone he flags down a cab and demands to be taken to Trump Tower. The cabby asks again. He’s never heard of the place.
Angry and unable to find his phone, he has a fit and orders the cabby to take him to Fox News headquarters at 1211 Avenue of the Americas where Fox security refuses him entry. At the security checkpoint he causes a ruckus, asks to speak to Sean Hannity, and tells them all he’ll have their immigrant asses jailed for not honoring an order from the President of the United States. “Wait until my Secret Service detail gets wind of this.” The lobby erupts with laughter. The police are summoned and the “The man who thinks he’s President” is arrested on charges of disturbing the peace.
Taken to a holding cell at Rikers Island, Mr. Trump storms around until another inmate feeling sorry for him loans him a quarter to make his one telephone call. When the call is put through to Rudi Giuliani’s law office the receptionist puts him on hold. When she returns, she tells the him that Mr. Giuliani has “Never heard of this Chump, Frump, kook” or knowing anyone named Trump before hanging up.
With little real news, crime beat reporters at Rikers send the story of the delusional inmate to their news desks. The evening news picks it up and adds details. New Yorkers love a good story, especially about a delusional oddball with a swooped-up fake blond comb-over and a grandiose tale of hubris and woe. The story refuses to die. Late-night comics have a field day satirizing the fat man with orange skin and too-long tie who claims to be the President of the United States and a good friend of Vladimir Putin’s.
Unable to control him at the arraignment, the court orders Mr. Trump involuntarily committed to the psychiatric unit at Bellevue Hospital. No longer newsworthy, Mr. Trump is dropped from the news cycle and becomes “old news.” For The Donald, nothing could be worse. He’d rather be Fake News than Old News. In the last scene we see him pouting through the barred window of his padded cell at Bellevue in orange hospital scrubs.
It’s just an idea… but be sure to see the film it’s based on – Yesterday – starring Hamesh Patel as the struggling singer-songwriter. It may, for a moment, trigger your own fantasies or make you feel better about the current news cycle.
Photos courtesy of The Real Deal, eaworldview.com, kwotable.com, and Working Title Films.