Lenny Abrahamson directs Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in this “band of outsiders fall apart” rock comedy that co-opts the Frank Sidebottom iconography.
I read a lot of praise for Fassbender’s performance, allegedly he’s superlative in and out of the fake head. You’re all playing a practical joke on me. ANYONE COULD PLAY THIS ROLE!? Maybe not Jimmy Krankie… but still!? Some of the music is good but otherwise this is 140 minutes of meandering hipster posturing. Scriptwriter Jon Ronson was a keyboard player for Chris Sievey (real life 80s local hero who wore a papier-mâché head, sang kitchen sink ditties on his ukulele and appeared on Fantasy Football). But this ain’t the Frank Sidebottom your mother knows. It is Ronson’s backing member fantasies of fame and recognition sifted through an unrecognisable band… closer to Daniel Johnson or Pink Floyd than the silly human cartoon cultural footnote from my childhood. It doesn’t claim to be a biography of Sievey but doesn’t offer anything more exciting instead. So what’s the point of it? Apart from maybe to elevate an already successful author’s what-ifs into becoming the cinematic legend of record. After all most people are only going to know Frank Sidebottom from this and assume he was a tortured difficult genius, unrecognised and self-destructive. And his temporary keyboard player was the Svengali behind their almost success.
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/