Director Peter Jackson’s new 468-minute Beatles documentary “Get Back” is a landmark achievement. It’s an in-depth, warts-and-all glimpse into the creative process of four of the most important musicians and cultural figures of the past 100 years.
The crazy thing is that’s not even an overstatement. Watching the Beatles pull tunes from the ether and then work them into some of the most enduring songs in the history of popular music is revelatory.
Like when Paul McCartney strums his way into writing “Get Back.”
Spent the weekend with #getback and loved the tedium of creativity, the riffs, the improvisations but most of all this magical moment when Paul McCartney wills the song into being. A miracle on film.pic.twitter.com/uoafI0ISla— Jonny Geller (@Jonny Geller) 1638142633
Some have criticized the film for being too long, questioning the number of times one must hear “I’ve Got a Feeling,” but they’ve completely missed the point. “Get Back” is entertaining, but it’s not entertainment. It’s a Rosetta Stone for anyone who wants to decode the process of the masters. It’s an instruction manual for taking notes, rhythm and words and breathing life into them so they move bodies, hearts and minds.
Jackson’s brilliance is that he gets out of the way and presents the narrative as a race against the clock. The Beatles have a short period of time to write, record and, possibly, perform an album. Can they make it or will simmering resentments prevent them from reaching their goal?
Watch a clip of @TheBeatles\u2019 rooftop performance of \u201cGet Back\u201d from Peter Jackson\u2019s Original Docuseries #TheBeatlesGetBack. Experience the three-part event on @DisneyPlus starting this Thursday. @johnlennon @PaulMcCartney @GeorgeHarrison @ringostarrmusicpic.twitter.com/JK3LortFP0— The Beatles (@The Beatles) 1637688600
Jackson also does the film a major service by keeping the opinions of others out. Lesser directors might have been tempted to interview other musicians to get their opinions on the historic footage.
Most importantly, the movie doesn’t have one minute of Dave Grohl explaining how the Beatles influenced Nirvana or Foo Fighters. Grohl is the undisputed king of the League of Extraordinary Rock 'n' Roll Know-it-Alls who lives to share his opinion on other musical artists in documentaries and on award shows.
Over the years, Grohl has fallen into self-parody for the number of times he’s claimed that an artist he’s discussing in a documentary or handing an award to has influenced either Nirvana or Foo Fighters.
Another way to ruin a rock 'n' roll documentary is by having an appearance by one of the other members of the League of Extraordinary Rock 'n' Roll Know-it-Alls such as Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Lars Ulrich, Questlove or John Legend.
These folks can always be counted on to give a self-important speech about an artist or band and find a way to make it about themselves.
Noel Gallagher of Oasis could also be a part of this group, but he’s usually pretty funny and self-deprecating in interviews so he gets a pass.
Appearances by the League of Extraordinary Rock 'n' Roll Know-it-Alls at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame are especially egregious because, at one point, they were all renegades, now they give speeches at an establishment for the anti-establishment.
Jesse Hawken, the host of the Junk Filter podcast, had some fun at the expense of these blowhardy rock stars with a thread that showed just how bad it could have gone if Jackson let modern musicians comment on the Beatles’ greatness.
"Get Back" was okay, I really wish they had interviewed some of today's top artists for the film. Would have liked to see Dave Grohl say that there wouldn't have been Nirvana or the Foo Fighters without the Beatles, to put the band in historical context— Jesse Hawken (@Jesse Hawken) 1638293899
"There were four guys. John, Paul, George and - you know where I'm going with this - Ringo." pic.twitter.com/seQE0VpmGC— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"Ringo, man, he was like a drum machine, you gotta remember this was -before- the invention of the drum machine" pic.twitter.com/Ze6ydRcDYG— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"They called George 'the quiet one' of the group, but when he spoke, everyone listened. Well, except John" pic.twitter.com/xQHEOGUuxV— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"When 'Come Together' starts and you just hear that guitar go 'shunk shunk doo-doo-DOO, doo', you just know man, this is The Beatles right here" pic.twitter.com/18994jHIvK— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"Helter Skelter, man, that's like the original punk song. Would we have punk rock without The Beatles? I dunno man, I can't answer that question. I don't WANT to answer that question" pic.twitter.com/uuC5ABkPa9— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"The first time I ever heard em, I must have been about 15, and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' comes on the radio and I pulled over to a payphone and called my girlfriend, didn't even wait for her to pick up, I was like 'have you ever heard of this band The Beatles?'" pic.twitter.com/BVMxQmjTQz— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"I guess enough time's past I can admit it, right? The Beatles were a huge influence on Oasis. Huge. Those mellotrons on 'Morning Glory'? We nicked that from the Lads" pic.twitter.com/k47cexMHf7— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"Without John Lennon and Paul McCartney, there would be no Elton John and Bernie Taupin. That's the honest truth" pic.twitter.com/mvMtOpYT4W— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"The rock and roll drummer, as we know it, as we understand it, would not exist without Ringo Starr." pic.twitter.com/VL7McXqecC— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"We played a little rooftop concert of our own, ya know. Got into a little trouble with the law ourselves. I guess you could say it was kind of our tribute to the Lads" pic.twitter.com/tyXDKNpP4d— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"I gotta be honest with you, it took me a while to get into their early records" pic.twitter.com/PEzJcFPUrv— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
(plays the end of Eleanor Rigby) "This was something you never heard in the popular music of the time" pic.twitter.com/kb4bovyMz8— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"I remember thinking to myself, Pharrell, don't screw this up, you're performing one of Paul McCartney's songs...in FRONT OF Paul McCartney!" pic.twitter.com/E4wanr1F05— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
"Actually one of the songs in Hamilton was inspired by the Beatles breaking up" pic.twitter.com/klaECsUr38— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) November 30, 2021
Everything about this thread is true. Except you skipped Questlove.— Mediocrites (@MediocritesIAm) November 30, 2021
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