Sunday, September 30, 2012

He Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!: "The Hours and Times" (1991)

A rock star and his homosexual manager decide to get away from the pressures of fame by taking a relaxing long weekend in a foreign country. This probably would not interest you unless you knew the rock star and manager portrayed are John Lennon and Brian Epstein...and even then, you may not find much more of interest here.

In 1963, Lennon (Ian Hart) and Epstein (David Angus) arrive in Barcelona after an alcohol soaked flight. Married new father John got the stewardess' phone number, and constantly berates Brian about Brian's homosexuality. John delights in tormenting Brian for both his sexual preference and religion (Epstein was Jewish), but Brian tolerates it. He has a crush on John, and John seems more than a little curious about taking things beyond the friendship stage.

Christopher Munch wisely shot the film in black and white, lending it a fantastic aged look (by accident, according to the DVD extra's director's interview). Hart and Angus are great as Lennon and Epstein, making the pair's friendship very natural.

Munch's script, on the other hand, is as boring as a Yoko Ono music video. Small talk and meaningless conversations fill the running time (less than an hour). I figured two of the most fascinating musical icons of the twentieth century might be more exciting to listen to. When the scenes do work (the bathtub kiss, Epstein's blackmail story), they still get lost in the monotony.

"The Hours and Times" proves to be a disappointment. Lennon and Epstein changed popular music forever, and we should be reminded they were mere mortals, but humanizing them to the point of somnambulism is a mistake. (* *) out of five stars.