After John Ridley won an Oscar a few weeks ago, I happened to surf into a post covering his activities — lured in by a tagline about a “feud” he had or was having with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. Whatever. Didn’t seem to amount to much.
But the piece mentioned his movie about Jimi Hendrix, with André 3000 as the Master of the Stratocaster. I’d noticed a blurb about this project months ago, without digging deep enough into the copy to see that Ridley was connected, much less the screenwriter and — at least now — the director.
Then I got to the part about how the Hendrix estate isn’t allowing a single note of his library to ring out in the film. Which is the reason a couple of previous biopics, blurbed in the article, were set aside.
Yeah. That’s what I’d do, too. Why bother? 3000 could well be excellent as Jimi sitting in a diner or hanging at a party, but people are going to be ticked off when the music plays and it isn’t the music played.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter to me — I wouldn’t have seen it, anyway, likely as not. I’ve seen Jerry Lee Lewis in concert more times than anyone except my buddy R. J. Mischo, but had no interest in seeing the Dennis Quaid film. Why? I’ve seen the Killer.
I did catch The Doors at some point, thought it did a great job (as far as I know anything about it) capturing the people and times — and the music. They got to use the music.
Without that okay, you might as well not try to do the actual person — fall back on a thinly-veiled fictional version like the Coens did for Dave Van Ronk with Inside Llewyn Davis. At least then people won’t be waiting, and waiting, for “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” or some staple from Jimi’s catalog circa 1966.
I’m curious to see how this one will do. Yeah, I expect it to bomb, but maybe it’ll surprise me. Could be an art-house-level hit, I suppose.
And if it snags an Oscar next year, well, it’ll be another contender I haven’t seen, per norm.