My GMU Econ colleague and decades-long dear friend Dan Klein – who, along with Tyler Cowen (and myself), is a huge fan of Queen – sent this e-mail to me after he saw the movie Bohemian Rhapsody . I post Dan’s e-mail here with his kind permission:
I saw Bohemian Rhapsody yesterday with Rebecca (visiting for a week, leaves tomorrow) and Randy K. We loved it!
Here is a review of some inaccuracies , nothing that major.
I don’t fault the movie, but it really made Brian and Roger just sort of furniture to Freddie, who was portrayed as almost the only source both of creative vision and of tension and acrimony within the group.
Another thing about the movie – again, not something I fault it on – is that someone who didn’t know much about Queen could easily get the impression that when you get right down to it the story of Queen is basically a dozen big songs, which is very far from the truth. Because of the narration culminating in Live Aid, there was almost nothing about or from their last album Innuendo, which might be their best.
I thought the movie picked up after the split with the girlfriend, and finished strongly.
Even with its focus on Freddie, the movie did not convey much at all of the young hungry magic like Side Black from Queen II and “Brighton Rock”, “Flick of the Wrist,” “Lap of the Gods,” from Sheer Heart Attack. I think that stuff is still my favorite. The movie made them seem more exclusively pop-ish than they were. Again, understandable—no way to make “The March of the Black Queen ” work in the movie, and besides it would have upset the plotting of gay discovery. I remember, when I was about 11, seeing my brother exult in the living room listening to “March,” and I knew something was going on.
It was a great tribute to them. Loved it.
DBx: If you’ll allow me to indulge for a moment in pure nostalgia: among my ‘funnest’ memories from 1976, the year my friend Kerry Dugas and I graduated from high school, are of many evenings sitting in Kerry’s bedroom, drinking beer, and listening to Queen’s November 1975 album, A Night at the Opera .