So may I introduce to you/ The act you've known for all these years
February 12, 2019 11:06 AM   Subscribe

So, you're a struggling musician, and you get into an accident after a mysterious power outage; when you wake up, you play "Yesterday" on your guitar, and... no one recognizes it, because no one has ever heard of the Beatles. What do you do? (Hint: rhetorical question.)

The film comes out in June, and is by Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, and many others, and stars Himesh Patel (on EastEnders for many years), Lily James, Kate McKinnon, and many celebrity cameos.
posted by Halloween Jack (153 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
So everyone has forgotten the Beatles and one villain has decided to re-inflict their music on the world? That's dark.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:15 AM on February 12 [61 favorites]


What if we took a subplot from Hot Tub Time Machine, but made it into a whole movie?

Seriously though this does look pretty good.
posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I could live in a world without my man Ringo.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:20 AM on February 12 [10 favorites]


I'm guessing "Dig a Pony" is not one of the songs he trots out.
posted by Brodiggitty at 11:22 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I was down to see this until the one line of dialog that intimated that two members of the Beatles who did still write the songs but never got famous in this world for some reason show up and accuse him of stealing their songs, which I would find excruciating to watch. No way. Sorry, you ruined your movie for me.

I'm guessing "Dig a Pony" is not one of the songs he trots out.

I am the walrus coo coo ca choo.
posted by Caduceus at 11:23 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Could be a fake-out. The two guys turn out to be a couple of delusional Californians.
posted by Mogur at 11:26 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Without the Beatles there would be no Coldplay....
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on February 12 [6 favorites]


Like I love speculative fiction like this but geez actually commit to the premise.
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


"Well it's not Coldplay..." Good enough for me, I want to see this! Something I almost never say when watching movie trailers these days. I even stopped this one half-way through for fear they would tell the whole story and take away the anticipation.
posted by ecourbanist at 11:34 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Does this mean that The Kinks were the big breakout British Invasion act? I want to live in that world.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:36 AM on February 12 [41 favorites]


The two guys turn out to be a couple of delusional Californians.

Charlie Manson & Bobby Beausoleil?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:36 AM on February 12 [16 favorites]


This is such a weirdly reductive premise. Like, no part of the Beatles' appeal was their style, their individual personalities, their faces, their suits and hair, their producers and managers? No part of it was down to British pop culture of the era being primed for an act like that? The structure of the singles charts at the time, which is totally alien to what it is now? No part of it was luck and timing? It was just the songwriting?
posted by qntm at 11:36 AM on February 12 [24 favorites]


Wait, does that mean Lennon is still alive in this film universe, because he wasn't famous enough for anyone to murder him?

Also, related: Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer
posted by anastasiav at 11:40 AM on February 12 [36 favorites]


This looks like it has some potential.

Is this also a world where “Be My Yoko Ono” is just a confusing non-sequitur?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:43 AM on February 12 [7 favorites]


If there had been no British Invasion, would people be arguing whether the best band was The Beach Boys or The Four Seasons?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:44 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


See, if you could write songs as great as the Beatles', you could be just as mind-bogglingly successful as they were, right now! That's all it takes! Just talent. Nothing else.

And if you aren't as big as the Beatles -- which, let's face it, no act on the face of the Earth is, or ever will be again -- it's simply because you're not good enough. That's all! Try harder! There aren't other variables.

This is a weirdly "bootstraps" basic concept.
posted by qntm at 11:45 AM on February 12 [11 favorites]


@qntm - It's just a movie...
posted by zeoslap at 11:47 AM on February 12 [8 favorites]


No part of it was luck and timing? It was just the songwriting?
Surely someone would ask why all his songs sound like he's living in Liverpool in the 1960's.
posted by dannyboybell at 11:48 AM on February 12 [16 favorites]


Also, everyone knows beatle boots don't have straps!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:48 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Wait, does that mean Lennon is still alive in this film universe, because he wasn't famous enough for anyone to murder him?

And that iTunes Records exists? (And the sosumi alert doesn't?)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:49 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


But anyway this movie will absolutely delight my wife, and I'm going to try to take her to it completely cold.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:50 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Who narrated Thomas the Tank Engine?
posted by biffa at 11:51 AM on February 12 [9 favorites]


Who narrated Thomas the Tank Engine?

George Carlin, of course.
posted by dannyboybell at 11:53 AM on February 12 [27 favorites]


The gag at the end? Send Beatallica the check
posted by thelonius at 11:55 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


Ah, so he awakens in a dream Dave Clark had one day.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:02 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


It would definitely be funnier, if darker, if the songs just barely helped. He records them all. He puts them on YouTube. He becomes very slightly successful, gets some airplay on college radio stations, and is able to tour to smallish crowds, but that's it.

He goes back to his day job, the end.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:05 PM on February 12 [45 favorites]


or, alternatively, since apparently music developed exactly the same way in this universe (Coldplay exists), everyone thinks he's mimicking the Rutles and he becomes a moderately successful retro novelty act
posted by BungaDunga at 12:08 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


DAMMIT.

Last week, LAST WEEK I had an idea for a short story in which a man wakes up in a world where he is the only person who remembers the old TV show Mister Ed, and it drives him a little bit mad. I've been writing it on my lunch breaks; I'm like 2/3 of the way done with it.

I'm not even joking, this is kind of uncanny.
posted by gauche at 12:10 PM on February 12 [37 favorites]


Meanwhile, someone else wakes up in a world where Brian Wilson went into horticulture instead of music. They spend the rest of their lives trying to compose and record Pet Sounds from memory.

Meanwhile, someone else wakes up in a world where Soft Cell never recorded Sex Dwarf...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:12 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a scene in Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, where a time traveler in the past hears someone whistling a Beatles song.
posted by doctornemo at 12:14 PM on February 12 [14 favorites]


Who narrated Thomas the Tank Engine?

Ginger Baker.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:14 PM on February 12 [14 favorites]


I'm not even joking, this is kind of uncanny.

I regret to say, it is all too common. My sympathies, truly.

The trick to this movie is, how to wrap it up? Not just a fade out, I hope.
posted by BWA at 12:15 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


So, is it a world where people remember everything that the Rolling Stones copied from the Beatles, but nobody remembers what they copied it from?
posted by ckape at 12:20 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Oh my god I used to think about this scenario all the time when I was younger.
posted by Young Kullervo at 12:20 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


...he is the only person who remembers the old TV show Mister Ed...

The old TV show what now?
posted by Western Infidels at 12:21 PM on February 12 [27 favorites]


Wonder whose back catalogue Michael Jackson ended up acquiring...
posted by acidnova at 12:22 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


DAMMIT.

Last week, LAST WEEK I had an idea for a short story in which a man wakes up in a world where he is the only person who remembers the old TV show Mister Ed, and it drives him a little bit mad. I've been writing it on my lunch breaks; I'm like 2/3 of the way done with it.

I'm not even joking, this is kind of uncanny.


That's OK I live in a world where I seem to be the only one who remembers the old TV show "It's About Time"
posted by Zedcaster at 12:23 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


There's a moment in the HBO movie "Fatherland", which is a murder mystery set in an alternate universe (circa 1960's) where the Nazis won World War II. As with so many other alternate timeline narratives, they had fun with the changes both major and slight compared with our own timeline. Then there's a scene where a bus goes past a billboard with the Beatles on it, clear as day. The message from the film's creators was clear: No matter what happens in alternate timelines, the Beatles are constant and immovable.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:24 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


So, Big Star then?
posted by whuppy at 12:28 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


This looks a adorable and I've been sorely needing something light and fun.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:29 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


As with so many other alternate timeline narratives, they had fun with the changes both major and slight compared with our own timeline. Then there's a scene where a bus goes past a billboard with the Beatles on it, clear as day.

The newer Wolfenstein games have a suspiciously familiar band called "Die Käfer", as well.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:29 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I like the parallel universe spin. Normally this trope requires time travel, or travel to a far off land or planet.
posted by w0mbat at 12:29 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


At least we'd be spared Wonderwall.
posted by bonehead at 12:37 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing "Dig a Pony" is not one of the songs he trots out.

though I am holding out hope for a weird dark night of the soul around the end of act two that gets scored to Revolution 9.
posted by philip-random at 12:38 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


The two guys turn out to be a couple of delusional Californians.

Charlie Manson & Bobby Beausoleil?


Make 'em Brits & they could be Noel Gallagher and Jeff Lynne.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:39 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I live in a world where I seem to be the only one who remembers the old TV show "It's About Time"

I remember the theme song, an ear worm at least five decades old. "It's about time, it's about space, about two men in the strangest place" Can't remember what the show was about though.

And here it all is ...
posted by philip-random at 12:42 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


I’ve wondered about a kind of reverse of this, travelling to those miserable Let It Be sessions and gifting the band a song or two from the future. What would you pick?
posted by argybarg at 12:44 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I’ve wondered about a kind of reverse of this, travelling to those miserable Let It Be sessions and gifting the band a song or two from the future. What would you pick?

"Magneto And Titanium Man"
posted by thelonius at 12:45 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


What would you pick?

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five -- get Lennon to throw some gravity into the lyrics. Such a brilliant sonic construction, so pointless.
posted by philip-random at 12:48 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Last week, LAST WEEK I had an idea for a short story in which a man wakes up in a world where he is the only person who remembers the old TV show Mister Ed, and it drives him a little bit mad.

A world where Mr Ed takes Sandy Koufax deep and slides into home doesn't exist is a horror story I would not want to experience.
posted by bawanaal at 12:48 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


The old TV show what now?

Wasn’t that the drama featuring Ed Sullivan? It only lasted... 1 season?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:49 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Yes But is there Wings?
posted by ardgedee at 12:50 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


There's a Tom Scott video that has a SORT OF SIMILAR premise, except that all traces of 20th-century pop culture were wiped out overnight by a Content-ID-esque algorithm GONE MAD. (or performing as written rather than as intended, more likely.)

anyway this movie looks totally rad and i want to see it RIGHT NOW
posted by capnsue at 12:51 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I wonder how many bands I like would still be around. ELO, definitely not.

R.E.M. probably would've been more influenced by Dylan and Mike Nesmith (because no Monkees, so Mike would've made it on his own, I presume), and not The Byrds.

Not so sure about XTC, who seem to be parts Pink Floyd, The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

Nirvana might also exist, but would definitely sound different without the Beatles influence, and in turn Pixies being Beatles-influenced.

And Kraftwerk would still be the granddads of techno, electro, and EDM. I think whatever pop sensibility they have comes from The Beach Boys (at least per Ralf), and not so much The Beatles.

Prince, with his Joni influence, also didn't need The Beatles to do what he did. We wouldn't have that fabulous solo for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", though. ::sigh::

Most R&B acts, I think, just would have had a couple of fewer cover songs. Rap and disco were already going to be their things, and didn't need The Beatles.

And the there's the Velvets. I'm sure Warhol sponsored them in order to make an obverse meta-comment on The Beatles. What would they have all have become? I suppose JJ Cale would've stayed in classical or avant-garde music, eh? As for the others, I have no idea.
posted by droplet at 12:59 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


>> ...he is the only person who remembers the old TV show Mister Ed...
>
> The old TV show what now?


SMBC
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:05 PM on February 12


This is such a weirdly reductive premise.

Yes, and the Beatles's influence on pop music is probably somewhat overstated.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:06 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


>Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer

I want to see Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted The Merry Pranksters’ Generous Offer.
posted by Catblack at 1:08 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Maybe this was actually how we get "out of left field" geniuses in various disciplines, the arts, etc.
posted by maxwelton at 1:15 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


Prince, with his Joni influence, also didn't need The Beatles to do what he did.

Possibly no Around The World In A Day or, consequently, "Raspberry Beret", though.
posted by mykescipark at 1:18 PM on February 12


A world where Mr Ed takes Sandy Koufax deep

Rule 34 strikes again
posted by solotoro at 1:19 PM on February 12 [17 favorites]


If there had been no British Invasion, would people be arguing whether the best band was The Beach Boys or The Four Seasons?

If there had been no Beatles, would there have been no Pet Sounds? Without the Beatles using (AIUI, forgive me if this is not true) much fancier recording technology than was common for popular music, what would subsequent acts have been like? Come one—what else has changed?
posted by kenko at 1:20 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


a world without Bing Crosby might have derailed a lot (I expect magnetic tape would have caught up eventually, but still)
posted by BungaDunga at 1:23 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Abbey Road Studios existed before them, but would Pink Floyd have ended up there? Alan Parsons? (He can read your mind, but can he tell you whether he'd have written that song without the Beatles?)

It's not one of my favourite songs but I have a ton of great memories associated with Wonderwall so yeah.
posted by wellred at 1:24 PM on February 12



Prince, with his Joni influence, also didn't need The Beatles to do what he did.

but ... Rubber Soul was the Beatle album I played over and over.
posted by philip-random at 1:25 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


Oh my god I used to think about this scenario all the time when I was younger.

Same, and I came to the same conclusion that a number of people already have in this thread: it's not just about the songs, or even necessarily about musical ability. (I'm trusting that the movie might make this point, and that the implication that Jack experiences full-blown Beatlemania, rather than being a nine-day wonder, could be a bit of a head-fake.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:26 PM on February 12


I suppose JJ Cale would've stayed in classical or avant-garde music, eh?

No, JJ Cale was cocaine... John Cale was Heroin!
posted by AJaffe at 1:27 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Yes, and the Beatles's influence on pop music is probably somewhat overstated.

posted by aspersioncast at 3:06 PM on February 12 [+] [!]


Eponylarious.
posted by tzikeh at 1:27 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Is this meant to be an actual alternate timeline or one where the Beatles existed but all evidence was wiped from existence? So that pop culture history proceeded in the same way before but then the mysterious power outage caused a collective amnesia as well as destroy any trace of their recording career. What happened before that day still happened. And Paul and Ringo...have false memories about what they've been doing all this time? Or maybe they only remember their solo careers?
posted by acidnova at 1:34 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I had this idea almost ten years ago, and identified many of the same problems that we're coming up with now (although I used time travel instead of mysterious accident/power failure).
posted by yhbc at 1:35 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


If this movie's tagline isn't "Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust" then I don't know what.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:50 PM on February 12 [18 favorites]


If there were no Beatles, there were no Monkees.

Not quite an even swap, but not too far off.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:58 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I mean, did you miss where this was written by the writer of Love Actually
posted by Automocar at 2:07 PM on February 12


Based on a short story by Pete Best
posted by davebush at 2:09 PM on February 12 [15 favorites]


All I can think of is if this were me - with my shitty memory and zero musical ability - it would be so insanely frustrating. "My new song goes 'It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play... Something something Billy Spears'?"
posted by Rock Steady at 2:12 PM on February 12 [22 favorites]


It’s a seemingly ironclad law of movie history that in any film genre someone will at least attempt to make a movie that strives for higher artistic value, but I still wasn’t expecting that to happen to the jukebox musical.
posted by Kattullus at 2:19 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Heh, I'll definitely watch this even though I'm working on my own alt-universe book with a Beatlesesque band (but where the Beatles specifically never existed).

This kind of idea has been done before for sure though, and not only by me. There's a kids book maybe ten years out called "The Girl Who Became A Beatle." My favorite take is Snodgrass, which is really, really good (I think the BBC adaptation is better than the short story which it's based on, which somehow posits that Stu Sutcliffe lived and got famous BUT STILL NEVER LEARNED TO PLAY BASS but John ditched the Beatles when George Martin wanted them to record "How do you do it?" but never rose above mediocrity.) You should all watch Snodgrass if you haven't. It stars Ian Hart, who played John Lennon in Backbeat and the Hours and the Times and is THE best ficitonal lennon despite looking nothing like him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:19 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


It’s a seemingly ironclad law of movie history that in any film genre someone will at least attempt to make a movie that strives for higher artistic value, but I still wasn’t expecting that to happen to the jukebox musical.

I take it you're not familiar with Julie Taymor's Across the Universe, then? I'm sure there have been others, for that matter, but that one's even Beatle-themed.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:26 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


This is such a weirdly reductive premise. Like, no part of the Beatles' appeal was their style, their individual personalities, their faces, their suits and hair, their producers and managers? No part of it was down to British pop culture of the era being primed for an act like that? The structure of the singles charts at the time, which is totally alien to what it is now? No part of it was luck and timing? It was just the songwriting?

I like to believe their success was because John Lennon sold his soul to the devil. Which, who knows. Maybe this guy does.

(Lennon really said this but I'm having trouble finding a source that's not a Paul-is-dead-and-the-beatles-were-an-mc5-conspiracy conspiracy site.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:26 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


philip-random and mykescipark, I had no idea he was as big a fan of The Beatles as all that. Huh. I'd only known about Joni Mitchell and James Brown. Thanks for sharing that.
posted by droplet at 2:29 PM on February 12


I want a movie where Lula Mae Hardaway somehow ends up living with her children in Liverpool, and the Beatles become a five-piece band with Little Stevie Wonder on drums and keys and songwriting.
posted by pracowity at 2:36 PM on February 12


BWA: The trick to this movie is, how to wrap it up? Not just a fade out, I hope.

Seeing how a massive worldwide power outage had coincided with the bike accident, I’m thinking an “hadron supercollider experiment gone mad” had thrust him into an alternate universe. Naturally, there must be a comical montage of attempts to recreate the conditions to reverse the trip.
posted by dr_dank at 2:38 PM on February 12


"Paul! Paul, it's Mike. Your brother, Mike McGear. You know that new sound you're looking for? Well, listen to this!"
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:43 PM on February 12 [22 favorites]


I'm surprised it took that long for a Back to the Future reference to drop, unless I missed one earlier. And I think that's part of what's satisfying about this trailer, the quasi-reversal of Marty McFly. Yes, the lead isn't African-American, but it's still long overdue for some popular white musicians to get plagiarized by a time traveler.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:57 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]


I think the only reason I know the song referenced in OP is because of a Jay-Z album mashed up with The Beatles.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:01 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Kind of reminds me of a time travel romance novel I read once, where the heroine stuck in the 16th century secured a place at court by entertaining the lords and ladies with songs and movie-plot stories from the 20th century (There was one scene where everyone was going about the castle whistling and humming "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.")

Anyhow, this seems like as fun a conceit as any for holding a bunch of good songs together.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:07 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Presumably, if this is an alternate timeline, a lot of people don't exist. Beatles concerts brought people together; lots of couples don't meet. And politics runs a bit differently as a result, as does pop culture. After a few butterly flaps, maybe this is the universe where we get President Dukakis for two terms.
posted by SandCounty at 3:11 PM on February 12


and the Beatles's influence on pop music is probably somewhat overstated.

this is one of those statements that while probably somewhat true, so is the opposite.
posted by philip-random at 3:18 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


This kind of idea has been done before for sure though, and not only by me.
There's for instance Jean-Philippe, a French comedy from 2006, where a fan of Johnny Hallyday, the legendary French rock/pop singer, wakes up in a world where nobody ever heard of his idol, because in this alternate timeline Johnny's career never took off, so he quit, went back to using his real name (Jean-Philippe) and became a garage owner. The fan tracks down Jean-Philippe (played with sobriety and poignancy by the real Johnny Hallyday) and tries to convince him to reboot his singing career. The movie was a success and there were a rumour about a US remake with Madonna or Bruce Springsteen.
posted by elgilito at 3:51 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


I think this looks pretty fun. I tend to like Richard Curtis stuff (and I wish the flaws in Love, Actually wouldn't keep growing more apparent on rewatch; I like that movie and would like to keep liking it).

(AND I think it's interesting the promos refer to him as the writer of Love, Actually and not Four Weddings and a Funeral, although of course there's probably not the space nor attention span to mention all the things he's done, but it is kind of interesting in the "what are creative artists most known for?" kind of way.)

I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned Goodnight Sweetheart, in which an ordinary Londoner stumbles through a time portal into World War II, plays a lot of Beatles songs and claims he wrote them - but has to take care that no one does anything with those songs, or publishes them anywhere, because he doesn't want to alter the course of history.

Thanks for the post, Halloween Jack! (And elgilito, thanks for mentioning that Johnny Hallyday movie - that looks really interesting, and I wish I could find it!)
posted by kristi at 4:09 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


I'm reminded of the episode of Sliders where African-American music never happened. No Jazz, no Blues, no Funk, no Rock and Roll. Since Mel Tormé's nephew or someone produced the show, one of the gags was that Mel himself appeared as a CIA agent.

But the best moment was when Rembrandt works out that this is the weird thing that makes it the wrong universe. He's in a record shop just aghast at the lack of selection. A clerk comes over and recommends a few absurd items, including "Kurt Kobain's Christmas Album"
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:11 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]


If Neil Young hadn’t of released a couple of albums with distortion and toured with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth we wouldn’t have grunge. Which means we probably would have Nickelback and Creed. Hmm...

I’m more of a Beach Boys guy myself. And Tame Impala is doing the sort of Beatles thing amazingly well, but it’s not really a totally apt comparison.
posted by gucci mane at 4:39 PM on February 12


I dearly hope Sean Lennon writes an honest review.

I would think I wouldn't be up for this, but I went to that last high-concept Beatle-a-roke movie (Across the Universe) so I probably will be. Interesting point: it was Julie Taymor's name that drew me to that one, and it's Danny Boyle's that does so here, specifically due to my never-fading love for Sunshine.

Taymor let me down last time, and T2 was weaksauce, so I'm doubtful we get hallucinatory questionable-choice plothole Boyle here, alas.
posted by mwhybark at 4:47 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


If Neil Young hadn’t of released a couple of albums with distortion and toured with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth we wouldn’t have grunge.

pfft not even amusing, try again. your timeline is nonsense. Hey! Are you Danny Boyle? LOVE your work, baby. LOVE it.
posted by mwhybark at 4:49 PM on February 12


The grunge bands couldn't even write an Aeolian cadence.
posted by thelonius at 5:02 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I’ve wondered about a kind of reverse of this, travelling to those miserable Let It Be sessions and gifting the band a song or two from the future. What would you pick?

Someone elsewhere in the thread invoked Prince for a different reason, and that got me thinking and my answer is now "Purple Rain" and "Kiss".

I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned Goodnight Sweetheart, in which an ordinary Londoner stumbles through a time portal into World War II, plays a lot of Beatles songs and claims he wrote them - but has to take care that no one does anything with those songs, or publishes them anywhere, because he doesn't want to alter the course of history.

I know I've mentioned this before and had someone tell me the name but I keep forgetting, but there's a shaggy-dog kind of sci-fi short story I swear I read once that involved a guy who signed up to get cryogenically frozen; but just before, he memorized all this shit-ton of information about John Lennon and forged the paperwork so that when they woke him up, he could claim that that's who he was. Most of the story took place in the future after he'd been woken up and is perpetuating the con, with all of these Anastasia-type visits from lawyers and doctors and people who knew John tangentially (including Paul, who'd been cryogenically frozen as well and revived). Then towards the end, a detective finally visits him with proof that they caught his con and know his true identity. He's not arrested or anything, he just....has to be himself now. Darn. The guy curiously asks how they figured out he wasn't John Lennon after all.

"Oh, we actually found the real John Lennon," the detective said. "....He'd been claiming that he was Mozart."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:03 PM on February 12 [12 favorites]


There was also an episode of an American 80s SF family drama 'Otherworld' where a family get transported to a parallel Earth and are then pursued by some sort of evil police dude. In one location they find out there is no musical culture and they become a success playing Beatles and later other songs.
posted by biffa at 5:06 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Thinking through some other consequences. No Beatles means Richard Lester doesn't make his directing breakthrough with A Hard Day's Night, so would Superman 2 have been any good? Would the series stop before Superman IV, denying us Nuclear Man?
posted by biffa at 5:10 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Since we're talking about alternate-universe Beatles, I'll contribute The Beatles Never Broke Up (including the MP3s!) (also article).

And there's always Judith Tarr's "Them Old Hyannis Blues," in which the Kennedys are the Beatles, and the Beatles are the Kennedys (John Lennon as Secretary of State).
posted by WCityMike at 5:20 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Would the series stop before Superman IV, denying us Nuclear Man?

A hell-world. Moviegoers would listlessly trudge to an endless series of Spiderman reboots, grazing on their Victory Popcorn like cattle.
posted by thelonius at 5:21 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


If Neil Young hadn’t of released a couple of albums with distortion and toured with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth we wouldn’t have grunge.

grand funk railroad - listen to the first two albums - way grungy

---

I want to see Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted The Merry Pranksters’ Generous Offer.

"roll up, roll up for the mystery tour ..." - really - they did that in OUR universe, they just didn't realize it

we already had one grateful dead, anyway
posted by pyramid termite at 5:25 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I DO really like the idea that this is a case of collective amnesia, and that when the protagonist gets famous, Paul McCartney, apparently a well-known session bassist in the London music scene, digs up some of his old notes and finds these same songs. He's barefoot in the confrontation scene because of some old school Beatles-style *wacky hijinks.*
posted by muddgirl at 5:33 PM on February 12


He's barefoot in the confrontation scene because of some old school Beatles-style *wacky hijinks.*

No, no, it's because he's dead.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:35 PM on February 12 [10 favorites]


No, no, it's because he's dead.

Walking Dead cameo!
posted by WCityMike at 5:37 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Oh, and shout out to Let Him Be, which is an indie Canadian movie which posits that John Lennon is alive buying up secluded property in Canada. Largely meh, but they got a really amazing Lennon impersonator to play him at least.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:37 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I'm not necessarily a fan of the premise (or The Beatles), but I am a fan of the director and I'm even more a fan that it's a South Asian protagonist who isn't a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or terrorist.

I would much rather watch a similar movie about Pink Floyd, personally.
posted by Ouverture at 5:42 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


Isn’t this joke just from “Peggy Sue Got Married?”
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 6:11 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I love a good alternative history, but so many of the one's I've seen recently have been, "okay but nazi's won," or "ok, but the south won," dystopias.

I'd be really interested in a meta scifi story along these lines, where, for example, boys never really got into SFF and stayed with true crime and detective fiction, leaving women and queer people to develop speculative fiction, which is derided as escapist much like romance novels are. Judith Merril continues to publish and edit Science Fiction #1, later renamed Fabulous Science Fiction and Fact, instead of Campbell editing Astounding.
posted by gryftir at 6:15 PM on February 12 [10 favorites]


Yeah I got the Paul is Dead reference but it doesn't make any sense in a world where the Beatles never made Abbey Road.
posted by muddgirl at 6:29 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I read a short story once about a world where Lennon quits the Beatles before they become (semi-famous), and has to live with watching Paul McCartney succeed with a Wings-style band and sound. It made me almost unbearably sad, in the same way that a lot of alternate universes do: the terrifying contingencies of our world.

I wish I could find it -- there are a lot of Beatles alternate universe stories out there!
posted by ntk at 6:33 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


It would make sense as a reference if the two mysterious figures were John and Paul and John was the one without shoes, John being dead in our timeline.
posted by muddgirl at 6:37 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Caduceus: "I was down to see this until the one line of dialog that intimated that two members of the Beatles who did still write the songs but never got famous in this world for some reason show up and accuse him of stealing their songs, which I would find excruciating to watch."

It was the exact opposite for me. I cannot stomach suspenseful movies. It's not their problem, it's mine, but that "waiting for the other shoe to drop" sensation is excruciating. Every single conversation and encounter, sitting there thinking "is this when it's going to happen? is it even going to happen? am I not allowing myself to go along with the conceit because I assume that the other shoe is going to drop?"

So seeing a bit in the trailer that says "yes, the shoe will drop, but it will do so during a talk show, so if you're not in a talk show scene, you can just enjoy the movie without feeling stressed out" makes me feel like I could relax and enjoy the movie.
posted by Bugbread at 6:40 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the sequel, "Klaatu: The Dream"
posted by davebush at 6:54 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Oh, and shout out to Let Him Be yt , which is an indie Canadian movie which posits that John Lennon is alive buying up secluded property in Canada. Largely meh, but they got a really amazing Lennon impersonator to play him at least.

I was going to mention this, partly because I am sort of friend-of-a-friend with the writer/director. I enjoy the thing on a conceptual level because it scratches two very specific itches for a tribute act: what do you do when you age out of the range when your guy is performing, and for the love of god, can I play some different music for a change?

The aforementioned impersonator (Mark Staycer, if memory serves) gets to perform as a sixtysomething Lennon, and to play some original music, both of which must be refreshing.

And I must admit the hook is great: our viewpoint character buys up old electronics, restores them, and sells them on eBay (or some fictional equivalent). He picks up an old video camera for a few bucks at a yard sale and learns there is a tape stuck inside. In the course of repairing the camera, he sees the tape and sees a second or two of what is apparently John Lennon as a senior citizen, playing guitar at a house party. The hunt is then on for the source of the tape and the subject onscreen.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:08 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I read a short story once about a world where Lennon quits the Beatles before they become (semi-famous), and has to live with watching Paul McCartney succeed with a Wings-style band and sound. [...] I wish I could find it -- there are a lot of Beatles alternate universe stories out there!

Are you thinking of Liverpool Fantasy by Larry Kirwan? The premise is that the Beatles did "Love Me Do" but then when they got to the studio to do the next album, John got into a fight with the record label and bailed, and George and Ringo followed him - but Paul stayed. Fast-forward 25 years; John is still with Cynthia and is on the dole, George ended up becoming a Jesuit priest and is in a bit of a frail condition mentally, and Ringo ended up a henpecked husband who owns a chain of hair salons, while Paul has become this Vegas crooner going by "Paul Montana". Oh, and the alt-right took over Britain because the Beatles never were around to inspire everyone.

That's more a proper novel than a story, but the premise is similar; so even if it's not what you were thinking of it could be worth checking out anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


I read a short story once about a world where Lennon quits the Beatles before they become (semi-famous), and has to live with watching Paul McCartney succeed with a Wings-style band and sound. It made me almost unbearably sad, in the same way that a lot of alternate universes do: the terrifying contingencies of our world.

If it's not the one that Empress mentions, it's probably "Snodgrass," which I mentioned upthread, by Ian R. MacLeod. In that one, Lennon quits just before their first single, the band (consisting, IIRC, of Ringo, Stu Sutcliffe, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney) hits middling success with "How do you do it?" and then puts out a bunch of songs that are sort of alt-universe Paul-heavy Beatles hits and wings-style stuff, and they stay together through endless nostalgia touring through the 90s. Lennon abandons Cynthia and Julian and joins and leaves other bands but is never successful. The story is about him temping while Paul McCartney is trying to get back in touch with him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:03 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Jack and the lads enter the Nexus separately, the shimmering time-portals vanishing behind them. "Hey mate, I think we got our songs mixed up," John says, "Like in that American film, Freaky Friday?" Paul glances at his attorney, whose hand is chained to a heavy-looking briefcase. "We seem to only know how to perform your material, which we have in our possession. We'd like to propose a trade, if you'd ..." John cuts him off. "Yes, it's not very good, is it? It's pretty whiny stuff... Cotton candy and apple pie, don't you ever make me cry... It didn't go over very well in Hamburg." Ringo shifts his weight. "I didn't think it was all that bad." George, always the silent one, says nothing.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:05 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I'd be really interested in a meta scifi story along these lines

You might like the notes I have been writing up on "The Good World", but I do not want to get into much more detail because if I tell Metafilter now I will for sure never do anything more with it.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:05 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Kristi beat me to it. All day I have been waiting to come in and say that the Britcom “Goodnight, Sweetheart” beat them to it, though with a nice time travel element. Now I need to re-watch that show.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:56 PM on February 12


Writing challenge: The Lennon-McCartney Variations, in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney really got into (the musical genre of your choice) and are now renowned as the Founding Fathers of/ 20th century Masters of Leftfield, Chamber Music, Barbershop Quartet, Death Metal, etc., etc....

And... GO!
posted by LeRoienJaune at 10:02 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


“Hey Paul, Paul!...It’s your cousin Jim. .. you know...Jim *Mcartney*...yeah...you know that new sound you were talking about? Well listen to *this*...”
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi, you are right! It was "Snodgrass."I had no idea that there was a film made of it. EmpressCallipygos, that sounds a great book, I'll look out for it.
posted by ntk at 11:05 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


SCP-3922...given the limitations of the SCP format, it's an interesting take on this sort of thing. Maybe that's what happened to The Beatles in the movie universe.
posted by maxwelton at 1:08 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


If Neil Young hadn’t of released a couple of albums with distortion and toured with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth we wouldn’t have grunge.

Listen to Pacific NW heroes The Sonics in 1964 before claiming that Neil Young invented grunge.
posted by argybarg at 2:25 AM on February 13


It has been estimated that in the late 1950s, there were 30,000–50,000 skiffle groups in Britain. The law of averages dictates that if not the Beatles, some other groups of lads would have stepped up to take their place.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:41 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


The law of averages

There is no such thing
posted by thelonius at 4:03 AM on February 13


Reminds me of a scene in Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, where a time traveler in the past hears someone whistling a Beatles song.

Not just any Beatles song but Yesterday in particular! As I recall he is walking around in jolly olde englande and hears someone whistling but continues on without pause. The whistling keeps nagging at him until he stops dead in his tracks upon the realization that it was Yesterday but of course it's too late to find the whistler. At least that's what my hazy memory is telling me.

I came into this thread to see if anyone had mentioned Tim Powers. It seems oddly coincidental. But I would wager that's because both the Powers story and this film chose Yesterday specifically because of how immediately recognizable but also stripped down and sparse the melody is even without any other instrumentation. Perfect for either whistling or the solo guitar as in the movie.

But, yeah, it makes absolutely no sense that music would develop in exactly the same way without the Beatles and that their songs, so much a product of their time and place, would be massive smash hits today without major re-arrangements. Sure, a few like Yesterday I might buy since (see above) it's more easily removed from the 60's backdrop but... come on.

It's just a show, I should really just relax.
posted by Justinian at 5:01 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


If there's something worse than James Corden playing "himself" it's Ed Sheeran trying to act.

NO! WAIT! THEY'RE BOTH EQUALLY HEINOUS!
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:44 AM on February 13


But I would wager that's because both the Powers story and this film chose Yesterday specifically because of how immediately recognizable but also stripped down and sparse the melody is even without any other instrumentation.

I have said before that (assuming the human race is still kicking) “Yesterday” will still be recognized centuries from now — not because of some enduring glory of Paul McCartney but rather because the melody is pleasing: much the same way almost everyone in this society recognizes the melody of “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” or the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It will just be part of the background of culture.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:05 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


We'd still have Prince. He's Jimi Hendrix + Little Richard.

Does this mean that The Kinks were the big breakout British Invasion act? I want to live in that world.

The Kinks were held back by their shitty production. Their early stuff sounds like it was recorded inside a coffee can.

After a few butterly flaps, maybe this is the universe where we get President Dukakis for two terms.

So it is a dystopian nightmare future!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:51 AM on February 13


If there's something worse than James Corden playing "himself" it's Ed Sheeran trying to act.

In the UK trailer a character makes fun of Sheeran's rapping, which I think makes this worth it.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:29 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


no Monkees, so Mike would've made it on his own, I presume

Without the Monkees, however, Mike lacks the wherewithal to get studio funding for Repo Man, which ends up as yet another forgotten, quirky student film. The cosmic unconsciousness is impoverished in this reality.
posted by mubba at 7:36 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


So wait this is or isn't a rip-off of PKD's Flow My Tears the Policeman Said? I guess the difference being it's not told from Taverner/The Beatles POV??
posted by RobertFrost at 10:24 AM on February 13


I have said before that (assuming the human race is still kicking) “Yesterday” will still be recognized centuries from now

I just looked it up, because I don't know the Beatles music very well, and I do not recognize this tune at all. Then again, I didn't know what Ginuwine's 'Pony' was, so I'm probably not the best judge.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:31 AM on February 13


Same, and I came to the same conclusion that a number of people already have in this thread: it's not just about the songs, or even necessarily about musical ability.

Likewise, once I realized that the scale differences imply that a man with the proportional strength of a spider would be weaker than a normal human, I was never able to enjoy Spider-Man games or movies again.

C'mon people, this concept gets a whole chapter in Ryan North's endlessly entertaining "How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler." He even includes some sheet music for a few of the songs you'll need to become history's greatest composer. That stamp of approval for this fantasy premise is good enough for me.
posted by straight at 11:02 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


— not because of some enduring glory of Paul McCartney but rather because the melody is pleasing:

no it isn't. Not to me anyway. Or maybe it's the words. I recall being fourteen and already annoyed at the "I believe in Yesterday" sentiment. This condition hasn't improved with time. But in all fairness, I did hear a backward recording a while back of Marianne Faithfull's version, and it was nice, very nice.

And a quick Google reveals ...
posted by philip-random at 11:16 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Although I did laugh at this twitter comment from MeFi's own koeselitz:
but now [Boyle] can complete his Secret Fantasies of Mediocre Guitar Players Trilogy: Trainspotting ("I wish I was a super-cool heroin junky!") Slumdog Millionaire ("I wish I was suddenly rich!") and Yesterday ("I wish I could play Beatles songs for people and pretend I wrote them!")
Yeah, I'm a mediocre guitar player and yeah, I have secret fantasies. Zing!
posted by straight at 11:17 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Douglas Adams did a gag about this with Bach in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, except it's also one of the zillion clues setting up one of the best "Wait, what...oh...oh...OH!" endings I've ever read.
posted by straight at 11:26 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


That stamp of approval for this fantasy premise is good enough for me.

It's a different fantasy premise though. Ryan's book is about going back in time and bootstrapping modern inventions in the past. The movie's premise is that only one specific piece of the past never existed and it had little to no effect on culture in general, which is what I think people are finding hard to swallow. It's just a trailer so maybe it has more to say about their influence on music and pop culture than it shows here. Though I am sympathetic to the idea that the Beatles didn't matter as much as some people think.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:20 PM on February 13


Though I am sympathetic to the idea that the Beatles didn't matter as much as some people think.

So I have this idea for a depressing remake of It's A Wonderful Life...
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:30 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Wait, I've seen this one before. He's in a coma and she's playing his favourite records for him, he wakes up and realises he loves her.
posted by lucidium at 1:25 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


The lyrics to "Yesterday" are four ounces of nonsense. It's a divine melody (look how long it teases you before it resolves, and it even ends on the third instead ilof the tonic) with harmony that's simple but not so simple it's boring. It works beautifully an an instrumental.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:13 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


'Yesterday''s melody seems primeval, like an ur-melody. The story goes that it came to Paul in a dream. When he was finally able to recreate it after awakening, he was totally convinced that he'd unconsciously picked it up from someone else. He played it for all his friends and asked them to guess where it came from. It took a while for Paul to admit it really was his.
posted by ovvl at 2:48 PM on February 13 [6 favorites]


Wait, I've seen this one before. He's in a coma and she's playing his favourite records for him, he wakes up and realises he loves her.

Unfortunately I would be not at all surprised if this turns out to be the story.
posted by Justinian at 4:30 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


That is definitely, 100% certainly how they end this. There's no other reason for having a bike accident and hospital stay be the precipitating event for this.

Unless they go insane by teasing that ending and then in the last 2 minutes pull back and TWIST, it's aliens.
posted by straight at 6:50 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


If there were no Beatles, there were no Monkees.
Not quite an even swap, but not too far off.


I refute it thus.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:32 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


That is definitely, 100% certainly how they end this. There's no other reason for having a bike accident and hospital stay be the precipitating event for this.

Well then he's just ripping off 28 Days Later
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:04 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


but now [Boyle] can complete his Secret Fantasies of Mediocre Guitar Players Trilogy: Trainspotting ("I wish I was a super-cool heroin junky!") Slumdog Millionaire ("I wish I was suddenly rich!") and Yesterday ("I wish I could play Beatles songs for people and pretend I wrote them!")

Millions is Boyle's 'suddenly rich' fantasy, Slumdog is his scat fantasy, with a quiz show story built around it.
posted by biffa at 1:42 AM on February 14


> The lyrics to "Yesterday" are four ounces of nonsense. It's a divine melody (look how long it teases you before it resolves, and it even ends on the third instead ilof the tonic) with harmony that's simple but not so simple it's boring. It works beautifully an an instrumental.

The melody came first, the lyrics were written to fit later. McCartney used "Scrambled eggs/ Oh my baby how I love your legs/ Not as much as I love scrambled eggs..." as a placeholder until he could come up with something more appropriately evocative. Using placeholder lyrics isn't all that rare among songwriters I guess, and I can get why the mechanics of fitting words to music means it's easier sometime to shim anything into place so the writer doesn't get derailed from their flow by a minor obstacle, but when the difference between work-in-progress and finished piece is massive and the song is treated as a minor monument to western civilization, and considering more generally how people mythologize artistry as the process of creating whole-and-perfect things out of pure inspiration, the early form of the song is hilarious.
posted by ardgedee at 3:36 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Using placeholder lyrics isn't all that rare among songwriters I guess, and I can get why the mechanics of fitting words to music means it's easier sometime to shim anything into place so the writer doesn't get derailed from their flow by a minor obstacle, but when the difference between work-in-progress and finished piece is massive and the song is treated as a minor monument to western civilization, and considering more generally how people mythologize artistry as the process of creating whole-and-perfect things out of pure inspiration, the early form of the song is hilarious.

The Beatles did this a fair amount. My fave is the song "Child of Nature" that John Lennon wrote in Rishikesh, which is lyrically almost identical to "Mother Nature's Son" by McCartney, as they both wrote them after a lecture by the Maharishi. They went with McCartney's song for the album, and Lennon saved the melody to reuse later for "Jealous Guy." Which is about being a jealous asshole.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:35 AM on February 14


Unless they go insane by teasing that ending and then in the last 2 minutes pull back and TWIST, it's aliens.

Which was the finale of the US version of Life On Mars iirc, which this film also reminds me of.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:05 AM on February 14


My hope is that it's worldwide memory-erasure rather than time travel, although I guess a parallel phenomenon would have to remove and/or replace the mountains of physical evidence in books and computers and posters. It would resolve any for-want-of-a-nail naggling, e.g how does pop music remain so similar right down to the existence of Coldplay, what about all the people whose parents met at a Beatles cover band concert and so forth. My own Occam's razor (barely) slices out the branched-off universe explanation in favor of an "overwritten" one.

I think the plasticity of human memory can mostly allow for this... people whose lives are saturated with Beatles content might just become near-amnesiacs (and there'd be local stories about the group of friends, in reality a fan club, who experienced that overnight) but everyone else could live with "What was that song again? Eh, probably Hendrix". Also, it would half-explain this man's finding insta-stardom without the many advantages people are pointing out (they came out at just the right point in history, they built up goodwill with song fitting each different era). Like, aside from the inherent quality of the music, people worldwide are in fact responding to something that feels deeply familiar. That's been used as warm praise for other music before, with nobody ever postulating something paranormal.

The bus accident sort of fits this possibility, like it randomly spared our protagonist's brain from the nanobots/rays/whatever. This also allows for a possible revelation that other people (there'd be more than one such accident in a power outage) also remember, and he happened to be the most musically skilled and thus in the best position to capitalize on the situation. And another possible twist (I don't think I have to mark this speculation as a spoiler) is that the talk-show claimants aren't Paul and Ringo (they, and I guess the people closest to them, are among the amnesiacs now), just two guys who managed to write down lyrics earlier than he did, to establish. That could get into a really funny/interesting "No, no, we all stole it from the same people!" argument on live TV, or more likely, the protagonist's struggle to avoid saying that.

(To flip all this around completely, if it is time travel plus Freaky Friday, it might be amusing to witness a scene in the other world where the guy's counterpart has no idea the Beatles existed and his friends think he's lying.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:16 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


No it's definitely aliens from a hell dimension that has no music. A flashback will show them testing their Culture Sucking Ray on us with the dial turned to "THE BEATLES." I don't know what the macguffin is* for why our hero wasn't affected, but it's the reason that only he can stop them and he only has 28 hours to find their Giant Culture Sucking Ray before they erase all music in human history and transfer it to their world.

* It's probably love.
posted by straight at 11:43 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


They need to find the elements of culture in the hearts of great artists, then consummate their synthesis in an ancient Middle Eastern temple to recreate an ur-human superweapon. Wacky hi-jinks ensue.
posted by bonehead at 6:38 AM on February 15


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