Tag Archives: Stevie Wonder

Music Biopics: The Name Game

A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.

2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.

We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.

The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.

More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.

There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.

Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.

It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.

With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.

For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.

Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.

Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.

Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.

Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.

I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.

Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.

Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.

With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.

Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.

And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?

2016 Golden Globes: Who Will Win?

This Sunday evening, the Golden Globes (perhaps the most significant Oscar precursor) airs with Jimmy Fallon hosting. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Globes divide both Picture and the Lead Acting races in two categories: Drama and Musical/Comedy.

Here’s how I have each race playing out with the winners predicted. As a side note, I decided to not do my weekly Oscar predictions yesterday and will have an updated post on Thursday next week!

With that, let’s get to the races…

Best Drama

The Nominees: Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight

Todd’s Prediction: Moonlight

Analysis: Not an easy prediction as this will probably boil down to Moonlight and Manchester, with both Hacksaw and Lion being potential spoilers (Water is only pic I see as having no shot). The winner of this category will likely vault into a two-way race with La La Land as to what comes out on top at Oscar time.

Best Musical/Comedy

The Nominees: 20th Century Women, Deadpool, Florence Foster Jenkins, La La Land, Sing Street

Todd’s Prediction: La La Land

Analysis: It would be pretty shocking if Damien Chazelle’s ode to Hollywood musicals didn’t win here. I suppose perhaps Jenkins has a dark horse shot, but this is the easiest pick of the bunch to make.

Best Director

The Nominees: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Longergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Todd’s Prediction: Damien Chazelle

Analysis: Jenkins has racked up a slew of precursors and a win for Gibson would be seen as completing a remarkable comeback after multiple personal issues. However, at the end of the day, I believe the La La love will extend to its director.

Best Actor (Drama)

The Nominees: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences).

Todd’s Prediction: Casey Affleck

Analysis: Like the Oscar race, this looks to be between Affleck and Washington. I’ll give the former the slight edge as he’s won more precursors and Manchester itself was nominated for Picture, whereas Fences was not.

Best Actress (Drama)

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals), Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Todd’s Prediction: Natalie Portman

Analysis: While I wouldn’t totally rule out an Adams or Huppert win, Portman has the edge in her acclaimed role of Mrs. Kennedy.

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

The Nominees: Colin Farrell (The Lobster), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins), Jonah Hill (War Dogs), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Todd’s Prediction: Hugh Grant

Analysis: Conventional wisdom would point to a Gosling win, but I believe the Hollywood Foreign Press will provide a bit of an upset here and honor Grant. Also – don’t be too shocked if Reynolds manages to surprise.

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

The Nominees: Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Todd’s Prediction: Emma Stone

Analysis: Bening and Streep are long shots, but it would be a rather large upset if Stone didn’t emerge victorious here.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins), Dev Patel (Lion), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Todd’s Prediction: Mahershala Ali

Analysis: Bridges or Patel are feasible, but Ali has received the bulk of precursor awards and I believe that will continue here.

Best Supporing Actress

The Nominees: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Todd’s Prediction: Viola Davis

Analysis: Davis is the clear front runner here and at the Oscars. An upset win (possible for any of these actresses other than Spencer) could dispel that notion, but it probably won’t occur.

Best Screenplay

The Nominees: Hell or High Water, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Nocturnal Animals

Todd’s Prediction: Moonlight

Analysis: La La and Manchester are in the mix here, but this is probably where Barry Jenkins will get his win and not for direction.

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Arrival, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight

Todd’s Prediction: La La Land

Analysis: Tough one and it’s not out of the question to envision any of them winning. I’ll just go La La and see what happens.

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls, “City of Stars” from La La Land, “Faith” from Sing, “Gold” from Gold, “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

Todd’s Prediction: “City of Stars”

Analysis: There’s some real heavy hitters here: Justin Timberlake, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Stevie Wonder with nominations. Yet I think the HFPA honors La La once again.

Best Animated Feature

The Nominees: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, Sing, Zootopia

Todd’s Prediction: Zootopia

Analysis: Kubo has a shot and you can never dismiss Disney with Moana. However, there’s another acclaimed Mouse Factory title in the mix and I believe Zootopia gets in.

Best Foreign Language Film

The Nominees: Divines, Elle, Neruda, The Salesman, Toni Erdmann

Todd’s Prediction: Toni Erdmann

Analysis: Elle could absolutely win here (and perhaps The Salesman), but I’ll go with Academy favorite Erdmann.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have a post up Sunday night letting you know how well (or poorly) I did. Until then…

Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 50-41

We have arrived at part five of my personal Top 90 R&B songs of the 1990s and that means numbers 50-41 coming at you this evening! If you’d like to see what else has made the list, read my previous entries here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/03/top-90-rb-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-90-81/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/04/top-90-rb-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-80-71/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/05/top-rb-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-70-61/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/07/06/top-90-rb-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-60-51/

Let’s keep on moving…

50. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (1992)

You didn’t think I’d leave Ms. Whitney’s signature tune off here, did you? Her smash hit from The Bodyguard soundtrack is prime crank it up when you’re by yourself in the car bliss. And Dolly Parton wrote it!

49. “Lately” by Jodeci (1993)

Not many artists could pull off covering Stevie Wonder, but Jodeci managed excellently with their beautiful version of this classic.

48. “Hey Mr. D.J.” by Zhane (1993)

The group’s biggest hit is a club anthem.

47. “Jerk Out” by The Time (1990)

Prince brought this group to prominence in the 1980s, but this first single off their album Pandemonium has been a personal favorite for quite some time.

***SO, Prince doesn’t let any music he owns on YouTube. Sorry folks!

46. “At Your Best” by Aaliyah (1994)

Aaliyah’s slow jam from her debut album. Get used to seeing her on the remainder of this list.

45. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison (1997)

Mr. Morrison might not have had other stateside hits, but this banger cements his place in history.

44. “My Way” by Usher (1998)

Usher makes his debut on the list with the title track to his fabulous 1997 album.

43. “Weak” by SWV (1993)

This #1 smash was the R&B ballad of summer 1993. This girl group isn’t done yet on the list either.

42. “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s (1996)

This track would still fill up on a dance floor. If you don’t know this one, you need to.

41. “Feels Good” by Tony! Toni! Tone! (1990)

This influential group peaks here with their greatest single.

And that’s our 90s R&B edition for tonight, folks! We’ll get to the Top 40 tomorrow evening!