I SPENT THE OTHER NIGHT ON NETFLIX, looking for something to watch, as usual. It definitely felt more magical, back in the day, to go browsing through a video store (though the magic might have had something to do with being younger). Movie choices seem to get harder as you age. Stairs get harder as you age, so why not movies?
In town there is still one video store. The other day there were a couple stormtrooper manikins hanging around outside. There is a small temptation to visit the store, just to see, just to glimpse some nostalgia. But it would be like creeping an ex: you don’t really want to know. You do, but you also really don’t.
There was an interview with Don Cheadle on Conan a little while ago. He was talking about his new movie, Miles Ahead. They played a clip, a scene where Miles Davis (it’s sort of a biopic. I say sort of because it doesn’t really encompass a whole life) is being driven around by this reporter from Rolling Stone (played by Ewan McGregor). There was nothing too flashy in the scene, but maybe that’s what was attractive. Just a solid premise and good acting. I thought it was a movie that would be nice to see, but would likely slip me by. There are so many movies to see.
But that was the movie that popped up on Netflix. The spin on the usual music biopic was interesting; from my minimal knowledge of Miles Davis, Don Cheadle does a great job; Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor are both favourites of mine; the timeline of the story was cut well; the choice to focus on just one day of Davis’s life intercut with past relationship strife seemed smart. It could be forgettable for some, but spoke to me.
I like watching directorial debuts, especially by actors. I’ve seen several: Keanu Reeves, Ed Harris, Tom Hanks, George Clooney. Not yet got around to Angelina Jolie. They all shared something in common. They were all skilled, but all a little timid. Working with great directors seems to make people a little concerned about reaching too far.
But this one had confidence, and maybe more importantly, showcased Cheadle in the kind of role he’s not especially known for. Miles Davis feels very different from any other role I’ve seen Don Cheadle in, but then again, it’s still a very cocky and aggressive roll. It was a good choice; his acting distracts attention away from his directing. Not that the directing is bad, but it’s a smart move to focus the most important aspect of the film onto something he’s already good at.
It’s a good rock and roll story (or jazz story, or as Miles Davis calls it in the movie: “Social music” story) you learn a bunch and, like Whiplash, it makes you want to play and/or listen to jazz. I can’t really get into Miles Davis the musician, but this movie revealed an interesting side of him, and didn’t sink into music biopic clichés. It was a good time. Fun stuff.
GOOD SHOW, CHEADLE, OLD BOY. BRAVO.