Last night I finally got around to visiting the new Amoeba store at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Argyle (6200 Hollywood Blvd.). My last visit to the previous store (6400 Sunset) was sometime in February 2020, and I guess I wanted to say “hello again” to those old retail vibes. I thought it might get my blood going on some level.
I went straight to the Bluray section, of course, and discovered that their total inventory is but a small fraction of what they used to offer. Worse, DVDs and Blurays are mixed together in the shelves. I was close to tears.
I suddenly felt sorry for the place, and decided on the spur to buy something in order to help out. Then it hit me — the Help! Bluray! I’d seen this 55 year-old film exactly once, and for good reasons. But it’s been decades, I told myself, and it’s never been streamed, and I’d read that the disc reps a nice restoration effort so what the hell. But what a disappointment.
I’d forgotten how boring it is. Not for a single moment is the absurd premise — the inability of Ringo Starr to remove a huge valuable ring from his left-hand ring finger, and the inability of some “funny” Kali-worshipping fanatics to forcibly remove it — the least bit involving, much less amusing. Joke after joke and physical gag after physical gag just lie there. I watched it open-mouthed — “Jeez, this isn’t just weak…it’s partly awful.”
John Lennon‘s snide improvs (particularly some brief banter between he and a high government official played by Patrick Cargill) and the song sequences are the only things that work. Okay, I also like the bit in which a gnome-ish, Chico Marx-like gardener is shown to be living with the lads inside their spacious four-door condo, and who even steps in as a flute player during a performance of “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.”
The Beeyattles were reportedly high during filming, but it doesn’t feel like a stoner movie. Imagine if the marijuana-for-breakfast thing had been deployed in some capacity — that at least would’ve delivered something or other. What a waste. They should have gone with the Joe Orton script.