One of the most influential musicians of all time, master of the funk, James Brown. Get On Up, a movie about Brown, has been one film I have been looking forward to for quite some time, because I love the music. There is not a bit of music today that doesn’t take influence from the great James Brown. And his story is one I looked forward to hearing about and see unfold in theaters. The film follows the life of James Brow from his childhood to his final tour. His ups, his downs, the fame, the hardships.
Get On Up has an ensemble cast that includes, Chadwick Boseman in the lead as James Brown, Nelsen Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Keith Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Jill Scott, Craig Robinson, and Brandon Mychal Smith. Written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, Produced by Mick Jagger, and directed by Tate Taylor.
James Brown, on the most iconic entertainers of all time, has a very intense story. And it is very entertaining to watch it unfold. You see him grow up and become this larger than life character. Maybe to the point that he believes his own hype too much. It is interesting to see everything fall apart around him, yet watch James Brown stand up to it all.
The music is incredible, and they don’t skimp on the hits. You see him perform and play nearly everything you want. I was looking forward to Living in America, which is not in the film. I had hopped some kind of Rocky IV or even Blues Brothers reference, but that’s just me. You see his band come and go. You see him hurt and hide these feelings of being alone. Yet always come thru, because of a love of the music.
Get On Up is filmed a little weird for my take. There is a lot of jumping around from time to time rather than the normal linear story telling. I understand what they were going for, but it didn’t really work for me. It happens more in the beginning, so it wasn’t enough to really bother me. One thing that really did take me out of the film, was randomly, towards the end James Brown begins to break the 4th wall and talk to us the audience, narrating. It really felt out of place, but thankfully it is only for 1 or 2 scenes. Which again, is a little off.
The cast is phenomenal. Everyone fits the bill and plays their parts incredibly. Especially Chadwick Boseman. Boseman becomes this legend. No one can every mimic or replace the amazing voice of James Brown, but Boseman does great job. You almost feel like James Brown is back with us and you are watching him on screen. If the Oscars were being held today, this guy would be a serious contender.
I really enjoyed Get On Up and I think you will too. That’s why I gave the film a Jeebus Score of 4.3, a Good time at the theater.
The Jeebus System explained:
I base films on what I call the Jeebus System, which is a 6 point grade with a possible .5 bonus. With a full 1 point given for entertainment value, story, SFX or cinematography, acting, and casting each, then a half point for direction and dialog each. Titles are given to each score, with “death penalty to all involved” to anything