Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Act Naturally

Richard Furnstein: They are going to put who in the movies? Well, you, of course. The you in question is Richard Starkey, or, as his IMDB page indicates, "Ringo Starr." Ringo received big points for his acting turn in A Hard Day's Night (kicking cans, wearing a low slung hat, and generally appearing less stoned than the other Beatles) and turned this appearance into a healthy little side gig. He's appeared in movies that you never want to see like Candy, Caveman, and Magical Mystery Tour, usually playing the sad eyed weirdo with a thick accent. Don't quit your day job, Richard! Or, at least wait until after you release Goodnight Vienna to quit your day job.

Robert Bunter:
It’s true! Ringo, who spent his childhood dreaming of coming to America to be a cowboy, had a country and western heart. He sings this Buck Owens shuffler with genuine gusto, and of course the whole thing is a wonderful tribute to his innate aw-shucks image as the hapless goofball who stumbled onto the world stage with only one real talent: the ability to be himself. His wonderful, charming self. It’s no wonder Ringo made by far the biggest splash when the group stepped off that 1964 Pan Am jet and into the world’s collective heart. It wasn’t just the funny name or the non-threatening androgynous little boy charm that girls could have a crush on without stirring unconscious fears about the bruising realities of adult physical relations (a role that would be subsequently played by the Monkees' appalling Cockney subhuman Tinkertoy automaton Davy Jones). He was the one who was easiest to relate to. He probably looked at the other three with the same sense of awe as the rest of us, but there he is onstage with them! They’re “mates.” “Maybe there is hope for me,” is what everybody said to themselves as they watched this homely lad pound the Ludwigs and smile like a five-year-old with a new wagon.


Richard Furnstein: You are one hundred percent correct and I'm shocked that it's taken us a year and change to truly discuss what makes Ringo inherently great. Sure, he held his sticks wrong and he famously couldn't nail the beat on "Back In The U.S.S.R.," but Ringo is the glue-stuff of life. I wouldn't cross the street in socks to sniff Pete Best and he was certainly a capable drummer. The Beatles needed a lucky charm, and found this stumbling sweetheart of a man to complete their gang. When Ringo sings "they're gonna put me in the movies," he's not talking about movie executives or a Hollywood agent. He's referencing his unique journey, riding on the crest of genius towards stardom. Ringo is but a man, but chemical compounds in The Beatles would become unstable with anything but Ringo. "What would you do if I sang out of tune?" We'd love you with all of our hearts, dear buddy. Thank you for being you.


“Maybe there is hope for me,” is what everybody said to themselves as they watched this homely lad pound the Ludwigs and smile like a five-year-old with a new wagon.

Robert Bunter: Ringo must have been such a fun guy to hang out with. I love to speculate about how funny he must have been during the first-time-smoking-reefer with Dylan experience, or between takes on the set of "Help!" I can imagine him saying a bunch of hilarious stuff, and John, Paul and George becoming breathless with uncontrollable laughter, the way you laugh at a seemingly dimwitted friend who is always saying unintentionally hilarious things and you almost wonder if he even knows why he is so funny but really of course he completely knows, it's all just part of his wonderful personality that he's willing to play the fool. And then later, the party's over, everybody's gone home, you wake up and realize that he washed the dishes and played with your kid for an hour before school. How did he even get up that early? Good old uncle Ritchie, just hanging around the kitchen and whipping up a batch of his delicious beans and toast, exactly the way Julian likes it, while you're upstairs sleeping off the acid hangover and writing the bridge to "I Am The Walrus" in your unconscious mind. You ought to be ashamed of yourself and your selfish behavior, John Lennon.

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