Like a black velvet reproduction of Guernica, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the movie, takes one of the landmark works of art of the twentieth century and renders it shallow, pointless and silly. Included in its list of crimes: entrusting the Beatles’ most innovative work to the likes of the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, Steve Martin and Alice Cooper, among an almost infinite roster of incomprehensible casting choices; and placing the whole mess in the hands of a director who was clearly incapable of telling a coherent story (the magical musical instruments need to be stolen because why? And how exactly does that lead to the charming town of Heartland, U.S.A. being turned into Pottersville?), but never met a cheapjack, circa seventies special effects trope he didn’t love.
Does that mean the film should be avoided like the plague? Aw, hell, no — here is a musical (rock opera, actually) so wrongheaded in all its aspects that it manages to work its way around to inventing its own brand of awesomeness — terrible awesomeness, to be sure, but awesomeness nevertheless. All of which makes it perfect for worship upon the altar of the Temple of Bad. Come join Andrea Lipinski, Keven Lauderdale, and Dan Persons as they delve into this singular time capsule of seventies pop culture, style, and, most of all, hair, and have a few larfs at its expense.