Less the heroes of our stories than the villains of some other bastard’s

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Christine Kelley

Christine Kelley writes about speculative fiction and radical politics from a queer revolutionary perspective. Currently her main project is Nowhere and Back Again, a psychogeography of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Her first project was the now semi-retired blog Dreams of Orgonon, a song-by-song study of Kate Bush. Support Christine on Patreon.


  1. Sleepyscholar
    February 21, 2019 @ 11:46 am

    Thanks for taking a blunt weapon to the film. I confess, I laughed at Mike Myers’s line about no one headbanging in a car to Bohemian Rhapsody, but in a way that, too, occupies a position somewhere in the midst of that long list of terrible things about the movie: much of it is no more than setup for gags.

    Weirdly, few of these gags are understood by the audiences here in Japan, yet nevertheless the film has been a phenomenon. But then Japan is hardly the most enlightened nation in terms of sexual politics.

    I was surprised by the implication that the critical reaction to the movie has been positive. I had got the impression that it was roundly panned, but that may be because I’m British, and though resident in Japan, tend to favour British media.

    Finally, thanks for the mention of Velvet Goldmine. I had been reminded of it recently, on (re)discovering that Radiohead sub for Roxy Music, but you’ve inspired me to rewatch it.


  2. Sean Dillon
    February 21, 2019 @ 2:17 pm

    So I’m obligated to post this video essay looking at Bohemian Rhapsody as a symptom of a larger problem with the shit quality of Musical Biopics. As I said, or think I said, at the time, this was a fantastic read.

    Oddly enough, a film about queerness, music, and critiques of those who fetishize the monarchy that’s actually good does exist. It’s called Jubilee, and it’s entirely fictional.


    • Aylwin
      February 21, 2019 @ 4:05 pm

      Ah yes, the dystopian time-travel story featuring Liz 1 and a Dalek.


  3. jsd
    February 22, 2019 @ 6:27 am

    I live near The Castro and the Castro theater is showing this film this week. Weird. I was going to see it there but I think I’ll skip it now.

    Velvet Goldmine is fantastic though and I wholeheartedly recommend it.


  4. JG McQuarrie
    February 22, 2019 @ 4:50 pm


    One thing the film did nail absolutely – albeit I suspect entirely unintentionally – is the fact that, when it came to Live Aid, nobody in the band gave a shit about the famine in Africa. They only thing they cared about was the size of the audience, cooing about how great it would be to play to one billion people. And, yes, the film absolutely gets that right. So… one thing in its favour? It’s such a contemptuous piece of work that the only part of Queen’s career it was able to get right was the profound cynicism behind their participation. I’m definitely one of the people who remains fundamentally cynical myself about Live Aid and the motives of those who played – Pictures Of Starving Children Sell Records, and all that – and it’s infinitely sad that this is the only aspect that actually lands successfully. Woeful.


  5. Matt Moore
    February 22, 2019 @ 8:46 pm

    Completely agree that BR is a terrible movie (Maiek’s performance aside). The only saving grace was I saw it at a Sing A Long showing so I could timelessly bellow along to We Will Rock You as a way of venting my frustration with the appalling storytelling.

    I am also glad that someone else thinks Todd Haynes should have directed this. Baz Luhrmann was also up there for me as a good Queen movie requires never less than being over the top. Taika Waititi, Jane Campion, Michael Bay, Wes Anderson also in the mix.


  6. Daru
    February 23, 2019 @ 10:52 am

    Thanks for the warning! It looked at least mediocre from initial trailers I watched, and I never built up any impulse to go watch it. Now I certainly won’t give it the time of day – and would have been amazing having Todd Haynes directing!


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