A lot of movie critics didn’t love the new Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, aside from Rami Malek’s eerily accurate Freddie Mercury – just as many ’70s music critics never warmed to Queen. But it didn’t matter: Bohemian Rhapsody had a huge opening weekend, overcoming a rocky production process that included the studio’s replacement of the director, Bryan Singer, after he reportedly stopped showing up for work. (He said he needed to take care of an elderly parent and that the studio refused to delay production.)
On the new episode of our podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, Brittany Spanos, David Fear and Andy Greene join host Brian Hiatt to discuss the movie — and why even flawed, campy biopics can be essential viewing. To hear the episode, press play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.
The episode explores some of the best and silliest moments of Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as its many factual lapses. We didn’t need to see Brian May painstakingly explaining the stomps and claps of “We Will Rock You,” and the movie’s scenes of decadence are weirdly tame (or not so weirdly, when you consider the PG-13 rating). On the other hand, the recreation of Mercury commanding a stadium crowd at Live Aid is downright moving, even if the portrayal of the band breaking up for two years beforehand is entirely made up.