Get On Up: The James Brown Story

Get On Up | Rating: 11/11 |

“It doesn’t matter how you travel it, it’s the same road. It doesn’t get any easier when you get bigger, it gets harder. And it will kill you if you let it.” – James Brown

James Brown was way ahead of his time, he invented the terms of his game much like B.B. King had to for the blues market. Even more impressive: there isn’t a musician out there that wasn’t touched, moved, influenced or directly inspired by James Brown; hell, some of them might not even directly know they were. It was only a matter a time before this fascinating tale was brought to Hollywood to retell and, well, Get On Up is the best music biopic of 2014, maybe even of the decade.

But, how could it not be, when you make James Brown super fan Mick Jagger an executive producer also in charge of the music? The close attention to detail from mannerisms and dance moves to wardrobe on down was highly appreciated. Director Tate Taylor (The Help) did not disappoint. Chadwick Boseman as James Brown was phenomenal, you’ll honestly forgot it isn’t actually the Godfather of Soul himself several times throughout the film (well, until Dan Aykroyd appears on-screen). The storyline was kept classy when approaching topics like disputes, drugs and death while still highlighting James’ very human side, which was found to be both uplifting and insightful. Who knew how business savvy a man of his upbringing could be, to just “get it” instinctively and be willing to fight the system at every turn – and he did!

Also – the nod to what would become Little Richard (played by Brandon Smith) and how their friendship served an important role in James’ outlook (as far as his pending career was concerned) was highly enjoyable, although far too short. Could we see a Little Richard biopic spin-off in the near future?

So, do yourself a favor, if there’s one film you see the rest of this year – make it this one. You’ll laugh, you’ll sing-a-long, you’ll want to get up & dance and you’ll leave wanting to listen to James Brown, so come to the theater prepared with a James Brown album (it can be a greatest hits compilation) pre-loaded in your car stereo. Get On Up could easily be the next Ray.