Anticipating a new wave of Beatlemania on twitter when Get Back dropped, I watched this in early Nov. I always catch a new Yo La Tengo reference when I watch a Beatles movie – last time was in Help!, dreaming ’bout Eleanor Bron, seeing her in the arms of Paul saying “I can say no more.” This one’s got a cameo by New York DJ Murray the K, who must be the inspiration for Ira’s DJ name.

Three girls and two boys experiencing different levels of Beatlemania in Maplewood NJ drive into the city to crash the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan Show appearance in NYC. No actual Beatle involvement, just stand-ins, glimped from below or behind with impersonator accents. Silly idea for a movie, pulled off wonderfully, an ensemble piece with an ever-growing ensemble, an awful lot of Beatles songs and a woozy happy ending.

L-R: Pam, Janice, Grace, Rosie

Rosie’s the emphatic one who wills the trip into action (Wendie Jo Sperber, Marty’s sister in Back to the Future), Pam is her bestie who plans to elope with her boy tomorrow (Nancy Allen’s followup to Carrie), then there’s Photographer Grace (Pesci’s wife in Raging Bull) and Protester Janice (Susan “daughter of Paul” Newman). Tony is basically a stowaway, out to cause trouble (Bobby Di Cicco of The Big Red One). Larry’s the Cameron-in-Ferris-Bueller of the gang (Marc McClure, aka Jimmy Olsen in Superman), borrowing his undertaker dad’s limo to get them all close to the hotel.

The theater has posters for Wild Strawberries and The Cranes are Flying:

In charge of security on the Beatles floor is Dick Miller – Pam gets by him inside a drink cart and spends quality time with the bands’ instruments while they’re out. Grace and Larry fail to raise cash by selling scraps of Beatle bedsheets, then she tries being a call girl but settles for extortionist instead. Janice and Tony befriend a mophead kid whose dad has tickets but will only give them up if the kid gets a haircut. And Rosie capers with a Beatlemaniac nerd called Ringo (Eddie Deezen of Grease the same year).

Miller grabs Grace:

Having worked in animation for a decade, I still don’t know how they did some of the stuff in this movie. Pretty fantastic. Katy was impressed by Christopher Lloyd’s sinister plot: to buy and shut down the bus company, then destroy Toontown to make room for a freeway, then profit off gas stations and convenience stores. Neither of us understood much of that on initial release, but it’s not important – you just need to realize that Lloyd has an Evil Plan.

A guy named Stubby (also Nicely-Nicely in Guys and Dolls) plays Marvin Acme, benevolent ruler of Toontown who is killed after getting caught playing pattycake with Roger’s wife. Detective Bob Hoskins is off-and-on dating Joanna Cassidy (of Blade Runner). He’s a former toon lover turned into a bitter drunk by the death of his brother (caused by Lloyd, which neatly ties everything together). Also great: Donald vs. Daffy piano duel, Droopy as an elevator man, Baby Herman and the talking cab.