Let’s not spend the next 100 hours dissecting every important and negligible detail in the life of Miles Davis. However, there are numerous moments of public record that serve as significant milestones during the life and times of the great jazz man.
No doubt many of those moments will make their way into the film version of Miles Davis’ life. Some will end up on the cutting room floor (and possibly onto the DVD), while others won’t even be considered for the big screen.
Unlike a book where the author can spend page after page constructing a beautiful narrative with faultless detail, this is about the movies — and the mantra is show, don’t tell.
So there’s only so much depth you can attempt from one scene to the next; we cannot have the audience checking their cell phones and not paying attention.
Would I like to see a 4-hour movie? Yes. But I also want people to see the movie, and getting anyone to the theater for $11, or $12 bucks a ticket these days is tough enough – so you go with the blueprint and try to make it a special experience. And though it looks as if Don Cheadle’s ‘vision’ for the Miles Davis Biopic is to not make it a history lesson, rather a ‘deconstructed biopic,’ the important parts of Davis’ life still must be recognized in the movie – regardless of how the story is shaped and filmed.
So, scenes: In no particular order…..
Miles Davis kicks drugs
The incident outside the Birdland nightclub in New York City, Davis is beaten up by the police and arrested
The Kind of Blue sessions
July 1955, Davis plays with Thelonius Monk on “‘Round Midnight” at the Newport Jazz Festival
Anything with Betty Mabry
The Bitches Brew sessions
Working with Gil Evans
I’m sure I will think of 10 more an hour from now, but at least that gets the conversation started.
Miles Davis lived such a fascinating life it’s difficult to assemble all the finest and most poignant parts to fit into the structure of a film; of course those who knew him intimately will have a much wider scope of memories than those of us who know him only through books, magazines, TV shows, the ‘net and most importantly – his music.
Yet even from afar there is so much to know about the life and music of Miles Davis. The biopic should no doubt help frame, even in a 2-hour running time, a Best Of, if you will, of Miles’ life.
And who knows, we might be surprised at what ultimately gets into the film and might even learn a new thing or two about the jazz legend along the way.