Bird (1988)
August 7, 2023 10:06 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Director Clint Eastwood, a noted jazz aficionado, directs this heartfelt study of pioneering bop saxophonist Charlie Parker (Forest Whitaker). Moving forward and backward through Parker's brief life before his death of a heroin overdose at age 34, the film foregrounds the saxophonist's difficult relationship with his wife, Chan Parker (Diane Venora), but also features lengthy scenes of Parker improvising on stage, lit with the neon and cigarette smoke of vintage jazz clubs.

Also starring Michael Zelniker, Samuel E. Wright, Keith David, Michael McGuire, James Handy, Damon Whitaker, Morgan Nagler, Arlen Dean Snyder, Sam Robards, John Witherspoon, Tony Todd, Anna Levine Thomson, Tony Cox.

Directed & produced by Clint Eastwood. Written by Joel Oliansky.

80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


box was kind enough to support MeFi with a donation. Their request was for six films about musicians, either biopics or doc. That was too easy, so I'm doing six of each. I'll be using the tag #MusicianStories

Donate $25 or more to MeFi and you can MeMail me a request for a themed day of your own. I'll fill up the sidebar on FF with six movies that fit your theme.
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total)
Otherwise known as the movie that made the international film community sit up and ask...

Wait... is Dirty fucking Harry one of our best living directors?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:30 PM on August 7, 2023

I used to really love this movie, but as the years have gone by my feelings have become a lot more conflicted. There are some great moments, and I love Whitaker in this role, but like so many movies about jazz made by white people, this movie is way too much about white people. No offense to Red Rodney, but why the hell is he so central to the story of Bird's life? I mean, it's Red Freakin' Rodney, even most jazz fans probably don't know who he is, but he's practically the main character of the film. Dizzy Gillespie is barely in it, no Miles Davis at all... but we get plenty of Red Rodney. I don't know, it just seems like a really odd, problematic choice, probably made to try to appeal to white audiences (I'm reminded of Don Cheadle having to put in a white character to finally get his Miles Davis biopic made).
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:18 PM on August 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

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