Alan McGee Biopic 'Creation Stories' Is a Classic Story of Sex, Drugs and Oasis Directed by Nick Moran
Starring Ewen Bremner, Leo Flanagan, Richard Jobson, Rori Hawthorn
Published Jul 19, 2021"I had two obsessions back then: music and money."
So explains our protagonist in the opening minutes of this biopic film — and spoken like a man destined to run a record label. Creation Stories is about Britpop mogul Alan McGee, and we begin with the young lad selling newspapers on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland. The accents are thick and the hair is extremely British. The music-obsessed teen is at odds with his family's expectations, and he yearns to leave home to be a part of the magic that emanates from his stereo. Many of us can relate — for music nerds especially, this movie delivers a lot of great lore and will you keep you chuckling throughout, as we get to take part in McGee's early musical journey going from loving Bowie and Thin Lizzy to Sex Pistols and the Damned. The soundtrack is aces, and it's punk rock that finally compels him to move to London and dive into the music scene, founding his scrappy underground record label, Creation Records.
"We were being magicians with Creation Records. Like accidental alchemists."
McGee (played by Ewen Bremner) falls ass-backwards into starting the label and lucks out with early signings Primal Scream and the Jesus and Mary Chain. To McGee's credit, it wasn't all dumb luck, and he did sprinkle some magic dust on a few bands. The film hints that he would stage riots at concerts as a PR stunt. Truth is, there were many missteps, mistakes and flops along the way for Creation Records, but who wants to watch that movie?!
"We were living the rock 'n' roll more than the bands were!"
This is not a G-Rated affair and there's drug use that seems requisite with any music biopic. While it is directed by Nick Moran, this film seems to have executive producer Danny Boyle's fingerprints all over it. Among the Trainspotting-inspired drug montages, my personal favourite is when McGee is so high and delusional that he is having a very believable conversation with Aleister Crowley. What makes Creation Stories really work is Bremner's authentic performance as McGee. If you've ever been around the music biz, you'll recognize Bremner/McGee as "that guy" backstage at a rock concert. And then that guy discovers Oasis…
"It was the right place, right time. Synchronicity."
Finding and developing Oasis was the peak of McGee's career, but he plays it pretty cool and doesn't take much of the credit. It's also the peak of his darkness and depravity. Mind you, this film is set in the '80s and '90s, when decadence was the order of the day. And maybe not unjustified, because, as McGee points out later in the movie, the UK boasted more music profits than automobile exports during the days of the CD sales boom.
"We had no choice but to take Sony's money. It was time to stop fucking about and grow up."
Of course he sells out. But McGee is a born rebel and comes clean to confess that the corporate structure and their omnipresent demand for profits ultimately ruins all forms of art. This ain't Disney and there isn't a happy ending, but in the closing minutes, McGee touches upon how 9/11 brought about the final commodification of underground culture and how new tastemakers like Simon Cowell ushered in an age of the manufactured hipster. An interesting parting shot for us to contemplate. At this point McGee's label has run its course and his partying days are behind him, so his final career move is obvious…
"They say politics is rock'n'roll for the ugly."
Again, Creation Stories is a movie geared towards Brit Rock buffs and music insiders, but Alan McGee is a likeable underdog and everyone enjoys a story of ego, drugs, money, hubris and triumph. Fun for the whole family! (levelFILM)