This movie, NBC tells me, is based on the true story of a boy who dared to dream. I can't believe they made a movie about Gary Coleman! Although, hang on, this is about some bloke called John Lennon from Britain. Huh. They show Lennon playing music in Liverpool's The Cavern Club in 1962, rocking out with his band, strumming guitars, crooning and egging on the screaming women, and sweating. I hate when they give away the ending.
Cut to the Hard Rock Café in London. The year is 1999. An auctioneer puts John Lennon's first guitar on the block, "the very guitar he was playing the first time he met Paul McCartney." Again with giving up the plot! Sheesh The guitar sells for £140,000, which she equates to $225,000 USD. The camera zooms in on the guitar, tilting so that we see it at a skewed angle. The color fades...
...into black-and-white, and the guitar is suddenly just a picture in a newspaper advertisement. Lennon is starting at it, his face scrunched up behind thick, dorky glasses. This Lennon is blond and heavyset. An older woman yells that he'll be late for school. "Mimi, look at this," John expositions. She's his aunt, Mimi Smith. She's played by actress Blair Brown of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. Blair has the distinction of being the only faux-Brit in the entire flick. But when you've been Molly Dodd...well, you've got the world at your feet. Or at least at elbow-level. Mimi is deeply harried and unimpressed with John's guitar fascination. "If you think I'm spending six pounds on a silly toy..." Mimi scolds. John insists he'd be good at the guitar, but Mimi rolls her eyes. Foreshadowing drops down my chimney and starts writing, "GET IT?" on my wall in soot.
In the schoolyard, Lennon and pals are singing and bashing on tin garbage-can lids. Lennon plays the harmonica. They're having the Best Time Ever. It's wacky tomfoolery. "Sesame Street is a production of the Children's Television Workshop," Big Bird says. Lennon grins and cheers, then jokes about collecting spare change from the happy audience. This is the actual school Lennon attended -- pay attention, because NBC's "unprecedented access" ends in one minute, and will then go the way of such gimmicks as Jesse Camp, or live episodes of ER. John then brags that Mimi will buy him a guitar. He gets into a wicked spat with his friend Quinn, who informs us John lives with Mimi because he has no father and his mother's shacked up with another man. The chemistry teacher breaks up the brawl and sends them both to the headmaster.