Movie: A Star Is Born (2018)

All the spoilers all the time.  You have been warned!

My Thoughts While Watching:

The music is just splendid. I will open up the soundtrack on Spotify and love them for it.

There is a lot to unpack with this movie.  I watched it with Daughter and Husband.  We discussed how all it takes is a chance meeting and then you are on SNL.  Lady Gaga has such amazing raw talent.  Their song Shallow that is up for an award – I hate the chorus.  Love the rest of the song but the chorus makes me cringe a little. Overall, the music was truly amazing and worth a listen.  That Bradley Cooper sang his own stuff is crazy.

My heart aches for Bradley Cooper’s character, Jack.  I have nerve damage in my left ear.  The noise they would play when listening “through Jack’s ears” is what I listen to all the time, every day all day.  When I am tired or when I lay on my right ear, that noise drowns out the world to me.  The scene where he is trying to talk to his brother Bobby (Sam Elliott) back stage and he cannot hear him – that is my life.

The character of Jack was a raging alcoholic who attempted suicide at the age of “just shy of 13” and was popping pills like tic tacs.  There is the almighty dollar at play but when do labels, handlers or agents step up to take responsibility and put their foot down with a “you are not allowed to work until you are sober”?  There is no way possible that (even in real life) that people who abuse ALL the substances to that extent fly under the radar of those who make money off of them.

The suicide bothered me tremendously.  At that point I had devolved into a hot mess puddle of tears.  If you are sensitive to that issue, then you should think twice before watching.  I believe there should be some sort of disclaimer at the beginning so people can make the choice of whether they want to see a movie that includes a suicide or not.

Categories nominated in: Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Original Song, Actor, Actress and Supporting Actor.

Best Picture – I believe it should have a decent shot.  I don’t think it will win, but it deserves to be in the category.

Original Song – I think the Academy will follow the lead of the Globes and give it to them.  It was not my pick but that does not mean I think the song is bad.  It just was not my favorite.

Actor – I would support Cooper as best actor.  Actress – Gaga is solid, just not my choice.

I WANT SAM ELLIOTT TO WIN SUPPORTING ACTOR.  I know he will not but it would be cool AF to see.

Some Interviews and Extra Video:

IMDB Synopsis: A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Starring:

Lady Gaga Lady Gaga Ally
Bradley Cooper Bradley Cooper Jack
Sam Elliott Sam Elliott Bobby
Andrew Dice Clay Andrew Dice Clay Lorenzo
Rafi Gavron Rafi Gavron Rez Gavron
Anthony Ramos Anthony Ramos Ramon

Director: Bradley Cooper

*******************************************************************

My ranking scores –

0-19 Levels of: Ugh

20-39 Levels of: Meh (aka I cannot reach the remote)

40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?

60-85 Levels of: That was solid.

86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!

I rank this movie a 97.85!

*******************************************************************

Trailer:

Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 80% liking it.  Average Rating: 4.1/5 with a number of User Ratings: 16,754.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 5 October 2018 (USA) / Runtime: 136 minutes / Budget: $36M

IMDB Trivia:

  • Bradley Cooper said that Lady Gaga was the one who convinced him they should sing live. Gaga said she hated watching movies where the actors were not lip-syncing correctly to the songs, and to avoid this and get it right they needed to sing live for the film. This was what caused Cooper to get more extensive vocal training.
  • Gaga had to perform the last song “I’ll Never Love Again” moments after she found out her best friend, Sonja Durham, had passed away. She said in EW’s recent cover story: “My very, very, very dear friend Sonja died of cancer that day. We were supposed to shoot in, like, 30 minutes, and I left the set because her husband called me and I could hear her in the background and I just got in the car and drove. I missed her by 15 minutes and she died. I literally laid with her, with her husband, and their dog, and his son…. When I came back, Bradley was so gentle with me and we got through it. I performed the song. He was like, ‘You don’t have to do it again. It’s okay.’ All I wanted to do was sing. I’ll never forget that day. It was really a special scene, and I’ll always remember that moment.”
  • Some of the scenes were filmed at the Coachella Festival in 2017, where Lady Gaga was the first female headliner in ten years. Festival-goers paid ten dollars to see the scenes being filmed, although recording devices were locked away to prevent any footage being leaked.
  • Like his character Jack, Bradley Cooper dealt with both alcohol and drug addiction. He has spoken publicly about how sobriety saved both his life and career.
  • Majority of the drag queens’ scenes were unscripted and improvised. They originally had little dialogue but seeing that their candid jokes added so much entertainment value, Bradley Cooper decided to extend them and let them play around on their own. Willam Beli, the drag queen that played Crystal, even claimed that none of her original lines made it to the final cut and that all her scenes in the movie were out of improvisation.
  • Bradley Cooper had to undergo a full body spray tan everyday and endure menthol around his eyes to look bloodshot and high. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga remained bare faced with only a lip balm and moisturiser on majority of the filming.
  • During one of Lady Gaga’s concerts at Fenway Park in Boston, microphones were placed around the stadium and fans in attendance were encouraged to chant her character Ally’s name for use in the film.
  • When Ally leaves her work for a gig, she enters a passageway with a brick wall and yellow lighting, while singing Over the Rainbow. This is a tribute to the yellow brick road that Dorothy takes to see the wizard, a character played by Judy Garland, who was the lead actress of the 1954 version of A Star is Born.
  • Ally’s father in the film was imbued with real life aspects of Lady Gaga and her father’s relationship. The scene when Ally talks to her dad about how many times he carried her piano up the stairs and sat with her while she wrote songs reflects the same genuine moments shared between Lady Gaga and her father.
  • Lady Gaga and Judy Garland were the same age when they starred in their versions of the film.
  • Sam Elliott claimed that after he accepted the role of Bobby, Bradley Cooper revealed to him that he had already spent months of work with a dialect coach studying Elliott’s voice as a model for Jackson Maine.
  • The choreographer in the movie is Gaga’s real life choreographer, Richy Jackson.
  • Bradley Cooper intentionally did not include a montage of Ally becoming a successful musician but rather decided to include the SNL performance. He believed that if the audience witnessed Ally performing at SNL, they would understand how famous Ally had become to be invited as a SNL musical guest.
  • The only film of the year to be nominated for both the Best Lead Actor and Lead Actress Oscars. The 1937 and 1954 versions of the film were also nominated in both these categories.
  • The two principle drag queens, Willam Belli and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, both competed in separate seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a show which Lady Gaga once judged. Gaga appeared on the judging panel during the first episode of season 9, Willam competed on season 4 and Shangela on seasons 2, 3 and All Stars 3 respectively.
  • The dog Ally gets for Jackson is Bradley Cooper’s actual dog Charlie.
  • When Jackson Maine is at the rehab facility, he takes up swimming laps as exercise. This is a nod to the fact that in both the 1937 and 1954 versions of A Star Is Born, his character (in those movies named Norman Maine) commits suicide by claiming he is going for a recreational swim in the ocean but really deliberately drowning himself.
  • The last scene between Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott was originally written for Ally and her father. According to Elliott, “It seemed like the right thing, the dad would come to commiserate with the daughter. I’d wrapped on the film, and I got a text from Bradley, ‘I got a great idea. What if…’ And I just texted him back, I said, ‘Fuck. Just let me know when you want me there.'” The change made the scene even more poignant. “That’s why he decided it should have been Bobby. And it’s so right. They had this relationship, and it was a terrible relationship. They loved each other clearly, but it was a terrible relationship. Never resolved. Unrequited.” He added, “That was one of the nicest things that anybody’s ever done for me, to bring me back to do that.”
  • 2 bars of the song: I’ll Never Love Again’s opening piano motif is actually played throughout the film. The first time is when Jackson is lying in bed after performing Shallow and passing out drunk with Ally by his side. The second time, Ally plays the same motif on the piano after finding out about Jackson’s suicide.
  • In the scene where Ally (Lady Gaga) is doing a photoshoot and finds out that she’s nominated for three Grammys the song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Soundsystem can be heard on the background, this may be a reference about how Gaga’s character had to change in order to become famous.

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