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Vic's Flix Movie Review: A Star is Born

We used our MoviePass to view “A Star Is Born” this week. We saw the 8pm showing. My wife has been unwilling to go to “late” shows now that we’re retired. So, AvengersDeadpool, and The House with a Clock in its Walls were all viewed during afternoons. But there was something about this film that drew her like a salivating moth to a flame, no matter the time, date or location. Hmmm, what could that be?
I’m fully aware of the reason, and let me say, Bradley Cooper is one good-looking dude. If I’m ever in need of a face transplant and his is available, sign me up.
Honey, put down that pot of boiling water, Brad’s face is not available.
My opinions of this film are decidedly different than my wife’s, or those of all the giggling women in the theater yesterday. One of the first things I noticed was the relatively higher pitch of the twittering laughter throughout the theater when funny moments occurred. I was able to hear them clearly, because I wasn’t laughing. They were scenes to smile at, not laugh out loud.
2018: Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga
And apparently, the producer and director of this film are in awe of Cooper as well. What’s noteworthy is that Brad IS the producer and director. From beginning to end, the screen is filled with Bradley Cooper porn. Not naked, sorry ladies, just camera angles and shots that focus longingly on the actor’s rugged good looks and sparkling blue eyes.
Did I mention that Lady Gaga is in this movie? Heck, it’s being hailed as a breakout acting gig for her, and she doesn’t even wear makeup for the first hour. She is certainly the woman of a thousand faces, and the point Cooper hammered home was that she’s a nice looking girl without all the chemicals and appliances. And man can she sing! Her star was born long ago, so this, like the Barbra Streisand version of the movie was an exercise in reverse engineering.
1937: Fredric March & Janet Gaynor
This is the fourth star that’s been born. Two early versions from 1937 and 1954 featured Janet Gaynor/Fredric March and Judy Garland/James Mason respectively. The 1976 re-imagining with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand is what most of us remember. In fact, unless you were in a coma, if you were alive in 1976 you know the Best Song winner that year – Evergreen. And with talent like Paul Williams, Kenny Loggins and Leon Russell assisting Streisand with the music, its no wonder the soundtrack won awards.
1954: James Mason & Judy Garland
The music in the Cooper/Gaga incarnation is also excellent. It remains to be seen if the songs are award-worthy, but they were memorable and performed well. Cooper deserves credit for singing his own songs in the shadow of Gaga, but she is gracious in her desire to cut her feature film acting chops alongside this vocal newbie. It must’ve been a drag working side by side with him for three years.
It wasn’t until the final credits that I realized that Andrew Dice Clay played Gaga’s father in the film. He turned in a solid performance as a New York Italian dad, and has stated he intends to never act again, like Michael Jordan retiring at the top of his game. Another credit that popped up and quickly faded required some research. Jon Peters. Wasn’t that??? Yep, the same Jon Peters involved with Streisand in the 70s and accused lately of a plethora of sexual assault and harassment charges. Cooper needed his permission to make the film, and the credit was contractually grandfathered into the deal. Otherwise, he had no role. Just an interesting footnote.
Sam Elliott, a perennially cool looking western type character plays Cooper’s brother. Fortunately, he grew back his substantial gray moustache, having revealed in the TV series “Justified” that he has a certifiably weird mouth. His lips go every which way, completely out of synch with his jaw, but not in this film.
For some reason, Lady Gaga needed to take a lot of baths in this movie. Only once did Cooper join her in the tub, and even then it didn’t seem that he shampooed his hair. Yeah, I get it, he’s sporting that rock star shaggy, unshaven, greasy country look, but it needed washing. If I ever get that face, I’m including the hair and washing it, with conditioner.
1976: Kris Kristofferson & Barbra Streisand
So, thinking back to 1976, which I do occasionally, how do you improve on Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand? He’s one of the most completely cool guys of the last half of the twentieth century. A Rhodes Scholar, singer, legendary songwriter (Bobby McGee is the least of it), married to Rita Coolidge, and an actor with a gravelly voice straight out of Heaven’s Gate, he had it all. I guess Bradley Cooper is still building his resume, and doing a good job of it. Streisand and Gaga are both superstars, cut from very different cloth, but Gaga may have the long-term edge in terms of versatility.
So, I liked the movie. It was a little long, and there were a few scenes that bordered on clumsy and unnecessary. Ok, we get it; they have chemistry, now move on.
I did not shed tears at the end, and I’m known to “mist up” at the drop of a hat. But my wife did. Does that make it a chick flick? I think it may fall into the couples category. Yet, it did affect me. When it was over, I felt like staggering home, picking up my guitar, and drinking until I passed out. In a bathtub.

A Star is Born (2018) runs 2 hours, 16 minutes and is rated R.

Should you see this movie?

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