4. A Star is Born
Yep. I’m riding the Bradley Cooper express for sure. This is more of a personal thing, but one of the reasons I love “A Star is Born” so much, is the fact that I shouldn’t like it at all. Allow me to elaborate. When the trailer for this movie dropped earlier this year, I rolled my eyes so hard I was sure they would fall out of my head. “Oh well that’s winning best picture for sure” I said with a massive amount of annoyance in my voice. It looked like such an obvious weepy Oscar grab. On top of all that I’ve never been a big Cooper fan. I don’t dislike the guy, but he’s just never done much for me. I really don’t care about Lady Gaga either. It’s also worth noting that I am a huge music lover. I’ve been playing music for most of my life and I’m very passionate about it, but pop music and soft rock (Keith Urban Butt Rock is what I refer to it as) are so far off my radar. Taking all of those elements and putting them into a movie should’ve been an easy miss for me. Fast Forward to early November and I’m sitting in a theater surrounded by middle aged white women. Five minutes into this movie I’ve got a big smirk on my face and the moment Lady Gaga lies down on the bar while singing and turns her head to look directly into the camera the only thing I could think was “Fuck… I’m in love with this movie”.
Another actor making his directorial debut this year, Cooper instantly proves that he has as much to offer behind the camera as he does in front of it. “A Star is Born” is choc full of brilliant directing decisions. Cooper is clearly a guy who understands how important it is to take his time. He’s such a patient director, letting all the right moments linger just long enough to be important. I was really impressed with how artistic and technically proficient this guy is.
Obviously, there’s a LOT to talk about with this beautiful romance. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are such a dynamite duo. At this point in his career, Cooper knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a professional and it shows as he deftly handles this tragic character, Jackson Maine. Cooper is very reserved and quiet in this movie. His pain is clear, but never overstated. Lady Gaga is also very good here. A lot of people are quick to point out that she’s just playing a fictional version of herself, which is true, but doesn’t make her performance any less impressive. You can see how comfortable she is in this role. In fact, it’s clear that everyone is comfortable in this movie. There’s a real feeling of complete confidence in every performance and scene which just goes to show how good of a job Cooper did in making this movie.
I’ve got to go on a music tirade for a moment so bear with me. I mentioned earlier that the two types of music on display in this movie, Pop and Soft Rock, are not things I would ever listen to. But the music in this movie is spectacular. From the opening song “Black Eyes” to the unstoppable force that is “Shallow”, every song offers something powerful and important to the movie. Casting Gaga was a very smart decision. Every live performance (which were not dubbed over. It’s all live audio) is breathtaking as Lady Gaga takes complete control and dominates the scene. This is what she does professionally so obviously she’s good at it, but with Cooper being thrown into the mix they created something very special with this soundtrack and all the performances.
“A Star is Born” is a bit of a Hollywood tradition. This is the fourth time this movie has been made since 1937. I actually think it’s kinda cool. Let’s keep making new versions of this story every twenty or thirty years. I haven’t seen any of the original ones and I can’t imagine connecting to them the way I did to Cooper’s version. But in that respect, in thirty years are young adults really going to connect with this version? Probably not. It feels special and current and I’d love for every generation to have their own “A Star is Born”.
So here I am, writing about all my favorite movies of 2018. Looking back on when I was annoyed at the prospect of “A Star is Born” and all I can say now is something I said when I first saw the trailer for this lovely movie, only this time in a completely different tone… “Oh well that’s winning best picture for sure”. And I really hope it does.