6. "Beginning moved fast and i get why" In response to Reply # 4
It did feel like they were trying to squeeze in her development as much as they could while still getting in as much singing scenes in. As the movie went a long it really fucking killed. Overall this was a really good movie. Loved it.
7. "It's good enough. Bradley Cooper is Boomhauer from King of the Hill." In response to Reply # 0
Cooper does a fine enough job directing, especially with the first half, and it's definitely elevated by the performances, *especially* Gaga and Elliott's. It nails a couple of its "big moments," which is really all it needed to do. It'll clean up with Oscar nominations.
That said, the movie structurally is a sprawling mess. Cooper is going for this "paint a wide picture of their lives" thing, but he's no Robert Altman. It really starts humming at the beginning as Gaga comes up, but it *really* starts to crawl once she starts finding fame. Plenty of sequences are included that could be cut without affecting the movie in the slightest. He also likes doing the thing where you let a scene go on for ten to fifteen seconds longer than maybe it should, which again I'm sure is supposed to feel "immersive," but it also made start to feel restless.
It also has the weird, disconcerting thing that many of these types of movies have, in which the man is a drunk and an asshole and a mess... but he also represents "truth and soul and beauty and purity of art" and this sort of bullshit.
There's this scene early on where Cooper sees Gaga do essentially a drag performance, and he's enamored with her... but then he makes a big deal about removing her makeup and seeing who she "truly is underneath"... but I feel like the makeup and the "performance" is a key part of her artistic expression (it's certainly a key part of drag in general). So I feel like the movie misses the mark on that crucial aspect of music. Along with, y'know, being totally clueless about how social media and YouTube and other modern day things work. This movie could've been set in the 70s and it'd make little to no difference.
Cooper is genuinely just doing an amalgamation of Bridges in Crazy Heart and Sam Elliott Voice here, and while that works more or less in Cooper's early charming drunk scenes, I didn't really buy him as much in some of the other scenes. The more he has to emote while in this character, the more it seemed like an affectation imo. Gaga, however, is truly terrific beginning to end, Elliott is genuinely deserving of the Oscar nomination he'll get, and Cooper does a nice job of bringing in some great, sometimes unexpected, character actor faces to round everything out. The movie's also obviously very well-shot. A few of the songs are blah, but the ones that pop *really* pop, like the Shallow song, and the one Cooper sings about the old ways (which I found out in the credits was written by Jason Isbell, so not much of a surprise that it's great).
It's worth checking out, especially for those who dig big musical moments and for those who like old-fashioned melodramas. This'll get, minimum, 10 Oscar nominations. I left thinking it was a mixed bag, but the bits that work really do and are likely worth it for most anyone intrigued by the trailer.
(Side note: the trailer for this movie is one of the best in recent years.)
15. "It nails a lot of things. It is a mess at others." In response to Reply # 7
Part of it feels like Lonely Island portrayal of Behind The Music - Jackson Mayne & Ally.
I thought the first act was pretty mesmerizing. I don't know that it was great, but it was definitely engaging.
The 2nd act felt very rushed and messy. I did not understand Ally's jump to full on silly Pop/Dance music. Had she blown up in county music or singer/songwriter Elton John stye, i'd have bought it. They alluded to the silliness of it when Cooper confronts her in the bath, but it feels like the artistic jump came out of left field. Also we are under the impression early on that Jackson is a household name huge star a la Toby Keith or something, but he gets drunk and immediately becomes kinda washed up. Random. And also, they keep alluding to his hearing loss early on, and the audience keeps waiting for the seemingly inevitable "amp is set to 11 and blows out his ear drum when he strums, accidentally" scene, WHICH WOULD HAVE set up his career faltering, BUT the scene never comes!
I kept thinking throughout the whole film "wow they must have show a 6 episode miniseries and cut it down two 2+ hours". So much more would have made sense if this had been an HBO limited series. They could have explored so much. And i'd bet my house that they filmed it that way. But so much seems cut out. Like Chappelles backstory. Maybe I missed something, but that shit came out of left field. I don't need half an hour of Jackson/Chappelle backstory, but even the slightest "im gonna visit my old friend, like a brother to me, while im in Memphis" and then it makes sense when he wakes up passed out in his driveway. Not a huge gripe, but just sloppy and rushed.
And then the final act. It didn't work. The "i tried to hang myself from my ceiling fan" was so heavy handed and random. and then what feels like 10 minutes later it happens. Just didn't feel earned. Too rushed, like everything else. AND OMG was cooper trolling us throughout the movie with the comic relief of people being scene out of frame after a 10 minute scene? Early in the parking lot grocery scene they're singing for like 10 minutes before revealing Greg Grunberg eating cheetos. Okay. Some laughs. But then later when Cooper is in Rehab talking to Gaga, they have this huge emotional scene and then the camera pans out and you see another patient, one single patient, just like painting on a lay-z-boy 5 feet away from them...
What they nailed: 1. The concert scenes. Felt very real. Very big. Very authentic. 2. The singing. Again, felt authentic. 3. The SNL scene 4. The camerawork. the movie looked great. 5. Supporting cast. Everyone was pretty good.
What they failed at: 1. Pacing 2. The script was very corny at times. Uneven though, as some of it worked. 3. Ending. Felt rushed. Felt unearned. 4. Ally's career. Where were her fans? We're supposed to believe she becomes a smash hit. But her songs SUCK and the film admits it. And her look is silly. I just didn't buy it. Which is funny, cause I seriously bought her and Jacksons performance scenes...Country fans would have turned their back on Ally.
Last thing Ill say: Gaga. I think she was miscast. Not because she was bad. I think she really went for it. But, I think her real life fame took me out of it. She doesn't have Coopers skill, or beard. So I kept seeing "Oh, Lady Gaga is running lines with Jackson". She's just too....Gaga. I think she really committed and her singing talent really makes you believe that Ally could be a star. I think this role is almost impossible to cast unless its a true "unknown", maybe someone from the theatre world that can REALLY ACT. No shade to Gaga, she committed. She really did. But she's Lady Gaga. You can't shed that.
10. "RE: did anyone thing that grammy set etc was cheesy tv show looking?" In response to Reply # 8
i just watched the '50s and '70s versions of this recently, and the grammy and oscar sets look cheesy. i haven't watched this version yet, but it would be keeping in tradition. this story seems to recognize the artifice of these stupid award shows.