A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

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mfunk9786
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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#76 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:23 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:07 pm
From reading her further comments, whatever her initial tweet means was probably said tongue-in-cheek. But it can't possibly surprise many here that a musician would hear the songs in the trailer and immediately start rolling their eyes?
I don't have a ton of patience for someone so pedantic that they wouldn't forgive a film about one (or two, not sure the exact plot of this one) very commercial musicians having some hackneyed songs in it. I like Case's music a bunch, but does the pop-country music that Cooper's character is playing for stadiums have to be to her exacting level of intimacy and/or quality? Would that even be realistic?

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#77 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:25 pm

I think you are taking this way, way too seriously

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#78 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:41 pm

Just explaining why it might possibly surprise many here. I don't particularly have a dog in this fight, I love Case's work and think this movie looks like shit.

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tenia
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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#79 Post by tenia » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:06 pm

What I don't understand is why this specific movie should be singled out for having an actor doing (I suppose) sub-par singing but still having good reviews, while this is neither the first nor the last musical movie to be in this position.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#80 Post by Brian C » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:13 pm

Well, if she was just kidding around though, then she wasn’t singling out anything.

Or again, if she wasn’t joking, then ... maybe she just doesn’t like Bradley Cooper.

Either way, probably not worth fretting over, eh?

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#81 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:01 pm

tenia wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:06 pm
What I don't understand is why this specific movie should be singled out for having an actor doing (I suppose) sub-par singing but still having good reviews, while this is neither the first nor the last musical movie to be in this position.
We know.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#82 Post by domino harvey » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:06 pm


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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#83 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:40 pm

Film Comment:
Michael Koresky wrote:First directed in 1937 by William Wellman and starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, A Star Is Born would, in its later remakes, increasingly become tied to the star personas of its leading women, in a way that almost negates common notions of auteurism...Cooper’s version certainly puts its star front and center, and isn’t shy about the fact that its female protagonist, Ally, is modeled on Lady Gaga herself; yet Cooper’s need to own this film, to make his directorial control felt in every frame, is just as evident throughout and becomes its own assertion of stardom as well. The result is a sometimes exhilarating, occasionally frustrating, and always cunning Hollywood product that can feel like a battle of wills between two deliberately self-deprecating artists.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#84 Post by Foam » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:15 am

Well, I thought this was very solid. Saw it Thursday and immediately again today with my mom and liked it more the second time, which must count for something. I was first happy to see two imo shitty moments in the ads redeemed as altogether different and charming in the film itself. Bradley Cooper is an actor's director after my own heart. This is one of the most achingly well-paced mainstream dramas in years and stylistically his work here is either swaggeringly bombastic or restrained with a nuzzly intimacy appropriate to whatever the moment demands. Initially I agreed with those who thought that the first 40 minutes were much better than the rest of the film, but tonight I disagreed and appreciated many fine touches I hadn't noticed before and can say for sure that there's enough attention to detail in how these performances are choreographed that the whole picture rewards close viewing. If nothing else this films surpasses anything I've ever seen in the department of "person looking at someone they love"--chemistry would be putting it mildly. I also disagree with social media's overemphasis on "Shallow" to the exclusion of the other songs here; my favorite was "Always Remember Us This Way" and it's really this scene which showcases Lady Gaga's raw talent as a performer more than any other. I could find zero problems with her performance--I was once a fanboy and now I am again; ymmv. I predict this will work better if you identify as having a more affective than intellectual temperament but what do you expect? It's not an out and out masterpiece but also something I wouldn't mind seeing even a third time.


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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#86 Post by Murdoch » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:12 am

I agree with Foam, this was excellent, elevating the material through some of the best performances I've seen this year. Cooper has never appealed to me but him doing his best Jeff Bridges impression worked, largely because of his chemistry with the other actors. Gaga is very natural in the role, and I think that stems largely because she's essentially playing herself, but she did a great job keeping up with Cooper even during the improv scenes. But by far the standout was Sam Elliott, who doesn't get much screen-time but does a lot with it. One scene in particular between Cooper and him where Cooper struggles to express himself after Elliott gives him a ride home was so simple, but made me tear up since it just illustrates perfectly the difficulty of expressing something positive toward a family member you only fight with. When I think of perfect moments in films of this year, that scene will pop right into my head. There are some parts that feel rushed, like the dinner at Chappelle's house and the ending, but this isn't really a movie to see for the story since just about everyone knows it by now (at least on this board). I also rather liked how when Gaga's career began to skyrocket and both her look and sound changed, the film didn't take this chance to take much of a dig at modern pop music, but rather presented it as Cooper being over-the-hill and just personally uncomfortable with the changes (I especially appreciated it after seeing La La Land again recently, which presented the same kind of transformation as an inherently unartistic symptom of selling out). It just feels like a breath of fresh air to see a box office hit film entirely centered on performance and *deep breath* I look forward to what Cooper does next as a director. I think this worked so well because there's a tried-and-true story he's working from, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for his next directing gig.
Last edited by Murdoch on Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#87 Post by Roger Ryan » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:13 pm

I was impressed as well with this iteration. Cooper is careful not to overplay the cuteness and, while some of the plot turns seem unrealistic (how in the world does Maine come up with a full arrangement for his band to perform of Ally's sketch of a song in only a few hours?), the world he has created feels fairly authentic and sincere. The well-worn story is primarily presented in brief fragments, but Cooper isn't afraid to slow things down to a near stop for the longer conversational scenes. This is where it really paid off in hiring such top shelf supporting talent. As mentioned above, Elliott is stunning and Chappelle's lone scene is a gem. For me, the highlight is the exchange late in the film between Cooper's character and one played by Ron Rifkin; a scene that carries a heavy import, but is played with remarkable restraint.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#88 Post by Brian C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:39 pm

This article felt like a lot of wheel-spinning to me, because the author conflates "honesty" with "authenticity", which is a word that, unless I'm mistaken, isn't even used in the film. It's really easy to make the superficial connection between Lady Gaga's real-life career and Ally's, but I don't think that's what the film is really doing.

Within the context of the film, "honesty" seems pretty easy to define: just believe in what you're doing and what you're saying, and don't let others create your art for you. And to the film's credit, the extent to how much Ally adheres to this concept is ambiguous. We see her dismiss her backup dancers and that seems like her asserting herself, but the next time she's performing, the dancers are there and her objections are not heard from again. We see her rehearsing later and she seems comfortable, as far as we can tell. We're told that the hair color was her choice. But then at the end of the film, she's back to (presumably) her natural color.

It's important, I think, that Jack tells her early on - in the most glowing of terms - that she's a "songwriter". He brings her out on stage to perform, but it's not one of his songs, but one of hers that plainly means a lot to him. And if Ally, in turn, defines herself as primarily a songwriter, then I think it's fair to presume that her priorities would be different than if he was principally a performer. As a songwriter, she probably would have less of an artistic objection to pop trappings and the attendant artifice. And after all, Jack meets her performing in a drag club, which is an environment where that kind of excess in celebrated anyway. Also notable is that Jack never complains to her about the dancing or the outfits or the hair. When he finally breaks down and shittalks her music, he's upset with the line about how that ass looks in those jeans. This is a songwriting-based critique, as well.

On the other hand, I have no idea what "authenticity" means in this context, especially since Pareles seems to be equating a pop direction with inauthenticity. Jack performs one kind of music, but there's no reason to believe that Ally would naturally gravitate to performing the same kind of music he does. She plainly knows who Jack is before they meet, at least enough to recognize him, but again, Jack first meets her performing music that's nothing like his. I don't think the movie is insisting that going her own way - even into a very pop-oriented one - is "inauthentic", at least not for her.

At any rate, I think one of the real weaknesses of the film is that so much of her career is seen through Jack's eyes. To be blunt, nothing is all that interesting about him - he's an established star, not really young anymore but still obviously a live draw, he has a drinking problem ... and that's really about it. It's Ally who has to navigate the business, yet Cooper as director never really commits to telling her story except for how it intersects with Jack's. I haven't seen the other films that preceded this remake, but it's a poor storytelling choice.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#89 Post by Foam » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:46 pm

Just got back from my third viewing tonight. That I like it more and more each time really says something about it. Part of what I appreciate is how it deals with these questions of authenticity.
Murdoch wrote: I also rather liked how when Gaga's career began to skyrocket and both her look and sound changed, the film didn't take this chance to take much of a dig at modern pop music, but rather presented it as Cooper being over-the-hill and just personally uncomfortable with the changes
I'm not so sure the film limits this strictly to Main's perspective, though. After all, one of the lines in Ally's SNL song is "this is not like me" and she even tells her manager she's afraid of losing touch with the part of herself that is talented. Then she says "that doesn't even look like me" in response to seeing a slideshow of her publicity photos, and Maine says that her big billboard doesn't "do her justice." And there's the makeup controversy, with many saying Gaga looks best in the film, surprisingly so, when she's wearing less; during the film's preproduction Cooper took a makeup wipe to Gaga's face, having to reassure her that she was indeed beautiful in the raw. Much ink has already been spilled pointing out how problematic this might be taken out of context, but the film I think is aware of the potentially reductive reading. After all, her first performance in the drag club is characterized by high artifice while also being totally authentic for her character, which arguably isn't true of one of her hit songs later. And the drag queens, most themselves when embracing supposed artifice, are not treated as inauthentic in any way; quite the opposite. So there's at the very least a productive ambiguity being entertained here.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#90 Post by Murdoch » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:37 pm

That's true that Ally voices a few concerns but Jack's perspective nudges out Ally's at the third act, and while she seems to adopt her changed physical appearance and altered sound, Jack never comes around to it. It's unfortunate that Ally isn't given more focus at this point since her story, as Brian said above, is the much more interesting of the two. I would have much preferred to see her perspective take center stage as she reconciled her love of music with an industry trying to funnel her into a specific physical type but once she takes off she becomes a supporting player to Jack's substance abuse story.
Last edited by Murdoch on Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#91 Post by Luke M » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:55 am

Thought this was pretty terrible. Scenes ranged from cheesy to emotionally manipulative. Nothing about it felt authentic. The songs were decent but nothing I’d listen to outside seeing the movie. Also, I’ve never seen any of the other films but about that ending.
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I really wasn’t expecting it. Would any of us suggest Bill kill himself for embarrassing Hillary or Jay-Z for Beyoncé? The movie suggests it was the only option for Lady Gaga’s career to move forward. The manager is never reprimanded for his comments. Worse the final shot is framed in such a way that Gaga has achieved peak stardom. It’s all quite terrible. Maybe this was fine back in the day but it’s 2018. I thought we were supposed to be woke.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#92 Post by dda1996a » Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:36 am

Please never write " I thought we were supposed to be woke", thank you. And what does it have anything to do with the ending?
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He embarrassed her, and its obvious the manager thinks he is a bad influence on her. Yes, he is overtly mean, but the manager was never presented as a kind and caring person. And it made sense considering Cooper's monologue about eliminating his own map about ten minutes before. And yes, in the 54 version (so I assume also in the two other versions) the main lead also kills himself.
I actually went to this tabula rasa, having not seen any of the other versions, but having just seen the terrific 54 version, it helped me better understand what wasn't working with this new version.
First of all, having the movie scene as a background makes everything a bit more coherent in its criticism of fame and the business, as it's much easier to show the downfall and rise of actors as compared to musicians.
But that is also one of my problems with Cooper's version. I was surprised to read I wasn't the only one who thought the first 40 minutes were the best part of this film. Gaga's first performance with Cooper in front of an audience gave me the chills, as Cooper makes us feel the pressure and nerves of performing for the first time in front of a large audience.
The problem is that afterwards, he completely whiffs everything. Cooper's downfall isn't really shown. He goes from performing in front of thousands, to suddenly being replaced in a Roy Orbison benefit concert. This doesn't really work, and Gaga's ascent also isn't really given much room to breath. Compare this with the 54 version which shows this so well, but also shows how Mason's downfall is very much tied to his alcoholism and lack of professionalism.
My other main issue is that the relationship never really gets developed. They become stand ins to ideals, with Gaga's real life character substituting for most of the counterpart's personality.
I started getting impatient at the hour and 20 or so mark (I'm estimating) because the film feels stuck in second gear.

The main positives I have are the songs are pretty good, it was nice seeing Gaga without all her bullshit and discover she is one hell of a singer, those first 40 minutes were pretty good. Also the meta commentary, both on Gaga herself and the "Pop" music vs. "Rock" was nice to see treated in this day and age. I am interested in reading about how Gaga felt about the movie, as it clearly sort of criticizes her career as vacuous and not personal.
But as I said, I didn't really like it before, and I like it even less now having seen the 54 version.
Why are so many people raving about this? I wouldn't even nominate this for BP, let alone win.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#93 Post by Roscoe » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:20 am

Agreed -- Norman Maine in the Cukor version is washed up, wrung out and down the fucking drain, he's been too much of a dick for too long and too many people are only too glad to kick him on his way down, he's got nothing to look forward to but a life as a millstone around Vicki Lester's neck, suffering an eternal cycle of disappointing her and enduring her teary-eyed patience.
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These days comebacks are a dime a dozen, there seem to be way too many people in Jackson's corner, and the suicide seemed more like a plot contrivance than anything else.
Thanks for adding the spoiler tags, I'd forgotten how to do it.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#94 Post by Fiery Angel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:47 am

Foam wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:46 pm
Just got back from my third viewing tonight.
:shock:

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#95 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:11 am

Does anyone have any good crow recipes? I think I'd prefer something like a pie for my first time out before I get into anything more dense and gamey.

I kept thinking of the line from Inside Llewyn Davis, "When you're in the entertainment business, you're not supposed to let your practice shit out. It ruins the mystique." during this film. Not only because of Cooper's depiction of Lady Gaga doing a "who, me?" before busting out a full arrangement of a song that we just saw in a barely written state, but because of the fact that he took such a big swing with this film and knocked it out of the park against a whole lot of odds. This is a great movie. It works exceedingly well and Cooper is obviously completely aware of what a significant stewardship he has been handed, because this iteration makes A Star Is Born feel like an essential franchise to reboot rather than an eyerolling redundancy.

For all of the bellyaching about "Doesn't Hollywood have any original ideas anymore?!," this film feels incredibly modern and present in today's reality, and while it doesn't quite have as much to say as Gina Prince-Bythewood's excellent Beyond the Lights, there are few false notes that betray a lack of awareness of exactly how this story would play out in 2018. That is no small feat, especially for a first time director who is carrying as much water as Cooper is on this film. His performance is immersive and authentic, taking on a voice and a distant, country fried, Cobain-adjacent persona that feels completely diegetic, and one that is heartbreaking to see put through its paces of this tale as old as time. He is very much the standout performer in the film, even if he had nothing else to do with its production.

Gaga is very very good, but perhaps in over her head in some of the bigger moments (no huge Garland monologue here for her), but her ability to be an A++ performer, humble charms, and realistically modest good looks are enough positives in her column to make up for the lack of show-stopping line readings. There is a warmth to the supporting performances, too, that builds the entire enterprise into a warm, roaring fire that really packs an emotional impact by the end, and that Cooper handled with true maturity that some beloved veteran directors wouldn't have exhibited.

It's not a perfect film, but I think just about anyone here who hasn't seen this yet and expects it to be a trainwreck is going to be pleasantly surprised by what a vital and impactful piece of work it is, never pulling the camera too far away from the human components of this story (and sometimes keeping it uncomfortably close). It could just be beginner's luck, but maybe Cooper is onto something with this thing.

I guess I'm going to have to abandon my long-held frustration with showbiz films getting so much Oscar attention (to be fair, only because many of those were not very good) - it'll be hard not to root for this one. It's exactly the sort of film that should win a bunch of them, an intersection of craftsmanship and what the mainstream is starving for (and actually wants to consume).

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#96 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:05 pm

Luke M wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:55 am
Thought this was pretty terrible. Scenes ranged from cheesy to emotionally manipulative. Nothing about it felt authentic. The songs were decent but nothing I’d listen to outside seeing the movie. Also, I’ve never seen any of the other films but about that ending.
SpoilerShow
I really wasn’t expecting it. Would any of us suggest Bill kill himself for embarrassing Hillary or Jay-Z for Beyoncé? The movie suggests it was the only option for Lady Gaga’s career to move forward. The manager is never reprimanded for his comments. Worse the final shot is framed in such a way that Gaga has achieved peak stardom. It’s all quite terrible. Maybe this was fine back in the day but it’s 2018. I thought we were supposed to be woke.
I really can't even figure out what you're trying to say here regarding what you have in spoilertags.
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In no way was the suicide the "only option" for Ally's career to move forward - one of the messages of the film to me is that any degree of stardom is both fleeing and pales in comparison to a healthy interpersonal life and a healthy mind - Ally opts to stay home from her tour because she's genuinely in love, not because she had to. Her manager's words were incredibly harsh, but something he will have to live with, as no one else was present for that conversation. And the final shot is communicating the fact that Ally would not prefer this outcome, nor should any audience member. As for "peak stardom" - is she really more famous at the end of the film than she was winning awards and performing on SNL? Does it matter?

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#97 Post by GTO » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:30 pm

Fiery Angel wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:47 am
Foam wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:46 pm
Just got back from my third viewing tonight.
:shock:
I may or may not be going to see it for the 4th time this weekend. On the one hand, I feel incredibly silly going to see a movie for the 4th time in such a short span. But OTOH, I do not want to have to wait for the blu to see it again. It's been a very long time since a move has had this effect on me.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#98 Post by Luke M » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:25 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Luke M wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:55 am
Thought this was pretty terrible. Scenes ranged from cheesy to emotionally manipulative. Nothing about it felt authentic. The songs were decent but nothing I’d listen to outside seeing the movie. Also, I’ve never seen any of the other films but about that ending.
SpoilerShow
I really wasn’t expecting it. Would any of us suggest Bill kill himself for embarrassing Hillary or Jay-Z for Beyoncé? The movie suggests it was the only option for Lady Gaga’s career to move forward. The manager is never reprimanded for his comments. Worse the final shot is framed in such a way that Gaga has achieved peak stardom. It’s all quite terrible. Maybe this was fine back in the day but it’s 2018. I thought we were supposed to be woke.
I really can't even figure out what you're trying to say here regarding what you have in spoilertags.
SpoilerShow
In no way was the suicide the "only option" for Ally's career to move forward - one of the messages of the film to me is that any degree of stardom is both fleeing and pales in comparison to a healthy interpersonal life and a healthy mind - Ally opts to stay home from her tour because she's genuinely in love, not because she had to. Her manager's words were incredibly harsh, but something he will have to live with, as no one else was present for that conversation. And the final shot is communicating the fact that Ally would not prefer this outcome, nor should any audience member. As for "peak stardom" - is she really more famous at the end of the film than she was winning awards and performing on SNL? Does it matter?
SpoilerShow
My takeaway of the movie’s message was, if you’re embarrassing/hurting your wife’s career you should kill yourself. Sure, Ally talked about ending the tour but we all know the manager while harsh was correct. We know that because we never see him again, not even an apology or scene where Ally finds out. He’s been right about everything else in the movie up until that point.

I think the ending would’ve worked better had Cooper’s character not been a completely sympathetic character. He supported Ally 100%, never cheated on her, never got jealous, his biggest fault is his alcoholism -which is even viewed forgivingly. He goes to rehab, completes it, he does everything you’re supposed to do but they still had him commit suicide. Felt like it sent a terrible message to anyone going through those issues.

I thought it was an ok movie up until that point. It was still corny and I agree the first 45 minutes are best. But the ending killed it for me.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#99 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:48 pm

I don't think I can even really get on board with the framework of what you're saying. It sounds like you didn't buy the central romance as authentic and are looking at it as merely transactional, so no wonder the unspooling of the film's events didn't work at all for you.

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Re: A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018)

#100 Post by Foam » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:31 pm

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Luke M wrote:My takeaway of the movie’s message was, if you’re embarrassing/hurting your wife’s career you should kill yourself. Sure, Ally talked about ending the tour but we all know the manager while harsh was correct. We know that because we never see him again, not even an apology or scene where Ally finds out. He’s been right about everything else in the movie up until that point.
This is almost objectively a misreading. The film presents the manager as a successful but manipulative and unsympathetic figure. It is not true that he is shown to be right about everything up to that point. In the studio, when something's not working with Ally's performance, it's Maine, not the manager, who coaxes a good performance out of her. When Ally gets rid of her dancers, and he tells her she shouldn't have done that, the film clearly sides with Ally (her facial expression, plus Maine agreeing with her decision a scene or two later). There's no apology scene or scene where Ally finds out about what he said because both would be implausible. The film sympathizes primarily with Ally, and Ally obviously doesn't want Maine dead, so the film doesn't think Maine should be dead. Pretty simple.
Luke M wrote: I think the ending would’ve worked better had Cooper’s character not been a completely sympathetic character. He supported Ally 100%, never cheated on her, never got jealous, his biggest fault is his alcoholism -which is even viewed forgivingly. He goes to rehab, completes it, he does everything you’re supposed to do but they still had him commit suicide. Felt like it sent a terrible message to anyone going through those issues.
His alcoholism is viewed pretty critically, I would say. If anything, Ally's own forgiveness of it is presented as naive; Ally tells him everything's "okay" in the rehab scene, saying alcoholism "is a disease" but in the end, Bobby says this is all Maine's fault. And, while Maine never gets jealous, he isn't presented as perfect: I don't think the film sides with Maine when he calls her "ugly" in that bathtub scene. Do you?

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