Film discussion

2018 Movie Preview – A Star is Born

2018 is going to see the release of yet another version of A Star is Born. Check out the official synopsis:

Jackson Maine, a country music star who is on the brink of decline when he discovers a talented unknown named Ally. As the two begin a passionate love affair, Jack coaxes Ally into the spotlight, catapulting her to stardom. But as Ally’s career quickly eclipses his own, Jack finds it increasingly hard to handle his fading glory.

There is nothing about A Star is Born that makes it sound like a real movie. First off, it’ll be the fourth version of the “up-and-coming starlet gets help breaking into the industry from a washed-up producer” story. Each previous iteration of A Star is Born starred an ingenue of the day, from Janet Gaynor to Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. This time, the titular star will be Lady Gaga (who will be credited as Stefani Germanotta, so you know she’s serious). What else makes this movie seem more like a parody of a Hollywood film via Tropic Thunder than an actual movie? It’s Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, and costars Sam Elliot, Dave Chapelle and Andrew Dice Clay. Do any of these things go together? I can’t think of a single reason Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliot and Dave Chapelle need to be in the same sentence, let alone the same movie — let alone a movie starring LADY GAGA.

Lady Gaga is actually a surprisingly okay actor, even winning a Golden Globe for her work on American Horror Story: Hotel (the show’s weakest season, by the way). She’s also reportedly written two original songs for the movie, and we all know she can sing and bring the vocals, so she may be the surest thing about this gamble of a film.

One interesting change to this version of A Star is Born is that Cooper is playing a country music star, and presumably, the star he discovers will be as well. Lady Gaga’s latest album, Joanne, dipped into some country waters (lyrics about smoking Marlboros, a song called ‘John Wayne’) so it could be a good fit. This updated adaptation has been in the works for a while with Clint Eastwood once attached to direct Beyonce — I wonder if the country music direction came from him? Country music may also be a way to reach out to audiences across the U.S. who might not be interested in seeing a Lady Gaga film. Her meat dress and ‘Poker Face’ days are what she’s most known for still, but it’s far from universal. The stripped down, mature Lady Gaga has won over fans in recent years, and non-believers may end up converted to Little Monsters.

The studio must be pleased with what they’ve seen so far (which is far more than audiences have seen — no trailer, only one still released!) as the release date has already been moved up from September to May. September was a curious release date in and of itself, as fall is usually reserved for festival premieres and “Oscar-bait.” May means they think the film could be more of a box office hit than an awards contender, but never count that Comedy/Musical Golden Globe category out.

A Star is Born could be the surprise hit of the year like Mamma Mia or the “oh man, remember that?” musical disaster like Burlesque. Only time will tell!

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