Friday, November 16, 2018

A Star Is Born (a movie review post)

Bradley Cooper may be the best actor of his (my) generation. Which is saying a lot, I know, but he's able to become a character in a way few other actors are ever able to do. Daniel Day-Lewis, but he's always been hampered by how far into a character he goes to be able to portray that character, taking him years to re-emerge after a role. And that's less about acting than it is about just becoming some other person for a time. Like a deep undercover agent.

Christian Bale has always been willing to go to whatever physical extreme for his roles, like dropping to something around 90 lbs. for his role in The Machinist, but he always just seems like Christian Bale as far as the actual acting goes.

Bradley Cooper seems like something else entirely.

Or maybe I'm just biased. I've liked Cooper since Alias. At the time (wow, that was more than 15 years ago!), I told my wife that he was going to be somebody. Not that she paid any attention to what I was saying. I mean, why should she have? The comment wasn't even worth disbelieving; it was flung out into the cosmos like a piece of rock from an asteroid collision.

Despite Cooper's burst into stardom a few years ago, it's with this movie more than any other (except, maybe, American Hustle (with Christian Bale, no less)) where Cooper really shows the full range of his skills. Sometimes, he's hard to watch on screen. It's painful.

And I'm not even talking about his adoption of Sam Elliot's voice, but wow! I've done voices, and I've done voices that have hurt and damaged my throat, and I'm beyond impressed that Cooper was able to pull off that voice for such a sustained amount of time. Oh, and fun fact: He decided on that voice before they'd actually cast Elliot as his brother, so it was sweet that they got him and amazing to hear them exchange dialogue.

But this isn't really about Cooper; it's about the movie. Which he also directed. So, yeah...

The movie is great. I haven't seen the original nor have I seen the Streisand remake of the 70s. Or, at least, I have no memory of seeing it, though it's possible I may have actually seen that as a kid, because my mom was a huge Streisand fan. All of that to say that I'm looking at this film on its own merits without any comparisons to other iterations. I really enjoyed it. It almost brought me to tears on a number of occasions but didn't quite manage to cross that line. I don't know if that's a plus or a minus.

Lady Gaga was also amazing. This isn't really her debut role as an actress or anything, but it also kind of is. I think she was perfect. And believable. What more can you ask?

I already want to see the movie again.


  1. The '70s version is pretty good. I think I saw bits of the Judy Garland version, but none of the Janet Gaynor one. Yes, there are now four versions of this story, and apparently it was suggested by a really old time movie star's story.

    1. Liz: Actually, there are more. I was looking up some stuff when I was writing the review and there are several non-movie versions to go along with the three movie versions.

  2. Bradley Cooper had a tiny part in Sex and The City years ago. I noticed him then and never forgot. I saw A Star Is Born with a friend. We both cried buckets. I've seen all the versions of the movie. I don't care much for the one with Barbra Streisand, but the other two are excellent. I think this new one is my favorite, though.


    1. Janie: It's funny how you can sometimes tell with people, isn't it?

  3. This is one of the movies that I've heard about, but never actually seen before. There aren't enough explosions for my taste.