A Star Is Born (2018)


Three anecdotes and four speculations.

Anecdote 1: Some years back, one of the great jazz guitarists, needing rent money (as is typical for these musicians), accepted an invite to play back-up for a heavy metal band in a recording session. As the music kicked in, he raised his hand–STOP–and went around the group tuning everyone’s instrument.

Anecdote 2: Lady Gaga, a singer of immense talent and not a bad actress, has evidently taken to cutting back on the pop concerts and appearing some of the time in the small and vanishing jazz clubs and singing standards to the tiny, rapt audiences. 

Speculation 1: these songs bequeath the marvelous Lady Gaga’s full range and talent. Singing the rest of the songs is like Roger Federer playing ping-pong.

Anecdote 3: A friend once mused, “What happened to Cinderella after she got to the palace with the prince? Did she really live happily ever after?” A good question. It’s the storyline of A Star is Born.

Speculation 2: At least an intimation of why the current politics prevail can be experienced in this movie. (Warning: You won’t learn anything new, if possibly more depressing, about that.)

Speculation 3: The people who put together this latest version of A Star is Born, especially the screenplay writers, have never missed a showing of “America’s Got Talent” and the Super Bowl halftime show. And kin. It’s unclear whether they are cynical or wannabes. My hunch is the latter.

Speculation 4: Is there someone against whom you have a grudge? Practice a straight face in the mirror, and when you’re ready, enthusiastically recommend this movie.

Judy Garland, James Mason and the others in the earlier version: rest assured, you’re fine.