SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen A Star is Born yet, first of all, why haven’t you, and second of all, do not read this blog until you do. Seriously. I do not want to take away from the incredible experience that this film and the soundtrack serve up by giving away any of the plot. So, get yourself to the theater before reading another word of this.
Remakes. Reboots. 2.0 versions. The mere mention of a movie or television show being retooled and rolled out for another showing on the big or small screen tends to relegate it to a long, and growing list, of things I will not be spending my time or money on. In the era of everything old is new again, I find myself craving originality and creativity in stories to watch unfold before my eyes.
When I first heard that a fourth version of this classic film was in the works, I shook my head in frustration and disbelief. I was in good company, too, as it is said that Eddie Vedder advised his friend, Bradley Cooper, to pass on remaking A Star is Born. Personally, if Eddie offered me that advice, I would have taken it, but I am grateful Bradley ignored it. He went on to direct and star in this remake, and he tapped Lady Gaga to be his co-star. With that, Jackson and Ally were born.
In the weeks leading up to the film’s release, the trailer began popping up everywhere during commercial breaks, and I immediately, albeit reluctantly, was intrigued. The snippets of songs, such as Shallow, garnered my interest, and the chemistry between Bradley and Lady Gaga was palpable. I still was not sure that I would change my mind about seeing it, though, until my sweet friend and kindred spirit, Jennifer, began raving about both the film and the soundtrack. When she was more than willing to go with me, even though she had already seen it, I knew that I had to go and that I was going with the perfect person. I was right on both counts.
Because I did not trust all of the hype surrounding its release, I went into the film with low expectations, lest I be disappointed. As soon as I heard Lady Gaga’s voice fill the theater with lyrics from Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I knew that my expectations were about to be exceeded and then some. Here are some of the scenes, songs, lines and lyrics that transformed this from a remake that I thought I would ignore to a film and soundtrack that I cannot get enough of yet:
Jack: Could I ask you a personal question?
Jack: Do you write songs or anything?
Ally: I don’t sing my own songs.
Ally: I just don’t feel comfortable.
Jack: Why wouldn’t you feel comfortable?
Ally: Because like almost every single person that I’ve come in contact with in the music industry has told me that my nose is too big and that I won’t make it.
Jack: Your nose is beautiful. Are you showing me your nose right now?
Jack: You don’t have to show it to me. I’ve been looking at it all night.
Ally: Oh, come on. No, you’re not.
Jack: Oh, I’m going to be thinking about your nose for a very long time.
Ally: You’re full of shit.
Jack: I’m not full of shit.
Ally: Yeah, you are.
Jack: I’m telling you the truth.
Ally: Yeah, you’re full of shit.
As I stared at Ally during this scene, two thoughts came to my mind. One, she is absolutely beautiful and vulnerable. Two, as she confided in Jack about being judged by her physical appearance, not her talent, I felt an instant connection with her. I definitely do not have any musical talent, but I do have a physical appearance that is not always appreciated in an Instagram world. My nose is the most prominent feature on my small face, and my small eyes and short hair do nothing to hide that fact, not that they could. I am self-conscious about my appearance, especially my nose, so, this scene hit close to home. Like Ally, when I have received a compliment about how I look, I have responded with disbelief and suspected that the person was either being polite or lying.
It also reminded me how often people judge, and are judged, based on physical attributes, rather than merits. There is so much more to see than meets the eye, and while physical attraction matters, it pales in comparison to the intangible beauty of someone’s heart, soul, and intellect. When people are able to see what is beyond skin deep, that is when genuine connections are formed.
Jack: Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know. That’s just the truth. And there’s one reason we’re supposed to be here is to say something so people want to hear. So you got to grab it, and you don’t apologize, and you don’t worry about why they’re listening, or how long they’re going to be listening for, you just tell them what you want to say. Don’t you understand what I’m trying to tell you?
Ally: Yeah, I do. I don’t like it, but I understand it.
Jack: Oh, I think you like it a little bit.
This dialogue went straight from my ears to my heart. I relate to the world in words, so, having something to say and a way to say it so people listen to it captured what the written and spoken word means to me. Despite always having something to say, I have not always felt like I am brave enough to say something or that I will be heard. It took the implosion of my world seven years ago to make me realize that in order to rebuild my life, I had to find my voice and use it, regardless of whether anyone listened or understood, which leads to this next scene.
Bobby: Jack talked about how music is essentially twelve notes between any octave. Twelve notes and the octave repeats. It’s the same story told over and over, forever. All any artist can offer the world is how they see those twelve notes. That’s it. He loved how you see them.
Whenever I tell my story or write about something in my life, I still am utterly stunned when another person relates to what I have shared or likes what I said or wrote. When someone, especially someone whom you love, loves how you see the world and what you have to share with the world, that is a true gift to be treasured.
In addition to the outstanding dialogue, the songs carefully and brilliantly woven throughout the film are nothing short of amazing. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Bradley can really sing, and Lady Gaga was her usual mesmerizing and insanely talented self. Together and individually, they gave outstanding performances. These are but a few of the highlights for me:
I want you
To look right in my eyes
To tell me you love me
To be by my side
I want you
At the end of my life
Wanna see your face
When I fall with grace
At the moment I die
Is that alright?
Is that alright?
These lyrics from Is That Alright speak for themselves, and I have a feeling that they speak for a lot of us in what we want to give and receive in a relationship.
I’m alone in my house . . .
Am I the only one who finds myself belting out the opening line from Look What I’ve Found whenever I realize that I am alone in my house?!
I don’t wanna know this feeling unless it’s you and me
I don’t wanna waste a moment
And I don’t wanna give somebody else the better part of me
I would rather wait for you
The final song of the film is the heart wrenching I’ll Never Love Again, and I have yet to listen to it without dissolving into tears. Even though I knew how the other versions of A Star is Born had ended, I naively hoped that Bradley would pull off the ultimate plot twist and allow for a happy ending this time. He did not. Watching Ally sing it in honor of Jack gutted me. As I continue to love, despite being hurt, these lyrics are spot on in so many ways, and I will leave it at that for now, at least.
I love how Bradley and Lady Gaga told this story, and I am grateful that it is now part of my own story. Sometimes, something old can be new again, and sometimes, it can be even better than new. That is the mark of a shining star indeed.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story