It’s The Same Story, Told Over And Over Again

A Star Is Born.jpg

Remakes are tricky. Usually they’re messy sloppy copies, rushed, with nothing new to say, no reason to exist beyond vanity and admiration.

But sometimes, magically, a remake says something new, takes a framework we know and hangs different things on it. But the frame is still there, familiar and warm, reminding you that you know this one. You know where it hits, where it hurts, how it bleeds.

A Star Is Born is the second kind. Instantly familiar, Bradley Cooper never loses sight of the fact that he’s telling one of the oldest stories in Hollywood. Revisiting his predecessors in ways both small and large. Whether it’s Ally crooning “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” to warm up, to the song, “Shallow,” which feels especially on the nose (for a story that previously featured suicide by walking into the ocean) and Ally’s final declaration, “My name is Ally Maine.”

Cooper’s direction and performance are stirring, as are supporting turns by Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay (Huh?) and Anthony Ramos (YAASSS!) but this movie was always going to rise or fall based on Lady Gaga’s performance, so thank God she’s a complete revelation.

Ally is all insecurity and striving, shy smiles and stuttered words, but my lord that voice. It’s a wonderful take on a part played by legends before, and she’s well on her way to cementing herself there.

But the movie’s thesis statement about music and stories is summed up in the truly epic closing monologue delivered by Elliott.

Trailers

Mary Poppins Returns really does look wonderful. I can’t wait to see it and then watch it a million times over.

The Frontrunner: Any other year I’d be all over this movie, this year, I’m too tired for political drama. I’m even behind on my West Wing watching.

Green Book: Y’all, I know it’s a mushy dumb, tropey movie (probably) but seriously, it’s Viggo Mortensen & Mahershala Ali (with Linda Cardellini in there for good measure)

The Mule again.

Instant Family – I get the feeling I’m going to love this movie. Like, really love it.

Rankings:

  1. The Incredibles 2
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. A Star Is Born
  4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  5. Deadpool 2
  6. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
  7. Ocean’s 8
  8. Infinity War
  9. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Running To Stand Still

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great New Year’s and that if you’re the resolution type you’ve gotten a good start on yours.

I have a couple but the most important one is that I’m starting running again. In my second senior year I ran nearly everyday and didn’t eat between meals and didn’t drink beer and lost 30 pounds. I’m hoping to do that again, because I actually need to lose 40 pounds to be where I was at that time, but I can live with having 10 more pounds on me than I did when I was 22. Seriously. I’m OK with it.

But I’m running again, every other day I head to Retro Fitness get on a treadmill and run for about 40 minutes (including cooldown.) Now, for me the most important part of running is my playlist, because if it isn’t right I’ll get bored and slow down instinctively. My current running playlist is increasingly epic and completely embarrassing. I should note that I don’t listen to it in this order. I put it on shuffle:

  • Stronger – Britney Spears: Because you know what, I am stronger, than yesterday. It’s nothing but my way. Honestly Britney is great running music because it’s like 30% bass.
  • The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga: Again with that bass. I am all about it. (Not on the playlist)
  • Roar – Katy Perry: The white girl work out anthem! We require this song to exercise. I also sometimes start punching the air when this comes on. Like I said this is embarrassing.
  • Straight Outta Compton – NWA: Sometimes I’ll be getting ready to quit and go right into cool down because I am very lazy and I’ll hear simply “You are not about to witness the strength of street knowledge.” And I go. I keep going, because I am also a crazy mutha fucka from the streets (I am absolutely not that at all.)
  • Brand New You – The Broadway Cast of 13: This song isn’t even in the show, it was cut and then sung as an encore. But it’s wonderful. And I put it on most playlists because of how much fun it is.
  • American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Another White Kid motivational song. We like this one. Mostly for driving but it works for running too.
  • The Call – Backstreet Boys: This is their best song and also it just moves, and has no weird slow breakdown like most of their songs, thus making it great for running.
  • No Surrender – Bruce Springsteen: NO RETREAT  BABY!
  • No Apologies – Empire Cast: Uhhh…how did that get here…no just kidding. In case you need to feel motivated ever having Jussie Smollet shout-sing “I’m a loose canon!” will do it. Also, you can just blame it on Tiana!
  • Song For The Lonely – Cher: Look, you’re standing on the edge of nowhere, there’s only one way out and your heart’s gotta go there. I just love this song a lot.
  • The Bitch Is Back – Elton John: Another good come back song. And while I am not “stone cold sober as a matter of fact” all of the other lyrics pertain quite well to me.
  • Ease on Down The Road – Shanice Williams & Elijah Kelley: Oh come on, I’m trying to motivate myself and there are definitely times when I wish I wasn’t born, and I KNOW the Shanice and Elijah version being here instead of Diana and Michael is kind of a terrible blasphemy , but I adore the purity of Shanice’s voice.
  • The Schuyler Sisters – Hamilton: Look, I could probably just run to the Hamilton Cast Album (and when I start doing longer outdoor runs in the spring I have every intention of it) but when I had to choose just one song for the short runs, well, it had to be this one. Among other things it literally reminds you to “work” every third line about.
  • Main Title and Attack On the Jakku Village – John Willaims Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I picked this opening so I can think about Oscar Isaacs being adorable while I run. That is the only reason it isn’t the version from Episode III which is actually the most motivating post opening theme piece.

So that’s what I’m listening too while I run! For now, I’ll be shifting things into and out of the list. I want to keep it at about 50 minutes, which is why “Mercy” by Duffy is already gone (I also just kind of got sick of it.)

And I’m not running for no reason. I’ve decided that the only way to keep myself motivated is to give myself a final goal. And that goal???? I’m doing a RunDisney event either late this year or in 2017. Depending on how my training goes I may go for the full marathon, but I’m more likely to do one of the half marathons or 10ks. Whether I do Disney World or Disneyland will depend on timing. I figured this was a good way to get myself motivated and to get my ass back to Disney! (or to California for the first time ever!)

Things I’ve Been Talking About With People

This is a new sporadic feature, similar to “Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now” but instead it’s stuff I’ve engaged with genuine human beings talking about lately. It’s good because I get to mine the experiences and anecdotes of my loved ones in order to further my own artistic agenda.

It’s only manipulative if they aren’t supportive and mine are!

  • Who should play young Han Solo in the upcoming movie?
    • We had a long talk about this the other day and while I have definite opinions on the subject. (Don’t care, so long as he’s handsome and charismatic and Donald Glover plays Lando.)  I put forward some of my previous choices, Logan Lerman and Dave Franco, which got a sturdy, “who?” and “that could work.” Everyone I’ve mentioned it to is on board with my “Donald For Lando” plan though. Yay! Seriously though, you guys, Logan Lerman, the kid is great, and was perfectly cast in a terrible adaptations of a franchise. He should be as big as Jennifer Lawrence by now, but the Percy Jackson movies are terrible. Give him a shot at this. I think he’d be good.
  • Xena Reboot: Reenie And Cha Edition
    • Cha and I have a longstanding pledge that if either of us gets into the position to do it, we create a Xena reboot that she stars in and I write and run. It’s very important to us, especially if we’ve been drinking. So this week, Lucy Lawless was talking about how she wanted a Xena reboot, for like, herself, or whatever. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that would be amazing. But, I mean, she already got to do Xena, Cha and I haven’t. Let us have a shot.
  • The Musical Legacy of My Generation
    • I don’t know as much about rock music, be it classic or current as many of my family members, but I know a shit ton more about pop than they do, and thus anytime we have a conversation about “What’s good,” and “what isn’t,” it’s one of the few areas we’re able to pull the “I defer to you on this,” elements. But the intellectual gymnastics on Sunday when Mike and I decided that you can trace one or two pop artists that leave their mark rather than ephemera, and that we think Taylor Swift might be that person for this decade was pretty great. (Previous people who have done this include Justin Timberlake, The Backstreet Boys, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Bee Gees and The Beach Boys.) Additionally, we discussed how you can trace Lady Gaga back to Cindy Lauper as a visionary who understands pop music better than any one else working, but is also much more of an artist than a performer and who’s legacy will be something different entirely. Seriously, it was a remarkable argument.
  • Kit Harrington’s Hair And Beard
    • Oh shut up. We’re all talking about it. He landed in Belfast during scripting time. He still has the hair. He’s regrown the beard. I promise this is the last I’ll talk about it. I think the man is perfectly within his rights to keep his hair whatever length he wants regardless of Jon Snow being dead for good. And he’s also welcome to have the shaggiest of beards that he wants. BUT OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
  • Tut
    • Are you watching this mini series? I guess it’s over now, I still have to watch the third part, but it’s ridiculous. Ben Kingsley is really good in it. Everything else about it is utterly ridiculous, but everyone in my house loves an epic mini series, and so we watch.

That’s what’s up with me these days! Hope things are cool with all of you!