Sunday, June 17, 2007

Movies About the Entertainment Industry

The other day, I don't know what possessed me, but I got to thinking of "A Star is Born" with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. When I was a kid it was one my all time favorite movies. However, a couple years later it was quickly eclipsed by Bette Midler's "The Rose". These two films started a fascination for me for movies about movies and the entertainment industry.

My more recent favorite film in this genre is "State and Main". It's an offbeat small film shot here, along the North Shore of Boston, back in 2000. It's about a film crew invading a small New England town. It stars two of my favorite actors, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sarah Jessica Parker (whom I've talked to on the phone...but we'll leave that for another post) and Alec Baldwin (whom I met his brother, again another story) also star in it. It's a really good film; if you haven't checked it, rent it.

But back to the Bab's pic...

My favorite part of "A Star is Born" is at the very end. Her husband/lover has gone off and killed himself: He's not good enough for her. She, now a major celebrity after having been given the opportunity from him, gives an amazing post-mourning/come-back performance. The song is actually a medley of two and comprises about 10 minutes of film time. I love it. It's so dramatic. The film itself, having seen it again a few years ago, is actually pretty cheesy and melodramatic but there are some really good songs from it. I've got the CD in storage. I'll need to pull it out one of these days.

The finale starts off as a tender ballad:
With one more look at you
I could learn to tame the clouds
And let the sun shine through
Leave a troubled past and I might start anew

I'll solve the mysteries if you're the prize
Refresh these tired eyes
With one more look at you
It later turns into a raucous medley:

I'm gonna need you later
When you're not around
But I can take it
I won't look down

Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?
Watch me now
Are you watching me now?
Are you watching me now?

"The Rose" is one of my all time favorite films. I love Bette Midler in this movie. It was my first introduction to Bette and I've been a fan ever since. Her performance in "The Rose" was so raw, unique, charged with emotion and displayed such a strong sense of hunger and desire that she received much acclaim for the role. Unfortunately, she never did anything since that has even smacked as being as good.

I read a lot about its production. A couple of critical factors that I think led to her excellent performance were 1) during production she never watched the dailies (reviews of the day's work). She had it in her head who the Rose was and it wasn't clouded with reviews of the footage. 2) She didn't care if she looked good. She let it all out, no holding back, no trying to get the best angle for the camera. And 3) she was hungry to make a splash in the film industry. One could also argue that it wasn't a lot of acting but really just playing herself. In this case I don't buy that argument. She brought herself, as any good actor does, and created a one of a kind performance.

The line she uses through out the film, that really threads the theme is "Where is everybody going?" Rose is so overworked, so exhausted. People are leaving her at every turn. She finally finds the man (Houston Dyer) in which she wants to settle down with. After several falling outs he leaves her one last and final time. After a near drug induced coma and much alcohol she musters up just enough energy to sing one last song.

At 13 years old I was blown away by the performance of this one song. It literally moved me to tears. It still touches a chord within. Perhaps unconsciously it somehow became a mantra for my own adult life:
"Well, I'm a young woman, and I could get plenty of men.
But honey, keepin' 'em's the hard part, ain't it?
Yeah. Sometimes, sometimes I find I try so hard."

Maybe this time I should be the one to go away.
'Cause honey, ain't it my turn to have somebody
grab hold of me and say,
"No! Don't go! You can't go!"

Oh! Stay, stay with me, baby.
I'm begging you, stay with me.
Stay with me, baby.
I can't, I can't, I can't, I can't.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, stay with me, baby.
Why don't you stay with me, baby?
Stay with me, baby.
I can't, I can't go on.


Derek said...

I used to stare at that albumn with Kris on it, I thought he was so hot with that long hair and beard.

Donnie said...

Wow Rick, those are two powerful films to have as favorites as a burgeoning teen.

I love Bette in anything she's in. Babs, on the other hand, is hit or miss (with me).