A Star Is Born ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Definitely enjoyed this movie more on a rewatch. Here are only some of the exhaustive notes I took during my rewatch.

—————

• The noose foreshadowing outside the bar is hilariously unsubtle. And wow– everybody told me the bar they meet at was The Virgil (a bar in Silverlake that i have been to countless times) but it’s very funny how clear that is now that I know it. They also fall in love at the Super A Foods in Highland Park that is right outside of my friend’s place! This is as close to telling us this movie where this movie is that we’ll ever get!

• Fuck... I forgot how much the first half-hour of this movie totally rules. Why does it make me mad that Bradley Cooper really fucking killed this on every front. (Except for the editing, which i maintain is visibly bad at multiple points! nitpick!)

• The way Cooper’s green eyes are so visibly bright in the dressing room scene is such a standout detail, and it really makes you swoon for him. Fantastic.

• You know how they let the music swell and go into a delicate, slow close-up shot a few times in the movie? Really works for the bar scene of him tracing her nose. Does not work for the ring scene. (Probably the worst scene in the movie if you ask me)

• I paused during the parking lot scene to read the screenplay because the way characters keep talking over each other felt so naturalistic and well-done, I wanted to know how it was written out, and it’s shocking how much of the interrupting dialogue/changing the subject is completely delivered as it is in the script. I hate to say it but if Cooper wins best director, he’d probably deserve it. (also, it would probably confirm that Cooper is one of the most classically-talented actor working today, for his versatility in roles and his ability to write and direct the fuck out of a movie.)

• I know it’s not supposed to be Cooper’s movie at all but he’s the more captivating one!!!!! Which is a flaw of the movie (it ain’t called A Star Dies, folks!!) but it feels like there would be so little "new" stuff to say if it was truly Ally's movie.

• If the internet hadn’t ruined “I just wanted to take another look at you” that would’ve been an extremely corny move that played as incredibly charming. Good scene!!! Also don’t know why the internet meme’d Gail. Nothing weird about that moment.

• Andrew Dice Clay's embarrassing dad role is an all-timer.

• Props to Greg Grunberg for making an entire career out of being friends with everybody so he can pop up in massive films and make audiences go “Wh- wait how do i know this guy”

• Wait– Did Jackson charter a second plane just for Ally? Even though she might have not come? And she made it JUST in time? That’s nuts. This entire scenario is nuts, and suggests a level of wealth that Jackson never really shows otherwise!

• How was "Shallow" done and ready to be performed... with the entire band.... so quickly

• This is a drum I’ve been beating for months now but I can’t believe the next Oscar winner for Best Original Song is an extremely paint-by-numbers song whose first lyrics are “Tell me something girl / Are you happy in this modern world.” In a movie with some pretty good songs, I think "Shallow" is the most boring, generic of them? Frankly, the scene of them singing "Shallow" is where the movie starts to feel less brilliant to me. ("Always Remember Us This Way" is a stunner, and "I'll Never Love Again" is of course, a fantastic Whitney Houston discard.) Also– kind of wish "Shallow" sounded more imperfect in that performance! She’s having all these reactions to performing it live, but none of those reactions are clear in the actual... sound of the performance.

• The sex scene... is so short, but it feels so real. It's great.

• Sorry, but “You’re Music To My Eyes” sounds like a song from Walk Hard.

• “That’s my songbook. I usually use a typewriter–” What???

• I think the confusing thing to me with her music is that the pop turn is not bad, it’s just different. (The screenplay even supports this– during her SNL performance, it says "She is the definition of a pop star. The song: vibrant, electric, catchy as all hell, and completely unrecognizable to Jack.") It doesn’t feel like a soulless, industry-designed act, so she's just a different performer altogether and I’m not sure what the progression means.

• I was critical of the medium-close up look covering this entire movie on my first watch, but the shallow depth of field and brightness of these scenes look so damn good. I was wrong. Movie looks fantastic. Shout out to DP Matthew Libatique (who also shot Venom, which came out the same weekend. Weird weekend for Matthew!)

• This is my second time watching the movie and I still went “Eddie Griffin????”

• The Ally billboard is hilarious. Why do they go to such LENGTHS to never tell us her last name? (The script says “Campana.” The movie never does.)

• “You. SNL. Alec Baldwin hosting. Season finale.” “You’ve just been nominated for three Grammys.” Ever since I saw the movie I haven't doing an impression of these lines. And how are these things possible? How is her billboard possible? Didn't they say she's put out one song and hasn't finished her album yet? What is the fucking timeline of this movie?

• Wonder if any of this was inspired by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. Probably not. Actually, almost definitely not. I don't have to write down every thought that goes through my head.

• Scene of Ally and Jack in rehab is outstanding. Maybe my favorite scene in the movie.

• She’s playing The Forum??????????? This is the most meteoric rise to stardom that I have ever seen.

• That final cut to them at the piano... absolutely devastating. Brilliant. A phenomenal ending. And nothing takes the wind out of that ending more than seeing “Produced by Todd Philips” shortly afterwards.