Ordinarily, my FOMO would be raging, if it didn't seem so dumb.
(Naming your kids Boy and Girl? I can't.)
Instead, I watched a Star Is Born marathon with my mom and it was heavenly.
There have been 4 versions of this story in total -- the first was in 1934. But we're going to skip that one because it's in black & white and features a bunch of actors I've never heard of.
The 3 we DID see have a few common elements:
- He's a drunk and his best days are in the rear view.
- He helps create her rise to fame, then resents her for it.
- He humiliates her at an award show, and she forgives him.
- She hates her nose, but he thinks she's beautiful.
- He says, "I just want to take another look at you." And we all melt.
They also all end the same way -- different paths but the same result.
If you know, you know. No spoilers here...
A Star Is Born (1954)
Judy Garland as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester, a chorus girl, & James Mason as Earnest Gubbins/Norman Maine, a motion picture star
Box Office: Cost $5M to make, earned $15M
Best Song: Born in a Trunk, I guess, but it was long and trippy
We watched this one on TCM. While my mom loved it, it really wasn't my favorite. I think they ran out of money when making this movie because there were weird segments with photos and voiceovers to fill in the action. And it had one of those olden timey intermissions because it is 3hrs loooooong. I also didn't connect with the mains, she was too pretty (but kept saying she wasn't, which was annoying), and he wasn't pretty or charismatic enough. Glad this one was remade.
Fun Fact: Shortly before the premiere, the film was cut because it was too long (duh). It was restored in 1983, though most of the original footage was lost, which explains why there are production stills and voiceovers used to cover the action.
A Star Is Born (1976)
Barbra Streisand as Esther Hoffman, a lounge singer, & Kris Kristofferson as John Norman Howard, a rock star
Box Office: Cost $6M to make, earned $89M
Best Song: Most people prob think Evergreen, but I like Watch Closely Now
I first remember this one when I was little and we lived in the Bronx. My mom used to play the record when she cleaned our apartment. I've seen this version a few times, over Christmas we watched it on Amazon Prime. This one is WAY more my speed with its rock vibe, but it's SO old, Gary Busey actually plays the voice of reason. Let that marinate for a sec... Ok. I love this one for her fast-talking New York ways, and its seventies spirit. Definitely worth the watch.
Fun Fact: The Speedway concert scenes were filmed at ASU. Inbetween shooting, Babs, Peter Frampton & Santana performed. And a ticket to the show cost $3.50. Good deal.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Lady Gaga as Ally Campano, a cater waiter and cabaret singer, & Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a country music star
Box Office: Cost $36M, earned $200M (and counting)
Best Song: Shallow, and you are dead inside if you don't love it too
I've seen this one in the movies -- twice -- and it is hands-down my fave. Lady Gaga's voice is unreal. My mom didn't think she was a great actress, but my bar is lower, so I liked her and thought she had amazing chemistry with beautiful Bradley Cooper, who was also the director. Plus, he sings! And plays guitar! And speaks fluent French! Seriously, what CAN'T this man do? I also appreciated the appearance by Andrew Dice Clay. I hope this movie wins every Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy it can. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for??
Fun Fact: This is the only version of the movie where the male lead isn't named Norman, and the female lead isn't named Esther. But there is a cute nod to Judy Garland (Esther #2), as Gaga sings a few lines from Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the intro.
After watching 7.5 hours of this story, we decided there's a Star Is Born for every generation.
Which one do YOU think hits all the right notes?