‘A Star Is Born’: Best Picture’s First Contender?

By Anthony Peyton and Olivia Norwood

Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is the incredibly anticipated remake of a remake. The anticipation lead to something just as satisfying, as the movie itself was incredible.

This time, the film stars Lady Gaga as Ally and Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a music superstar. Ally is a struggling artist and Maine is already clearly successful, as the show opens on his concert.

Without giving too much away, the rest of the film revolves around the building of Ally as a musical sensation and how Maine helps her get there. It’s a heartwarming love story that is spritzed with lots of beautiful songs and sweet moments from the brilliant chemistry of Gaga and Cooper’s love.

Cooper not only starred in this, but he was also the director. My favorite part about this was how seasoned it seemed. It was as if Cooper had directed dozens of films, and this was another to add to the batch. Cooper guided himself and Gaga to a performance that could only be described as phenomenal.

Gaga wasn’t the only one that shined with their vocals. Cooper surprised us all with his ability to not only sing but sing in character as Jackson Maine is almost a southern crooner with a gritty and rustic voice to match. Absolutely stunned by the impressive array of talent shown by Gaga and Cooper.

As soon as I left the film, the first thing I thought was how this was the first movie I’ve seen this year that seems like a solid Oscar contender. Of course we’ve had Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and several others, but this is the first one I very solidly believe deserves it. At the very least, I see this being nominated for Best Directing and Best Original Song.

A category I don’t see A Star Is Born adding to the list of nominations is Best Original Screenplay and here’s why: it fell short in story. Everything seemed very rushed which is understandable considering it follows Ally’s rise to fame but, there was background information that could be further explained.

In one scene, Jackson punches his brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) after finding out that he sold their dead father’s farm and burial spot. You only know this because there is a drawn out argument (involving the usage of f*ck more than three times) where Jackson and Bobby get into each others faces and talk about a past that is hardly ever mentioned before the scene. This happens throughout the entire film of them not really fully explaining any background information along with cutting to another scene right when a character begins to have a moment.

Again, I’m not sure if this was to speed up the progression of the story but it would have been nice to see some type of drawn out moment for any of the characters.

Aside from this, A Star Is Born absolutely did not disappoint in not only giving Lady Gaga redemption for her acting career (I blame you, Ryan Murphy) but it gave us heart, soul, and a song to sing along with. If this isn’t nominated for an Oscar then something is severely wrong with the Academy.


Our Rating: 95%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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‘Walk the Line’: Music, Addiction, and Forbidden Love

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

For today’s Time Warp Tuesday, we will be taking a look at one of the greatest musical biopics of all time (and my favorite film) Walk the Line.

The film follows the ‘Man in Black’ musician, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), and his musical career. Along the way, he finds love in his childhood crush and longtime singing partner June Carter Cash (Reese Witherspoon) but with the highs comes the lows. The audience is exposed to Johnny’s demons and faults. We learn about his battle with drugs and alcohol and his affair with June despite being married to his wife Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin). He suddenly becomes his own villain and becomes stuck in a cycle of addiction and infidelity.

Walk the Line went on to win multiple awards including Best Actress at the Academy Awards. What made this film so great was, in fact, the acting. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon quite literally embodied the souls of Johnny and June Cash. It’s almost like watching a documentary of the famous duo because of the actors’ nearly identical performances. When someone, with hardly any musical experience, can replicate every voice inflection, facial expression, and body movement of a famous musician’s performance then I think it goes without saying that they deserve the highest praise possible.

Along with the musical talent they possess, Phoenix and Witherspoon’s chemistry is both undeniable and honest. Johnny and June had an intense bond that caused him to lose control and hurt June and Johnny’s wife Vivian in the process. This flawed love story is portrayed with the same fierceness it possessed without watering down the moral imperfections. It isn’t the ideal romance that you see in most films, but this also is not a romance – it’s a drama. And that genre leaves all of the ugly parts in.

One of those ugly parts is Johnny’s drug addiction, and the performance that Phoenix gives is too good to not give an Oscar to. As I said before, Johnny becomes the villain in a story where he was the protagonist and his rehabilitation isn’t a pretty one. But Phoenix’s transition between all of them were nearly flawless, and he was able to portray one’s real experience of addiction. He showed the dark side of a man who was once on the top of the mountain and suddenly fell into his own personal hell. (I’m sure you thought I’d make a ‘Ring of Fire’ pun, but that’d be way out of context)

Walk the Line is one of those movies that will never leave your mind after one watch and questions whether fame and fortune is worth the hurt.