Saturday, March 1, 2014
Tonight the Academy will give out it's Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. If I was voting for one of the 9 films chosen, my ballot would go to 12 Years A Slave. A beautifully satisfying film with Oscar worthy performances from all of it's cast. They are saying this was a good year for movies, but to me it was more a great year for actors. I have seen six of the nine nominated films, but except for 12 years, I think I liked the performances more than the movies themselves.
Sandra Bullock was incredible in Gravity, but the movie didn't equal her power. Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant in the The Wolf Of Wall Street but his character so repulsive, I couldn't wait for the film to end. It seemed on a loop of one long scene of Leonardo drunk and high stumbling around over and over for the 3 hours. The films editor best not win anything! I loved Christian Bale in American Hustle, but didn't find the story that compelling. Dench, Mcconaughey and Leto all Oscar worthy but the performances and the film I enjoyed most this year did not come from actors.
No It was not Sting, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie or Jagger that had the lead in my favorite film, but they were all in it....
The film that I most enjoyed, that brought me the most joy, and packed the biggest emotional punch was director Morgan Neville's Twenty Feet From Stardom. If you have not heard about, google, if you have not seen it, find it. The story of the back ups singers, working with some the worlds greatest bands, and most successful singers is a fantastic film full of music, and heartache and behind the scenes of a brutally tough business.
I thought I knew a bit about the music business, but it is really so much more business that I ever imagined, just ask the incredible Darlene Love. I had heard of Love and Merry Clayton before, but most of the other singers profiled were just voices til the film gave them names, and lives. It is shocking, yet not surprising that the music business is so full of non singers. You would think it impossible, but these women and their powerful instruments make Britney, Abdul, Levato, hell even Madonna to shame. They prove a gifted voice isn't anything in music if you can't fill the seats.
Britney may not be able to sing a note, but a bit of sex appeal, tabloid worthy personal issues, snakes and a few catchy tunes, have her hauling in the Vegas dough. After watching this documentary, and listening to the phenomenal talent that is Lisa Fischer (above) Britney's success seems less a triumph and more a statement on the lack of taste on the part of the American music buying public. I had not heard of Lisa before, but I am addicted to her voice now and hope to soon fill my home with her music and the clear and heavenly tones of her voice. The women, and the few men, 20 Feet From Stardom follow all have different goals. Some want the limelight, others are happy to blend their voices in harmony with others. Either way, their lives more interesting, and stories far more compelling than most of the characters who inhabited the 9 films nominated.