A Star is Born (2018) is a movie I don’t get but the rest of film criticism seems to. Apparently it’s a revelation, Cooper’s directorial debut is apparently stellar with a deep, rich story, apparently it’s Oscar worthy. Pfft.
The thing about A Star is Born is that even ignoring it’s a remake, it feels like a million movies you’ve seen and doesn’t do anything new, and it doesn’t really do it better.
It has pacing issues, it feels hollow, it feels like Cooper still wants that Best Actor Oscar he still doesn’t deserve just yet, and for that…You’re finding me checking my watch an hour in and dreading the hour left to go. The good I can pull from the movie is that Lady Gaga is great. And it’s a 2 hour 15 movie that shows me how well she can sing. Unfortunately, I already know Lady Gaga can sing, so it’s a bit of an unnecessary production.
The editing is a bit janky, and there are seriously only two good shots in the film. There’s a lack of scale to a lot of the performances, and there’s a lack of a sense of time and rise/fall of the characters.
A Star is Born fails at improving the structure of even the lighter versions of this genre. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Josie and the Pussycats (a legit underwatched underrated 2001 flick) manages to handle its characters, pacing and comprehension better.
Those two examples also have better music. It will undeniably get Original Song Oscar buzz, but it doesn’t deserve it. The big trailer song isn’t even the key. It’s the gateway to the rest of the film, followed by lacklustre country and pop that is bolstered only by vocals.
A Star is Born is a lot of things but none of them include anything really good. I couldn’t care less about Cooper’s fall. Because I’ve seen it before, and I’ve seen it better.
I’d much rather see more of the star being born, dying, and coming full circle than Cooper making it about him and betraying the good story that’s actually there. It’s overrated, it’ll be overseen, and potentially over-rewarded. Which is a shame.