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Entries in Bette Midler (23)

Wednesday
Feb272019

Soundtracking: The 2018 Oscar Performances

by Chris Feil

Thank you Lady Gaga, all of the nominated Original Song performances were given a shot to perform on the Oscars! That "Shallow" leverage reportedly kept the ceremony as much of a musical night as possible. Sadly logistics kept us from getting a Kendrick Lamar and SZA performance of Black Panther's "All the Stars", but I found it frustrating that the producers didn't find some way to work the song into the telecast somehow. A montage needle drop, underscoring for the pre-commercial announcements, something?!

Even without Lamar (who also missed the Grammys), the night was a mostly solid salvage of Oscar musical tradition. It certainly fared better than some recent years, and also helped set variety and a pace for the night that otherwise felt a tad too amorphously rushed. A Star is Born's "Shallow" triumphed for the win as expected all season long, but what of the performances themselves? Time for a ranking!...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul112018

Soundtracking: "The Rose"

by Chris Feil

History may never let us forget that The Rose began as a Janis Joplin biopic before objections from her family and even its eventual star, Bette Midler. And sure, the similarities remain: a tragic end after a life of drugs, booze, and emotional bruises so deep that they bled out into the vocals.

But the unfortunate side-effect of the Joplin adjacency is that Midler’s achievement is overshadowed in the public consciousness. It’s Joplin as template only and its songs are nearly all covers of other blues and rock artists, and still Midler creates her own unique persona and musical identity. When so many actual biopics fail to discover the inner humanity of an artist, she ends up capturing the the crushed spirit of an entire genre...

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Wednesday
Aug022017

Soundtracking: "The First Wives Club"

Chris Feil's series on music in the movies dips into some actressexuality this week!

Do you and your friend group have a song, one that defines and unites you instantaneously? Or is that just something that happens in the movies? I’ve certainly never had that, but my two best gays from college do namesake ourselves by a set of cinematic galpals that do: The First Wives Club. (I’m the Bette.)

This film has the good sense to capitalize on the musical charms of its legendary actresses Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. This threesome foursome *technically* (RIP Cynthia) has their origins defined by their place in musical history, with Diane Keaton’s opening narration evoking Woodstock and The Beatles. But its the beginning twinkle of Hal David / Burt Bacharach fantasy over the opening credits that more musically defines the feminine fantasy thrust upon their generation - idyllic beauty, subservience to men, etc. By the time Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox have them breaking down literal walls in the third act, these sisters are doin’ “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” for themselves.

But obviously the film’s most enduring and notorious musical impact comes from Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun122017

Tony Awards 2017: Key Moments, Interesting Stats, Winners List

by Nathaniel R

Last night the American theater community, and a boat load of adjacent stars (hello Tina Fey & Scarlett Johansson) celebrated Broadway triumphs at the 71st Annual Tony Awards. As expected the revival of Hello Dolly and Dear Evan Hansen owned the evening with 4 and 6 wins respectively. Composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are now halfway to the EGOT in less than half a year having picked up the Oscar for Best Original song for La La Land back in February. But the peak of the evening was Bette Midler's very funny, quite enthusiastic and extremely long acceptance for Best Actress in a Musical (the biggest lock of the evening going in). It's the first time I can recall a performer ignoring the orchestra trying to play her off so insistently that they finally gave up. Her speech had a whole and even better second act as if the orchestra's interruption was just a particularly noisy intermission! 

Kevin Spacey began his hosting job with a very strange and anxiety ridden number about competing with the memories of Tony hosts like Neil Patrick Harris, James Corden, and Hugh Jackman...

Whoopi Goldberg made a cameo with an "in the closet" joke, which played very strangely given that she was standing right next to a man who's famously been inside one his whole career. For his part, Spacey relied heavily on his rather amazing if also dated impersonation skills trotting out his super Johnny Carson and Bill Clinton mimicry for mini-skits within the show. He also leaned into his past and present personal career peaks with American Beauty, Usual Suspects, and House of Cards jokes and cast reunions.  But, alas, not a host for the ages even though he seemed like a smart choice on paper.

Glenn Close presented Bette Midler her Best Actress prize

Backstage before commercial breaks Crazy Ex Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom brought the theater nerd funny and maybe she should host in the future! More after the jump including a complete list of winners...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar302017

Power Linkers

Mashable the 8 main excuses Hollywood uses for whitewashing, and why they're all bunk in this day and age
Film Doctor 5 amusing notes on "Evil Disney Hegemony" and Emma Watson as Belle
The Muse Rich Juzwiak on the recent LGBT scraps thrown in mainstream Hollywood movies. Frankly I've been insulted, rather than thankful, by both of them. I just saw Power Rangers and I cannot believe people are crediting this movie with being LGBT inclusive. The Yellow Ranger never even admits she's queer. She just stays literally silent (and you know what silence equals) when someone asks if she has a girlfriend.

 

David Poland distributors are considering shrinking the theatrical release window again. Is this just suicide? (I hate to be an alarmist but I totally agree with David Poland's thinking here
Women in Hollywood interviews The Zookeeper's Wife author Diane Ackerman
Time lists the 50 best podcasts right now. I almost never listen to podcasts. Probably because I have no commute. I should get on that.
Pajiba on the costs of running independent film sites - ugh this hurts to read. It's so hard and we dont even do half as well as they do!
IndieWire Paul Thomas Anderson's fashion drama gets a Christmas day release 
World of Reel the early reactions to the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales are actually positive 
Awards Daily talks to composer Trevor Morris (as much as I hated Iron Fist, I liked his work on it!) 
Broadway Blog Bette Midler's super gracious moment with an understudy on Hello Dolly! 

Finally, Two Directing Offers of Note
Joss Whedon might write & direct a Batgirl movie. The deal is supposedly close to happening but he had such a terrible experience with Warner Bros on his Wonder Woman screenplay (and such a difficult time with Marvel on Avengers: Age of Ultron) that this is quite a surprise. The money must be really good but we keep hoping he'll create an original television series again soon rather than reshaping other people's brands. 

Jordan Peele is being considered to direct both Akira and The Flash at Warner Bros thanks to the huge success of his directorial debut Get Out. But both those projects seem so troubled. The first because every iteration Hollywood has dreamt up for Akira includes removing its very Asianness (goddamnit Hollywood, just stop. Asia is an enormous enormous market for movies. You make no sense!) and the second from DC's habitual superhero and filmmaker interference problems. Wouldn't it be better if Peele follows his own muse? That worked pretty damn well for him the first time.

Thursday
Mar162017

Well, Hello Linky

Playbill Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh got their Sardi's caricatures this week
BFI Pedro Almodóvar recommends 13 Spanish films, some classics and some recent, including Jamon Jamon, Blancanieves (♥︎), and Peppermint Frappé
McCarter want to see Murder on the Orient Express on stage before the big screen remake later this year? A new production just opened in Princeton with a pretty great cast that includes Veanne Cox, Julie Halston and gorgeous Max Von Essen who should've won the Tony two years back for An American in Paris


Jezebel "Carol Without Women" boring crap or still beautiful abstraction? Must watch!
MNPP Sam Claflin will costar in the next film from brilliant Babadook director Jennifer Kent
Interview talks to the new Iron Fist Finn Jones
Ashlee Marie shows you how to make a standing Lego Batman cake
Shudder a new streaming service for horror fans is streaming Ken Russell's notorious and brilliant and often banned The Devils (1971). It's so hard to get in the US so see it while you have a chance!
Coming Soon Jennifer Aniston will costar in Anne Fletcher's YA adaptation Dumplin' about child beauty pageants
Tom & Lorenzo judge the "stylists & stars" Hollywood Reporter covers. Fun 
Queerty did you hear that RuPaul got married? He and his boyfriend of 23 years tied the knot in January
Variety Kleber Mendonça Filho, who gave us the great Aquarius last year, will preside over the Critics Week jury at Cannes this summer 
Coming Soon Married actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt will co star for the first time in the horror thriller A Quiet Place. Krasinski will also direct

Exit Tweet
Bette Midler reminding us that she's back but we're too poor to see her do Dolly Levi on Broadway. Thanks, Bette!