And now, a couple movie reviews, my way. Which basically means I’d never get paid for this in an actual magazine unless that magazine were titled What They Meant To Me [comma] It’s All About.
I saw two music-movies this weekend. I love music-movies despite the fact that I’m one of those people who watches the VMAs to mostly say, “Who the heck is that?” Aside: I have a few thoughts on last night’s Video Music Awards, though they’ve mostly all been said, and I will only add my own observation that I find a true singer in NORMAL clothes backed by beautiful piano (and/or in a sparkly tux backed by dancers a la Beyonce) such a refreshing breath of BRILLIANCE next to all that exhibitionary crazysauce. Carrying on.
Country Strong broke my heart. That’s the first movie I saw, Country Strong with Gweneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, and other people I didn’t really know. It’s very country – you should know that going in. And it’s very win-some, lose-some. One character loses the struggle between the pursuit of life and the pursuit of fame. She really, really loses. But between the good things she said and the fact that they witnessed her struggle so intimately, two other characters totally figure it out. I. Bawled. And I bawled at the sad part, so it definitely lives in my mind as a terribly sad film with a powerful message and a couple of memorable songs – if you can stand the country, which I can.
Justin Bieber mended it. I completely missed Justin Bieber as a You Tube sensation and then only vaguely began to notice him when you simply couldn’t not.
Still, I wanted to see his movie, Never Say Never. I believed all the famous people who said it was moving/inspiring/convincing-as-a-reason-to-like-the-kid. And the only comments I heard online were similar to what I expected to feel: Surrender from indifference to some level of appreciation. In fact, I expected to totally like the guy after watching it.
And – I’m going to lose so many of my readers for this – I totally do. It wasn’t the kind of inspiration I expected. He’s neither a musical child prodigy nor a kid with an unnatural diligence for music lessons. He’s just a kid with a really nice voice and a pretty natural sense of rhythm who really wanted to take them both to the stage. He wasn’t poor or sad or alone before he was discovered. And he wasn’t so much an overnight sensation as an over-year sensation based on major persistence. (Mostly with social networking and You Tube – thus the uniqueness of his fame since that hasn’t worked quite this well with anyone else).
The thing is, I cared that he sold out Madison Square Garden when it’s what he aimed to do. I like the song Never Say Never and a couple others on the DVD as well. I love the part where his dad cries, the part where his grandpa cries, and the part where his mom says what she wants most is that he get his worth not from what he does but from who he is. I even told my boys they should watch it because it will inspire you to go for your dreams and it will teach you that you have to work for them. Also – though I didn’t tell them this – it encourages you to pray before concerts, to pray when you’re sick, and to pray over your pizza even when it’s just you and three other teenage boys. I liked that part too.
There’s only one part I’m not so sure about, and that’s the One-Less-Lonely-Girl portion of the concert where he sings a song of the same lyrics and they bring up a random girl from the audience for him to sing it to. She is weeping, and I can’t decide if I like that she gets to feel special or if I want to weep myself with the fear that having Justin Bieber sing to you one time at a concert is probably more likely to increase your future loneliness in life than to cure it. I’d be less likely to show this movie to daughters if I had them than I am to show it to my boys. I didn’t personally struggle with the difference between being inspired by him and being inspired that marrying him is the only way my life could have meaning. Many little girls might. Though I’m probably not giving little girls enough credit here. Infatuations with Bieber-types are, after all, usually just a phase.
Now, I’m kind of doubting any of my normal commenters saw this film, nor many of my readers. It will be so fun if one of you proves me wrong. The rest of you should probably know I will from now on discourage Bieber-hating in my presence. Though, if you know me, you can imagine I probably would have discouraged this anyway.