Monday, 6 February 2012

Question - "Is Madge infallible?"

On the IMDb site (where anyone can rate and write a review of any film) as at today, 38% of 1106 people have given Madonna's first film as director, 'W.E.', a perfect 10/10 as a score, while 28% have given it the minimum rating of 1/10.
One would think that the in-between possible scores would be gradually graded, with increasing percentages approaching each end. But no - only one of the intermediate percentages is over 5% of total votes, and that only very slightly. So, opinions seem to be largely polarised.
I may be doing some an injustice but I'm assuming that a significant proportion of those who gave this film a max score (presumably because for them it's absolutely perfect in every possible way) opine that the lady just cannot do anything wrong and is beyond criticism. Dare I even ask if some were already prepared to give the film the maximum rating of "films-just cannot-get-any-better-than-this!" even before they'd seen it?
Having now viewed 'W.E.' myself, I find it hardly credible that anyone can think this film completely faultless - but, to be honest, I have never given any film a '10' - and those I've seen to which I've given even a just less-than-perfect score of '9' can be numbered on the fingers of one hand.
However, I cannot make a corresponding assumption that those who have scored it a measly 1/10 have such an aversion to La Ciccone that they think of her as simply unable to put a foot right, otherwise they would not have forked out good money to see this film in the first place. I therefore posit that those who scored it at minimum would tend to be more open-minded and had been prepared to give the film the benefit of the doubt. Is my logic at fault?

If you want to know what my own score was (you already know it wasn't a '10') you'll have to wait for the second instalment of my new monthly film review blog which will next appear shortly after the end of the month .
Oh, and btw, I used to be a totally keen Madonna fan, from the beginning ('Holiday' and 'Like A Virgin') up to and including the 1998 'Ray of Light' album. Since then, must admit that my enthusiasm, though still there to some degree, is not as fevered as it once was - and anyway, I'm gradually losing touch and sympathy with pop music anyway as I advance in years.

But am I eagerly awaiting the next Madonna-directed film? Ah, that would be telling!


  1. Ray,

    I didn't know you had a blog. How did I miss it?

    Re my views on Madonna...I used to like her (in the 80's) until I saw a couple of interviews she gave. She is a self-absorbed ass. I don't like her thus I would be prejudiced to anything she is involved in. My opinion didn't change either when she accepted a Golden Globe for her song in said movie mentioned in our blog. All she did was thank herself.
    My negative opinion of Madge remains negative.

    1. Oh Ron, it's so good to have you here. Welcome! I certainly didn't give your absence any sustained thought. I know that others follow many more blogs than I do and it has to come down to deciding on priorities within restricted time available.
      I have to admit that in recent days I have quite consciously been neglecting your own blog, for the reason that sometimes your health issues come too close to home. If you've scrolled back on some of mine from the last few weeks (which I'm NOT asking you to do, so here I can save you the trouble) you'll have seen that I've just been through the biggest health scare of my life so far - though it's still only modest when compared with what some, including yourself, are or have gone through. But now that you are here I'll be pleased to return to the habit of looking at your blog regularly, and taking some cheer from the photos of those beautiful flowers you post now and again. So, once more, lovely to have you here, my friend of 'our' generation!

      As for Madge, although I'm not quite as down on her as you clearly are, in recent years she does seem to have been over-full of herself. I suppose she always was so but in the 80s, which you mention, we could see a fragility behind the facade, even though she wouldn't have admitted it was there. But now she's become so outrageously prima donna-ish I think she believes her own fantasy of herself as a goddess in actuality who deserves respect and worship just for being who she is.
      And whereas her records in the 80s (and 90s) for me were unparalleled by any other solo female artiste of those times, nowadays I don't see them as anything really special at all. (Though that one using the Abba riff was pretty good - but only because it was already familiar, I suppose.)
      And - just to get it off my chest - trust her to have made the biggest clunker of ALL the James Bond title songs (for 'Die Another Day') when there were already more than a few contenders for that title!
      No, I can't see her recovering in my estimation, whereas you had long since given up on her.

    2. Ray,

      I think I tried to find your blog initially when you first commented on my blog but I was blocked. I always look for blog links on anyone who takes the time to comment on my blog. Frequently I am blocked so I don't search any farther. I think I found your blog this time because I was concerned that I had not seen any comments from you.
      I am glad I found your blog and I am looking forward to reading your old posts.
      Re Madonna. When she was first popular in the 80's I actually found her attractive both physically and as a personality. You're right, she radiated a kind of vulnerability that I found attractive. I especially remember an appearance by her on the David Letterman Show in a push-up bra that sort of turned me on which I found very strange because I've always considered myself 100% gay. I've always liked her music. However, I do get turned off when I see a personality give an interview and they're all guarded with their answers and untruthful. Warren Beatty gives those kinds of interviews as well as Brad Pitt. I don't know what it is inside of me, but I just lose interest in these people because they seem so vain and uncaring. I have the same feeling about Rob Lowe who I thought was one of the handsomest men in the movies in his time. But once I saw him talk and all full of himself, I lost interest in him. I have the same reaction to men I meet in real life. I once had an affair with a guy who was as gorgeous as any movie star today but once I got to know him, he was very ugly and I quickly lost interest. I'm more turned on to kindness and caring than I am to beauty that is only skin deep. But of course I don't mind a good-looking man either but it has to be the whole package. I'll take an average looking man any day with a kind heart over a gorgeous super model kind of man who is vain and arrogant.

    3. Some very revealing comments about yourself here, Ron. I'm particularly bemused by your getting turned on, to your own surprise, by this phenomenon of a 'lady'.
      I think your remarks about beauty being only only physically superficial are so true - and unfortunately we only find it out from experiences later on in our lives. And yet we rarely seem to learn from the mistake, do we? - or have you learnt to deal with it now?
      I'm certainly with you on a guy needing to be attractive on the inside, though having a handsome exterior as well doesn't harm in helping things along.

  2. I was once asked to leave the house when I failed to recognize a Madonna song.

    1. And I should think so too, Dr Spo! - but only if it was a pre-2000 song. If it was one since then I might have been actually impressed that you hadn't known it, and perhaps cracked open a bottle of plonk to celebrate your ignorance.

      Btw: the word 'ignorance' used in tandem with your name sounds so....well, ODD!

    2. I agree with you Tiger. After seeing a few of her recent interviews, I lost interest. Then to see her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, I couldn't believe how full of herself she was. When she was younger, I found her attractive. Now I don't. Whatever she had, she lost it. I didn't see her half-time show (I don't watch football, too many commercials) but I wanted to see a YouTube snippet of it but I wasn't surprised when her company pulled the video. Might make a few more bucks you know. That's just like Madonna. Selfish and greedy. I don't care anymore.

  3. I am wondering why a film was made about two people who are no longer relevant and led totally empty and useless lives. From what I have read, it appears that the some of the story line was borrowed from Streep's film, "Julie and Julia."

    As for Madonna, well I don't know. I have never forgiven her for destroying my favorite musical, "Evita." That said, she still has got it. Watch her half-time show during the Super Bowl. Amazing!

    1. Paul, the story of this romance has been covered so many times in both documentaries and drama reconstructions I can only think that Madonna, in trying to prevent us yawning, hit upon the idea of having a parallel story of a modern extra-marital affair - the only link between the two strands being, as far as I could see, that the female half of the contemporary couple had an interest in Mrs Simpson who also kept showing up as a ghost figure. Otherwise it didn't really work, feeling like when two films are showing simultaneously on two different TV channels and one keeps switching between them so as to try not to miss anything.
      Yes, the affair itself certainly did rock the monarchy and the entire British establishment way back in 1936, but once the pair disappeared into ho-hum retirement in France hardly a word was heard about them until their deaths some 40 and 50 years later.
      Btw: If Edward VIII had not abdicated we would now have had King Charles III and Queen Diana - if they had still married, of course. Such are the quirks of history!

      I didn't know about the borrow from 'Julie and Julia' but now that you've said it......

      I'm pleased you also like 'Evita'. I've seen it five times on stage and it never palls. In fact all those early Lloyd Webber musicals, most especially the three written with Tim Rice, are quite exceptional. Apart from the glorious 'tunes' they have such clever lyrics.

      However my personal favourite of ALL musicals - as it is for many, I'm afraid - has got to be, rather predictably, 'Les Mis'. But having said that I'd happily settle for Evita as alternative.
      I didn't think that Madonna was actually BAD in the film though it would have been more interesting to have had Meryl in the role she wanted so badly. (Didn't Faye Dunaway audition for it as well?)

      I've heard a lot in the last day or two about Madge's 12-minute interval spot at the Super Bowl. So now with your recommendation in particular I'm going to see what all the fuss was about.

      Thanks for your visit, Paul. Always appreciated.

    2. Paul, I've just watched the Super Bowl act - and even on a jerky YouTube video it's got to be the half-time performance to beat them all! (Freddy Mercury would have been so envious!)
      However I must also say that those early songs, especially 'Like A Prayer' really got my eyes seriously misting over - more because of being so evocative of happier times, of friends now long lost, of chances not taken etc etc. They are still so very powerful and for that reason alone I'd be really sorry if I could never hear the old Madonna again.

    3. Ray, Happy that I was instrumental in getting you to watch the video. And yes, I was emotionally affected as you were. While we are on half-time performances, did you ever see Diana Ross's turn?

      Now to "Evita." I was so disappointed in Madonna's staging of the balconey scene at the Casa Rosada. The song was powerful, but what made it more so was her entrance wearing that gown. It seems that filmakers cannot successfully bring a hit musical to the screen,e.g. "A Chorus Line', 'Phantom.' The only exception is 'Chicago.' Interestingly enough, when it first appeared on B'way in the late 70's, it did not do too well, even with the dynamic cast they had -Gwen and Chita and later Liza, whom I was privileged to see.

      Just have to tell you I saw 'Evita' 12 times - 10 with LaPone and 2 with her matinee replacements. We can make it 13 if you count the DVD with Elena Rogers. Also, 'Evita' opens on B'way in March with Rogers and Ricky Martin. Can't wait.

    4. Hi again, Paul.
      No, I didn't see Diana Ross's turn. Seems I'm missing something? But a large part of the 'why not?' is my lukewarm interest in sports. Only athletics and football (what you'd call soccer) can getting me more than a little excited. So I wouldn't have been watching the SuperBowl games in any case. I know that, of course, you're only referring to the half-time performances by celebrities, but not being interested in what surrounds it then I give the whole thing a miss. You're now saying that I should just catch the acts themselves in video, as I've just done for Madge - and you're probably right. So, okay (with a bit of reluctance) because you say so I'll search out Diana's.

      I'd certainly FAR rather watch another live 'Evita' performance in the theatre than the film again (though I have got the latter on video).
      Although I'm not as down on M. in the film as you are, there are oddities that grate - like giving Evita the wonderful 'Another Suitcase, Another Hall'. Time Rice did explain why they did this in the film - something about cinema audiences not having the sophistication to understand the situation of the prostitute, so they simplified it. Though I think he is largely correct I would have kept it as it was - and if the cinema audience didn't get it, then too bad for them!

      I'm with you on the film of Chicago. Although I've never seen it on stage (yet) I thought the film was pretty good - though shame about songs being cut out, but that happens with nearly all filmed musicals.

      For me the (only?) star of the film of 'Chorus Line' was the choreography - FAR superior to the live theatre show, in which the dancing was which appallingly unimaginative.

      I think so far the only case I've seen where the film was better than the stage version was 'The King and I' even though the latter (at the London Palladium in the late 70s) had, as in the film, Yul Brynner, but with Virgina McKenna, neither of whom were especially good. If only the role of Anna had been played by Sally Ann Howes! She would have been perfect. But I don't know if she'd even been asked.)

      The 'Phantom' film, despite such on-screen opulence was strangely forgettable, though I did like the graveyard scene.
      I saw it live with Michael Crawford - and Sarah Brightman's understudy (She being 'indisposed' - lucky for me!). I forget the young lady's name but she was REALLY good.

      I truly envy you on your March booking. Like Les Mis, (and more than a few others) I could watch a live Evita every single month and never tire of it. Actually the best complete Evita I've seen to date was in Munich - and in German! It was done with such affection and with such relish, leaving me breathless with praise.

      If on Broadway Ricky Martin plays the role (presumably the 'Che' figure) with facial hair I'd be swooning into a faint and I'd miss the show. Do tell me how it goes.
      I think the first time I saw it in London's West End was also with Patti LaPone - Let's see, I've still got the programme somewhere.....

  4. I have to agree with Ron and Urspo. Except for her first album and one or two songs after that, I was never that big of a fan of hers. And recently we saw her interview on The Graham Norton Show (whom I adore!) and we couldn't believe how full of herself she was! Frankly, after seeing that, I couldn't care less about any project of hers anymore...

    1. T/C, I somehow thought you would have been a B-I-I-I-G fan. Shows how wrong one can be - and I apologise for the 'slur'.
      I didn't see the Graham Norton interview though I knew she was on. I'm afraid his hee-haw laugh just grates on me - though I'm hardly the right person to complain about the sound of other people's mirth.
      I'm not quite at the 'couldn't-care-less' stage about her yet. Maybe I ought to work on it?

  5. anne marie in philly8 February 2012 at 05:29

    nope, no one is infallible. not even me. still, for a 50+ broad, she is looking F-I-N-E!

  6. Yes, Anne Marie. But if I'd had the resources that she has, with the help of a little attention given to my crow's feet, I'd also be looking 20 years younger than I am.

  7. She's reached her life's goal (practically unlimited wealth) so she can take a break if she wants. The fact that she continues to make music and put on spectacles just means she loves what she does, and I appreciate her for that.

    I think Madonna reached her apex at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards show where she did a live performance of Vogue in the style of the old French Aristocracy. That night she owned the world. She's coasted slowly downhill since then.

    1. Cubby, although I would miss her a bit if she retired I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Yes, I'd agree that she reached her very best around the end of the 80s. After that, for me she remained on a high plateau for a few more years until, around the millenium change, the descent began.
      I think she ought to consider taking a long break, probably permanently, on the laurels of her extremely creditable legacy. Anything she does now only reminds me of how good she once was!

  8. Can't wait to read what you have to say about the Madonna film. Like you, I was a fan of her music, but have lost that admiration over the years (and I still like "pop" music).

    1. I'll give you a sneak preview, Mitch. I give it a score of 3/10.