Issue #10: Lady Gaga Slays The Silver Screen
plus, Who Caused Nipplegate?, Obsessed with Pete Davidson, and Happy Thanksgiving From Ye
I may not be an unbiased person, but I am fair. I love Lady Gaga more than any other living performer, so please consider that as you read my take on her performance as Patrizia Reggiani in House Of Gucci. Gaga delivers something that I haven’t received since I was a teenager studying some of the best actresses of all time — immense, classic Hollywood acting power that shines straight from the eyes through the silver screen. She is Vivien Leigh, Liza Minnelli, and Barbra Streisand without being a knock-off of the greats; genuinely legendary and fresh at the same time.
Let me get a couple of things out of the way. First, the accent is off, okay? Even Italian dialect coach Francesca De Martini discredited Gaga’s accent telling the Daily Beast, “I feel bad saying this, but her accent is not exactly an Italian accent; it sounds more Russian.” Oof. Secondly, the movie misses the mark. It is entertaining, but it is not the serious true-crime drama it is intended to be. If you haven’t already read it, here is the link to my review of the film.
While the dramatic pillars of the Ridley Scott film waver, Lady Gaga stands firm in her role. Patrizia Reggiani is an average woman who married into the Gucci family, showed savvy business sense, got drunk on love and wealth, and turned murderous as a woman scorned. Gaga plays her to the hilt.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio, but I’ve always had an affinity for women in film who are forsaken by life (and men), sparking high-level emotional drama. Much earlier in life, I wanted to be an actress. I studied three actresses and roles in particular — Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara (back then, I was painfully culturally ignorant to the racism in Gone With The Wind), Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
All three of these roles showcase young, wide-eyed, optimistic women nearly broken by the shifting life circumstances or the wars around them and, yes, by men. The actresses all use fiery, coquettish, plucky physicality to showcase the youth of their characters. However, once their characters’ naivety has been extinguished, their bodies become still, and they use their eyes to convey despair, anger and determination. Oh, should I mention that they all won Oscars for their performances?
I saw these same elements in Lady Gaga’s performance. At the film’s beginning, she uses her body to exude youthfulness, vitality, and sex appeal. As Patrizia carves out an influencer’s role in the Gucci business, Gaga’s movements become brassier, more angular and straightforward. When she is unceremoniously dumped by her husband, Maurizio Gucci, Gaga stills her body and we see everything - the pain, the love/hate, and the steely murder in Patrizia’s eyes.
I liked Gaga in A Star Is Born, but I could still see a lot of Lady Gaga in the portrayal of Ally. In House Of Gucci, Gaga erases the Lady Gaga persona and embodies the identity, heart and soul of Patrizia Reggiani, a woman who Gaga said she lived and breathed through method acting for nine months. It pains me to know that people will link House Of Gucci’s Camp qualities with Gaga. Lady Gaga, the pop star, is Camp, but Lady Gaga as Patrizia is, surprisingly, one of the least Camp parts of the movie. She is deadly serious.
I am biased, but I do think my assessment is fair. I truly believe that Lady Gaga holds this movie up, proving that she is the present and future of movie stardom while harkening Hollywood leading ladies of silver screens past.
OMG! I didn’t want my own thoughts about Gaga’s performance to be clouded by the reviews of others so I waited until I finished writing this piece to see what others are saying.
“With House of Gucci, you get a jumble of stories jockeying for screen time, and then you get a supernova blazing at the center of all of it that burns everything superfluous away. If the film is remembered for anything, it’s for being Exhibit A as what a great actor she is. Forget Gucci. Long live the house that Gaga built.” - David Fear for Rolling Stone Magazine
“Gaga’s face is avid and open, with a fervor that volts through her eyes; she has a born actress’s gift for letting you read her emotions while holding a nugget of mystery in check.” - Owen Gleiberman for Variety
See, I told you I was fair!
Who Caused Nipplegate?
Yes, I am talking about Nipplegate again. Over the years, I have had in-person and online discussions with many of you about how it came to be that Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s right breast during the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show.
In 2004 I was watching the football concert live and, even with my eagle eyes for all things scandalous I didn’t even notice the “wardrobe malfunction” when it happened. That’s how fast it was. I do remember the instant replays (blurring the offending breast, of course) and outcries from sportscasters and newscasters at the time. I watched the media drag Janet through hell while Justin continued to climb to the top of the entertainment ladder. The question has always been this: wtf happened?
A new documentary from The New York Times, Malfunction: The Dressing Down Of Janet Jackson, was poised to answer the 17-year-old question. The doc is currently streaming on Crave, so I sat down to watch it, hoping to get the answers we have all been looking for. Unfortunately, I did not get THE answer but the documentary did reveal the culprit who ultimately ensured that Janet Jackson’s career was halted after the Super Bowl debacle.
The documentary features an interview with the Halftime Show director, Beth McCarthy-Miller. McCarthy-Miller had a long run as a director for SNL and she had just finished directing the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards (yes, the one where Madonna kissed Britney and Christina). We see McCarthy-Miller, a white, now middle-aged woman wearing a gold cross and chain over a red turtleneck as she tearfully recounts her version of events. She claims that a fully choreographed rehearsal took place on the Thursday before the show, and it did not include any planned wardrobe malfunction. She insists that Jackson, Timberlake and Jackson’s stylist must have planned the more scandalous performance without anyone’s knowledge.
Jackson’s stylist, Wayne Scot Lukas, resurfaced on Monday to refute McCarthy-Miller’s account after receiving death threats in response to his alleged role in Jackson’s demise. Lukas spoke to Access Hollywood, and he maintains that the tearing of the bodice of Jackson’s wardrobe was planned, choreographed and known to everyone involved. He asserts that the producers were supposed to cut the screen to black just as Timberlake took the breast covering off and that global viewers were not supposed to see Jackson’s exposed breast. The disgruntled stylist also trashes Timberlake for coming off stage and telling reporters that there had been a “wardrobe malfunction” (I didn’t realize the clever bastard coined the phrase). Lukas is vehement that it was not a malfunction at all; the costume functioned as he designed it. Is anyone else tired and confused? I’m exhausted. So, let’s get to the less murky part of the story.
The FCC ( Federal Communications Commission) fined CBS $550 000 for an indecency violation and Les Moonves, CEO of CBS at the time, was royally pissed. He asked Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson to make public apologies to redeem the reputation of the network. Both Timberlake and Jackson made taped apologies. But, according to the documentary, this was not good enough for Moonves; he wanted an in-person apology. Timberlake visited Moonves at CBS headquarters in Los Angeles and reportedly gave him the apology he demanded. Janet Jackson did not.
What happened next? Both Timberlake and Jackson were scheduled to attend the 2004 Grammy Awards, which were to air on CBS on February 8, exactly one week after the Super Bowl. However, Moonves reportedly revoked Jackson’s invitation to the Grammys while Timberlake’s invitation remained intact. In the end, Timberlake went on to win Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and he used his acceptance speech to deliver another apology for his part in the Super Bowl scandal. Again, he was a good, obedient boy.
Behind the scenes, Moonves was on a campaign to destroy Jackson’s career. Moonves just happened to be the Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Viacom. After the Super Bowl fallout, he ordered Viacom properties VH1 and MTV and all Viacom-owned radio stations to stop playing Jackson’s songs and music videos. This command ultimately led to Jackson’s first-ever album flop. Domita Jo was dead on arrival.
It often takes karma a long time to find its way to people, and it took exactly 14 years in Moonves’ case. Moonves was forced to resign from CBS in 2018 after numerous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault were made against him by multiple women. Byeeee!!!!
Although the answer to the age-old question “whodunnit?” or at least “who knew it?” is not exactly answered in the documentary, one thing does become clear: the white boy cried to the white man in power and the Black woman took the fall. Sound familiar?
Ms. Jackson will have her say soon. She is reportedly set to address the topic in her two-part film, Janet, airing on A&E and Lifetime in January 2022. I cannot wait!
Readers Are Obsessed With Pete Davidson
For years, I have been playing the role of informal celebrity gossip reporter. In every friendship group and workplace throughout my life, I have been the person people turn to when they want to get to the bottom of a celebrity situation. People know that I will go full on private investigator equipped with a healthy dose of intuition to get to the truth.
Never, and I mean, never, have so many people privately DM’d me about any celebrity situation as much as people have about Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson. You are legit OBSESSED! And, yes, I will say it, A LOT of you are secretly obsessed with Pete Davidson. I will not name names, but women (heterosexual, bisexual and lesbians) are OBSESSED with PD. You think that he’s sweet and funny, and you wonder if the rumours about his big dick are true. Most of you won’t leave comments on my public posts, but you slide into my DMs to confess your hotness for him, AND I LOVE IT!!! So, as a tribute to your obsession (not mine!!!) here are some thirst traps for my closet Pete lovers.
Happy Thanksgiving From Ye
The artist formerly known as Kanye has legally changed his name to Ye and Obsessed! respects people’s chosen names.
Last night Ye made a surprise appearance at LA Mission on Skid Row (as reported by Page Six). He met with the CEO and president to share ideas about working with the mission.
Ye spoke to the people at LA Mission and, after reportedly saying some things that were on point, he then veered off into more publicly familiar territory.
“If the enemy can separate Kimye, there’s going to be millions of families that feel like that separation is ok…but when God brings Kimye together, there’s going to be millions of families that are going to be influenced to see that they can overcome the work of the separation, of trauma the devil has used to capitalize to keep people in misery while people step over homeless people to go to the Gucci store.” - Ye
For those of you already struggling to digest your Thanksgiving dinner, I am sorry that you now have to try to digest that statement.
But, wait, did Ye provide the final Gucci bun for my sandwich writing method for this newsletter? Yes, he did! And, for that, I am eternally thankful.
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