!!! The Lady Gaga doc is on Netflix right now and I watched it!!! K- honestly I didn’t know what I was going to think because she kind of lost me in the shock and awe campaign that was the meat dress and most of what followed it and then with Joanne, a lot of them don’t really seem like bangers they’re kind of melodically meandering and A Million Reasons is beautiful (especially in live recordings and when I saw her do it on carpool karaoke I cried which is embarrassing on a lot of different levels, but it’s also true about me and I need to embrace that) but this doc gave me a new respect which is probably exactly what it intended to do, and hey it worked!!!
SO to start. This doc starts sort of following the creation of her new album Joanne (is it a PR move to gain hype? Probably!). There’s lots of ‘strategy’ behind this kind of stuff that I do think is considered but also people can just want to share things and you can’t be cynical about everything otherwise what’s the point of living and sometimes you just have to accept someone’s art even if it’s in the form of a Netflix documentary. Great, now that we got that out of the way, I loved it!!! She was a producer so I thought that meant it would be kind of fluffy and only show her in a good light and mostly it did (Well, there are a lot of scenes of her crying and I guess you could argue that makes her sympathetic but I wouldn’t necessarily say that is ‘good’ light) but ANYWAY.
Basically, the name of the album and many of the songs revolve around her dad’s sister who died when she was 19 because she had Lupus and some other stuff and she was an artist and had lesions on her hands and the doctors kind of didn’t know what to do in the 70’s so they said they needed to amputate her hands which was heartbreaking because she was an artist but I also think the operation didn’t go well because she died shortly afterwards and it affected the whole family and Lady Gaga (Stephanie!) was little and was around this and absorbed it/was influenced by the effect it had on her whole family.
(That was one sentence and I know some of my old professors would be horrified but I’m proud that I could distill the impetus for her entire album in one breathless thought!!)
There’s a scene where she’s playing the title track for her Grandma and she’s crying and her dad has to leave the room and her Grandma says twice that it’s beautiful but not to get too maudlin about it because it was a long time ago and everyone needs to keep living. Her Grandma seemed like a fucking G and she had peaches and Lady Gaga was like, “Oh a peach! Can I have a peach Grandma?” and her Grandma was like, “Of course, anything you find in there you can have” and I think lots of Grandma’s sign a secret code where they all buy those hangers that are wrapped in ribbon/crocheted and agree to love unconditionally and be tough for the whole family.
The doc was beautifully shot, we went to a desert music video, the superbowl, a christening, a concert on a building in New York, many venues and places. I was surprised by how, I’m not sure the word, but maybe accessible she was? She just kinda puts it out there. Also something I learned that I liked was that she was talking about male producers and how they treat female artists especially in pop music and she was saying about how all her weird fashion and outfits were in a direct response to someone saying she had to be sexy/revealing and that it was her way of staying in control and feeling like herself.
Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia, and a lot of scenes focused on the pain she felt daily and the medical/physical stuff she had to do to deal with & live with that.
She hit her producer’s car one day and money was never mentioned. I’m sure they did off-screen? But imagine getting into a car accident and not being worried about it affecting your life in any way more than if the person was mad at you.
Her parents and sister were around (the christening was for her nephew, yes she looked better than the baby), her dad seems to be traveling with her/around the most.
Before she did the Superbowl (that was kind of what the second half of the doc was focused on, and the last scene is her going out to it) I was happily surprised that she was running around and joking with everyone-I would be nervous and testy and a mess probably but she was like, “I’m not gonna do this again so I have to have all the fun right now!” which is an incredibly healthy way to look at it.
For a lot of this I was struck by similarities between her and Amy Winehouse (and not just because her new look is big hair and mostly eyeliner) they’re both jazz focused/trained talented young TINY white women (Jewish & Italian respectively) that Tony Bennet loved, and I couldn’t help but thinking that this would perhaps be what Amy’s life looked like had she gone to rehab the first time (if you haven’t watched THAT doc it’s very well done and incredibly heartbreaking and you end up hating her dad).
The love stuff was also interesting, there’s one part where there’s her audio (no video) and she’s crying and saying how all her successes in life never line up, whenever her career is going well her love life takes a hit. She even lines it up, “I sell 10 million records I lose Matt. I sell 30 million records I lose Luc. I get a movie, I lose Taylor” referring to her ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney who she dated for five years and was breaking up with while this was shooting. It was sad. At one point she says, “I go from being touched all day and talked to, to being completely alone in silence” and that was a lot and I’m just glad she has a dog, those are necessary for these moments.
Love is difficult! I read that she’s dating someone now and I’m happy for her. I really like her after this!! I LOVED her in high school and college and like I said I kind of fell off for a while, but I’m back full force so this PR move definitely worked on me.
At one point when she’s describing Joanne (a very stripped down aesthetic-no costumes, no wigs, etc) she’s like, “It’s boring for me to be shocking everyone all the time. We’ve all seen it. I’m bored of it” but then later she’s wondering if she’s going to let down some of her older fans by not having the extravagance- it seems exhausting wondering what other people’s opinions of you will be all the time.
But she does look beautiful. And Tiny! So tiny! Mark Ronson came out looking great in this, like a collaborative feminist which I hope he is.
There’s a great scene where she buys her own CD in Walmart which was cute but also probably a marketing ploy???? (I hate that I’m being cynical now anticipating this through other’s eyes!! When I was watching it I felt genuine like for this scene/these things but I also felt the strategy. Can someone on this level ever be rid of it really?)
I love her and think she’s beautiful and I think the song A Million Reasons is gorgeous and about Taylor Kinney not her dead Aunt’s hands but art can be many things!!! Also the song Joanne is phenomenal and I want to buy the album now and this worked on me!!! I am a corporate shill!!!
It also made me jealous that I’m not a songwriter because there you can just write the words you feel and with comedy you have to find something that’s funny about it you can talk about otherwise it’s just self-indulgent and boring but there’s some parts of heartbreak/sadness that aren’t funny you’re just heartbroken and sad and you want to be vulnerable about that even if it doesn’t give anything to anyone else.
There’s also a weird “You Go Girl!” duet with her and Florence Welch that I wanted to be on board with but seemed a little corny and I didn’t like the song that much but I’m sure when it comes out I’ll love it unconditionally. We also see a lot of her tattoos in this movie because she’s not wearing very many clothes (approve!!) and there are some BEAUTIFUL ones and it made me want to get more connecting/abstract pieces.
3.5/5 pink felt hats, would masturbate again just for the Madonna mentions!!!