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Celebrity Slam - A Shade is Born

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Have you ever wondered how famous people feel when a project for which they are particularly known is remade? Living as we do in an era of reboots and remakes, one can imagine that a certain type of person is irritated or perhaps even infuriated by the fact that their superstar vehicle is now being driven by someone else.

However, we wouldn’t have guessed that Barbra Streisand was one of those people.

Streisand was appearing on an Australian talk show to promote her new album when she started throwing some shade at the 2018 version of “A Star is Born.” The film – which starred Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga – is the latest iteration of that story; the previous incarnation, released back in 1976, featured Kris Kristofferson and Babs herself.

In the interview, Streisand seemed to take the film to task for – wait for it – being unoriginal.

“At first, when I heard it was going to be done again, it was supposed to be Will Smith and Beyoncé. I thought, that’s interesting. Really make it different again, different kind of music, integrated actors, I thought that was a great idea,” she said. “So, I was surprised when I saw how alike it was to the version that I did in 1976.”

She went on to add that she thought it was the “wrong idea,” but conceded that the film was an obvious commercial and critical success. Still, she didn’t let that stop her from one last dig, closing with “I don’t care so much about success as I do originality.”

Lest we forget, Babs was all effusive praise back when the movie was released, with nothing but positive things to say about Gaga, Cooper and the film.

There are a number of hilarious aspects to this little kerfuffle, so we’re going to take a little time and unpack them one at a time.

First, Barbra Streisand is too goddamned famous to be dabbling in this kind of petty bullcrap. Seriously – this is one of the biggest entertainment icons of the 20th century. You don’t need to be talking smack about a movie that came out three years ago because it’s too close to a movie that came out 45 years ago. It’s been half-a-century, you know? It can’t possibly be healthy to hold onto negative energy like that.

Secondly, YOUR VERSION WAS A REMAKE!!! There have been multiple versions of “A Star is Born” in Hollywood history. The first version was released in 1937, while a remake – starring Judy Garland and James Mason – hit screens in 1954. Then came Babs and Kris, followed by the latest version.

It takes a special kind of petty to criticize someone’s remake of your movie for being unoriginal when your movie was ALSO a remake. Hell, at least this new one gave yours some breathing room – theirs came 45 years after yours, which is twice as long as you waited before taking on Judy F---ing Garland. If Hollywood had followed your timeline, Babs, there’d be a mid-‘90s grunge remake in the mix before this latest effort.

It just all feels so weirdly petty, but famous people are weird and make weird decisions, so it isn’t that surprising. Although it does make us wonder if this perhaps might serve as a corollary to the Streisand effect.

(Note: for those unfamiliar, the Streisand effect is the name for the phenomenon where an attempt to hide or remove information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information; it was dubbed such following a 2003 incident involving a photo of Streisand’s beachfront property.)

Now, Streisand isn’t hiding information, but by complaining about the similarities between the two films, isn’t she in some way inadvertently encouraging people to watch the movie about which she’s complaining? It’s not the same, of course, but one could argue that it is tangentially related.

Look, in the end, Streisand simply comes off as a bitter lady who is trapped in the past, unable to consider the possibility that someone might have improved on something she had done. You would think that a person as famous as Barbra Streisand would be a bit more self-aware, a bit more magnanimous, a bit more willing to look at the big picture and invite more in-depth exploration.

Instead, she just comes off as, well … shallow.

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 August 2021 07:37


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