KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL (2020)

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Remember MySpace? yeah, it barely registers on what it was anymore – yet that is where the world found Kate Nash or more to the point – where she found the world back in 2008. From this she essentially became what is commonly referred to as a ‘one-hit’ wonder – and all of it because of a broken leg suffered while working at Nando’s, a fantastically delicious chicken restaurant chain not known in the States.

More recently others may know her as Rhonda Richardson, AKA Britannica, on the critically acclaimed Netflix series GLOW. As someone familiar with the latter version of Kate Nash, I didn’t have a clue of the story behind the actress, which makes the viewing experience all the more compelling. Like her character Rhonda, Nash has battled her way out of dire circumstances on more than one occasion, and has found herself at the center of something extraordinary, both in the music industry and on the screen.

Essentially this is her side of the story of how to be a one hit wonder and survive it. This is a documentary about surviving the pop industry after you have been dropped by the record label and savaged by critics, trying to kick-start your music career back into gear by playing to small venues paying it all herself from her savings, which doesn’t go well. Something learned those in the music industry a long time ago is, you don’t make money from touring, the money is made in the merchandise – but we aren’t shown any of that here. We are shown how she gets a major big boost by her new manager who has supposedly has ‘big plans’ for her, that really don’t seem to pan out as we see an awkward little show during lunch hour at a PR company of sorts. And then somewhere along the line, we also find out that same manager has been using Kate’s credit card to fund his own wedding. But hold on for a hot minute as has he really been appearing in the filming of a documentary about his artist all the while he was scamming her? What was he thinking?

Well we find out as we see Kate not only be completely devastated by this revelation, but also takes legal action against him and would have gotten a settlement from him had his lawyers not wanted her to sign a non-disclosure agreement. And while the outcome of all this is of course a sweet story, there is something about this documentary that just misses it’s mark a little. Whether it’s the part where she decides she wants to be a singer and actress, without any acting training/skills etc.. or where we never really see any of her actual life. While we see family, we really never see friends or boyfriends, or ever know is she is getting support from people in her life besides just her band & family. So it misses the mark there with me not only there but the Nando’s comment at the beginning almost lost me for good right there and then. As someone who has worked the food service industry for many years, it was truly a put-down of spoiled brat pisser comment to me.  There are many, many people who are having to work in the fast food industry and they don’t all have parents to be buy them electric guitars, or the like so note to Kate, be a bit more appreciative of people who didn’t get ‘discovered’ on MySpace, and serve a big purpose in everyone’s lives as we have come to realize, at least I hope you have now.

I think Kate Nash wanted this whole story to fit her narrative about a plucky British girl that fought against the odds to come back. Down to her last penny and got a role in a Netflix show, and viola’! life is good.  In that way it does succeed, unless you look at it deeply, and then it might raise more questions about it being a little bit of fluff. Either way you look at it, it is worth a watch.

Grade: C+

@pegsatthemovies

 

Media Review Screening ~ Courtesy of K.O. PR

KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL IS AVAILABLE ON ALAMO ON DEMAND

REVIEW: “A STAR IS BORN” (2018) Warner Bros.

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“A Star is Born” version 4.0 is here. And with it, we get not only Lady Gaga, but Bradley Cooper in his directorial debut doing double duty as lead actor as well. Straight off the bat I have to say this was a fantastic film with deserved praise for both its stars performance and their chemistry. The rise of fame from Gaga’s character to the declining career of Cooper’s was a roller-coaster ride of emotion. And the soundtrack can be just summed up as WOW!.

This 2018 updated version is very much in tune with today’s world and thankfully so, as I can only confess to seeing the last two versions and they were too kept in time with the day/age of music of that period. The first half of film for me is certainly the strongest part as we get to meet our main characters Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a musician who is struggling to cope with his life and Ally (Lady Gaga), who thru a through a random stop, meetup where she is performing at a drag bar that Maine stops in while in an alcoholic stupor, for just one more cocktail.

We get a very good supporting cast here who all stand on their own in their parts of the story. Once again, I am impressed by Andrew Dice Clay’s performance – something I’d never thought I’d see or say, as Ally’s father Lorenzo. Her sidekick throughout the film is Ramon (Anthony Ramos) and her manager who takes her down fame’s sidewalk Rez (Rafi Gavron). Cooper has his own great support in Sam Elliot as his much older 1/2 brother Bobby. Bobby is the one who has picked Jackson up off the ground – literally – and wrapped him up at night before any major damage can be done.

Cue to the second half of the film. While still great does have more than a few cliche moments which can be a bit distracting especially if you have seen the other versions. Coopers directorial eye is certainly great capturing some great brilliant musical performance shots and always capturing the characters emotional thoughts. I certainly would have liked more Dave Chappelle scenes and loved the different type of character he played.

If I had to sum up this film – acting/directing/story/soundtrack in the best way possible it would be as follows: Gaga out-sings Cooper by a long shot, though make no mistake, he does a passable job. But Cooper on the other hand, out acts Gaga – who again, does well for a first time starring role – but cannot compete with either Streisand or Garland’s previous acting performances while her voice is just as comparable. Realistically speaking, those two are a tough act to follow for ANYONE. I know everyone is screaming Oscar, but personally, and again this is just me, I think it might be to early to call that yet – though it’s all a possibility.

While it’s a very tough job to pull this off as this type of story was maybe thought to have been done to death, but truly congratulations to all on a job well done.

Grade: B
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Media Review Screening: Monday, October 1, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.
‘A STAR IS BORN’ IS OUT WORLDWIDE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2018