Tuesday, January 16, 2024


Without fail, at the end of each calendar year, the Oscar bait comes out, and like chum, people and nominating committees eat it up. 

What I don't get is, like clockwork, everyone sees it coming, the movies and performances are rarely that good and people fawn all over them. 

Maestro is the 2023 version of this. 

Shot in black and white, and no one is ever without a cigarette - so you know it's a serious piece of work.

There is a lot of talking only for talking sake, but there is little story - nothing direct. There are snippets of a story that the viewer has to piece together. If you didn't know anything about Leonard Bernstein I'm not sure you'd ever piece it together (read: anyone under 35 who is not gay or a music major).

I keep hearing about people who watch programs / movies with closed captioning on. We haven't done that yet, but Maestro kind of makes the case for doing it - needing it, even. 

I'm guessing if Bradley Cooper gave any direction at all it was something like "forget EVERYTHING you know about enunciation. Just do the opposite!" 

Sound and Sound Mixing were the next things to be tossed out the window. It also seems he takes delight in how the dialogue is fast and everyone talks over everyone, so you pick up on about 37% of what is said. It's a mess. 

If you're looking for any insight to the composing Bernstein, you've found the wrong film. There are moments of music from West Side Story and On the Town, but nothing about how they came to be is there. 

Actually, if you're looking to know anything about Leonard Bernstein, it would be better to hit wikipedia. Save for one phone call about how he got his break, you're not gonna know a fucking thing about him from this movie. One toss away line about how he slept with both of one kid's parents is the 2x4 used where the bisexuality in the rest of the film is barely there, but they want to know that you know. 

Cooper's performance is meh at best. His vocal affectation is more distracting than the controversy about him wearing a prosthetic nose. 

Carey Mulligan - whom I still say is the poor-man's Michelle Williams - is ok. She's always just "ok".  People keep raving about her performance and save one scene (maybe, maybe two) there isn't much to it. And the one scene almost comes out of nowhere - considering - and is off the mark, but the delivery is good. And yes, compared to the others in this movie, of course she looks good. 

Don't even start me on the miscasting of Sarah Silverman. 

The flow is just bad. Some scenes are rushed, some d-r-a-g on and on and on. Some completely unnecessary. It clocks in at over two hours, but I swear it seems twice that long. 

If you're going to create a movie like this, educate us, or actually have some conflict. Bernstein's wife seemed to know from the get-go about his bisexuality and "accepted" it. The faux fight mentioned in Mulligan's one big scene is far from necessary and there is little to no impetus for it......except Oscar Clip Showing Time!!!!!

Maestro is a vanity project purely for vanity's sake. If it were for Vanity's sake, I'd get on board. 

I suppose it was better to waste my time at Netflix than at the cinema. I'm not getting the accolades. And I ain't giving them either. 

2024 Movie Count / Goal: 02 of 15

Song by: Stevie Ray Vaughn


Anonymous said...

And here I thought it was just me about this flick! Of course I was interested in the dirty secret details, but was hoping for much more of the man and his music. Like you, I was left disappointed and wondering if it was the sound track, the TV, or my hearing not working right.

Travel said...

Your review very much matches what I had heard. I will skip it.

James Dwight Williamson said...

Bradley Cooper just never delivers for me. He has had plenty of chances

Happyman said...

We couldn’t make it past the first half hour.

Ur-spo said...

Someone really liked it