Thursday, June 28, 2018

The host country's team, Russia, is playing extremely well in the World Cup. Here is an interesting World Cup fact: it turns out soccer players do not like the idea of getting poisoned to death. 

A Star is Bored

Ahead of the remake with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, I saw “A Star is Born,” 1976 version with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand. 

Like Dan Jenkin’s great football book made into an awful movie, “Semi-Tough,” this movie is screaming for a remake. And both have Kris Kristofferson in them. (KK’s acting isn’t awful. He just plays himself and himself is genuinely cool) 

Full disclosure, I had a girlfriend early in college who adored this movie, so I sort of had a soft spot for it. And, while I have never been a fan of Barbra Streisand, way too over-the-top corny for me, Kris Kristofferson is legit cool. (Cannot tell you how many times she laughed at Babs's black backup singers being called the Oreos)

Truth be told, I am sort of disappointed in our gay brothers who worship Babs. The gay fellas have always been the harbingers of style for us cloddish straight men, and, unless they like Babs ironically, she seems to me to be so plastic, overwrought and phony. Like Cher, but, from what I hear, at least Cher is nice to people. 

This was the first movie where I read about how the stars hated each other. You can see it in the movie. One review put it well when they said you can see the fingerprints of Barbra Streisand’s and her hairdresser, Jon Peter’s megalomania all over this movie. Kris Kristofferson looks bored. (Get it? A star is bored? Oh, that is clever)

There are scenes when Kristofferson is so coked-up, his mouth moves independently like a goldfish looking for food. This guy, KK, is a smart dude. He was a Rhodes scholar in English. Went on to fly helicopters in the Army. KK proves that he is brilliant by the fact that he had an amazing singing career despite one little tiny glitch: he cannot sing.

In the vein of one of his coke buddies, Jack Nicholson, KK is good at playing himself. He is charming and charismatic and good looking and fit. 

Here is a brilliant insight: Barbra Streisand is a great singer. But, like Cher, I cannot stand her singing. So corny. It does not help that everyone describes her as a world-class feckless C. Even the great comedy writer, Bruce Vilanche, who, like many gay men, worship Babs, described in detail what a difficult, cheap tight-ass she is. 

In interviews, both Robert Redford and KK were forthcoming in their dislike of Barbra Streisand's diva behavior. She has probably fired more people than anyone in Hollywood. 

A casino in Las Vegas will not let Babs through their doors because she threw such a fit at a $2,000 minimum table when she bet $5 and thought they were supposed to pay her $2,000. 

Babs’ concert scenes are so disco/’70’s/ polyester/Vegas/bad-perm/cocaine-ridden awful they are comical. One cannot keep one’s eyes off of Babs’ bad perm. You have to wonder if the perm was to deflect attention from her Santa Monica Pier-sized nose. If I brought my Goldendoodle, Wally, to his groomer, Meg, with his fur in that condition without brushing him out, Meg would never speak to me again.

Believe me, I remember that this was the era of the fern bar and driftwood sculptures and Farah-dos and rayon and plush synthetic fabrics. And avocado green shag carpets. And popcorn ceilings. And Gremlins. Pet rocks. Bell-bottoms. 

In short, everything awful. 

Now to the worst part of the movie. 

Kris Kristofferson cannot sing. And I do not mean he is a bad singer. What I mean is he cannot sing. Like Stevie Wonder cannot drive.

Kris Kristofferson wrote some great songs. “Me & Bobby McGee” immortalized by the great Janis Joplin is one of them.  

Nobody loves the singers who would never make it on “American Idol” more than me.  Tom Waits’s cigarette-charred mumble, Bob Dylan’s nasal whine. Neil Young’s off-pitch stoned high warble. Bruce Springsteen’s scratchy yell. Rod Stewart’s raspy bark. Joe Cocker’s drunken laryngitis shout. 

If someone were to - and I genuinely hope this never happens - inject air from a bike pump into my aforementioned Goldendoodle Wally’s butt, the resultant fart would sound better than Kris Kristofferson singing. My word, how much cocaine were people doing in the ’70’s that allowed this guy to have a singing career? 

You cannot say Kristofferson is off-key because he can only sing in one note. That is his range. One note. And that note is the sound of a chainsaw cutting through aluminum siding.   

How did this guy go on to have an amazing music career? He has a mansion in Malibu and one in Maui. He is worth $160 million. Yes, he did help start the outlaw movement in country rock. 

Kris Kristofferson was a human argument that if you were straight, fairly good looking and liked to snort a lot of cocaine, you could have a legendary music and movie career in the 70's. Sam Peckinpah and Jon Peters put him in movie after movie because they liked partying with the guy.  

There is an homage to Waylon Jennings in the concert scene with Kris Kristofferson. When I was at UCSB in 1980, I got hired to be security at the Santa Barbara County Bowl for a Waylon Jennings concert. Waylon Jennings gave backstage passes to Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang in exchange for the vast amount of pharmaceutical cocaine they supplied him. 

The Hell’s Angels came roaring up the hill to the venue in single file line of about 20 bikes was one of the most terrifying and impressive displays I have ever seen. In the “ASIB” movie, a biker kisses Kristofferson hard on the mouth. That also rings true. Here is a wild and crazy secret of Hell’s Angels:  Many of them were gay. Gay in a macho, S&M, tattoo way. 

My overall impression was the Hell’s Angels like to zig when everyone else zagged, but they were good guys. Unless you crossed them, and then their gay sado-masochism kicked in and they loved beating the crap out of guys. 

But, as fascinating as the Hell's Angels are, I digress.

“A Star is Born” is a great story that desperately needs a remake, like “Semi-Tough.”  Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will hit it out of the park. 

Watch it for me and tell me if I am wrong about Kris Kristofferson’s singing. 

The Biggest A-Hole

Without any question, the five biggest assholes I have ever known all had one major thing in common: a combover. 

This is not bald-bashing, there is nothing wrong with going bald. No, this is when a guy grows out his hair on one side to sweep it over his bald spot and then says to himself, 

“That should fool them.” 

When that happens, something dies in their soul.

Now before you think this is all Trump bashing, the fifth combover asshole I know is a die-hard liberal. 

People bash Trump lovers as intolerant and judgmental. They have nothing on this arrogant douchebag. If you do not agree with all of his views, he considers you mentally deficient. 

One time we discussed Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.” Now I happen to be all-in on gun control. But I hate Michael Moore because he is a bully and liar. (Much like someone else we could name) But because Moore is liberal and I hate Moore, this ass-wipe has me labeled as a far right-wing tea-bagger. 

He also happens to be the world’s worst bass player. Now, I might have forgiven his incredible political intolerance and insufferable arrogance. 

But there is no forgiving a horrible, horrible bass player. 

Somebody who simply does not know how to play the bass would be vastly better than him because they could slap around at it and occasionally hit the right notes at the right rhythm.

No, this guy thinks he knows how to play, so he always plays the worst notes at the exact worst times. He once admitted, afterward, he played an entire other song than the song we had just played.

How is that possible? 

Instead of listening to the song, he just robotically plays the notes he memorizes. And the result is soulless, metallic, stilted and awful.

And his wife is even more annoying.