How Did We Get Two Justin Bieber Movies Before We Got One Lady Gaga Film?
At risk of offending the Bieber fever-suffering legions who lifted Justin Bieber: Never Say Never to a $30.2 million debut, let's be honest: The teen idol's 3-D doc/concert hybrid remains pretty high on the long list of Hollywood's most cynically conceived films. And to those Beliebers who scoff, endorsing NSN on a more purely qualitative basis, I guess I'd ask what you make of the news that Paramount will release an "expanded version" the film with new music -- like 20 songs' worth of new music -- on March 4. And to everyone else I'd ask: How the hell did we get two Justin Bieber movies before we ever got a Lady Gaga film?
Not to jam these two down your throat or anything, but from an industrial point of view, it's kind of confounding. After all, Gaga doesn't necessarily need to wait for her Desperately Seeking Susan moment to demonstrate her cinematic presence; from 60 Minutes to the Grammys (where Gaga, not Bieber, left with a trophy), she has proven eminently capable of sustaining a nonfiction narrative. For Christ's sake, she showed up to the Staples Center the other night in
an egg a "vessel" -- to say nothing of her elaborate music videos, which themselves remain one of the few vestiges of ambition and visual panache in the form today.
There is the forthcoming HBO special Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden [inhale], which will air May 7 and be directed by her choreographer Laurieann Gibson. I guess it is a start. In any event, the broadcast would do well to showcase what's "determinedly empathetic about Gaga's approach," as Louis Virtel described it last week -- what prompted him "to believe she can play outside her own skin in a way Madonna can't." Perhaps Truth or Dare is the Madonna analogue worth invoking in this case (if we must)?
In any case, it's kind of a drag to think Justin Bieber -- who barely pretends to even try to understand the Gaga phenomenon -- signifies the state of the music-film art when a perfectly good, innovative and profitable superstar on the other side of the creative spectrum was practically made for the genre. Who will change this? And can they please do it soon?