I loved Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” and honestly can’t stop talking about it.
I am also obsessed with all things entertainment (maybe this is why I am an entertainment reporter?) and love to watch things that make me cry, which makes the movie’s tragic tale of fame, love, and addiction feel like it was made for people like me.
The main story of “A Star is Born” is the same in each iteration: A famous, alcoholic man’s career goes into decline right as the career of the woman he loves blossoms. It is Hollywood’s “Romeo and Juliet,” except Juliet doesn’t die. The only thing that changes is the industry: the first films are about actors, and the most recent versions are about musicians.
After seeing Cooper’s 2018 version of the movie, I watched all three previous “A Star is Born” movies and decided which ones are the best and why people keep retelling this story every few decades.
On this pop culture journey I learned that Gary Busey is in one of them and that in the 1930s, adults who were famous movie stars drank huge glasses of milk with dinner.
Here are all of the “A Star is Born” movies, ranked from worst to best (and where you can stream them):
Note: Although it tells a similar story, we did not include 1932’s “What Price Hollywood?”
4. “A Star is Born” (1976), starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson (and Gary Busey)
Not even the legendary Barbra Streisand saves this movie. It’s terrible, and feels like it was made just to hype people (in Hollywood) up. It has no real purpose beyond obsessing over itself, and doesn’t say anything new about the entertainment industry or Hollywood or culture, despite its focus on musicians instead of actors.
The only thing indicating it exists in its own decade are the costumes and hairstyles. Streisand and Kris Kristofferson do what they can with the lazy script, but this attempt at a modern interpretation of Hollywood’s favorite tragedy took way too many creative liberties that take away from necessary character development. You can skip it, or just watch Streisand’s final song.
This version of “A Star is Born” is available to rent on Amazon.
3. “A Star is Born” (1937), starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March
1937’s “A Star is Born” is the one that started all of this, and is the only one without any songs. Its trailer, which you can watch on YouTube, labels it “Hollywood’s first true story.” It is not based on a true story.
The movie, carried by its endearing lead, Janet Gaynor — who was in a way being born as a star herself in this transition from silent film — is just fine. What is most fascinating eight decades later is its staggering separation from life and the entertainment industry in 2018. In one scene, a woman at a studio tells Gaynor’s character, Esther, an aspiring actress, that her chances of making it in the industry are “one in one hundred thousand.” Today, that’s a pretty good shot. Also, famous adult human beings in this movie drink full glasses of milk with their dinner.
The awful, and very dim lighting throughout is a victim of its time: in the 1930s, lighting wasn’t necessarily considered an art form that could be played with yet. All that really mattered was whether or not you could see anything, so it’s almost unfair to compare it to Cooper’s, which uses lighting and thoughtful camera placement to highlight important things about the characters.
But the first version of this story still has one major thing in common with Cooper’s 2018 version: the skepticism surrounding fame and Hollywood which, ironically, might be ingrained into the industry and our culture because of this story that Hollywood can’t stop telling.
This version of “A Star is Born” is available to watch with no additional charges on Amazon Prime.
2. “A Star is Born” (1954), starring Judy Garland and James Mason
This movie is three hours long. It literally has an intermission. It’s good, but perhaps a little too obsessed with itself. Like the 1937 and 1976 “A Star is Born” films, it lacks a strong sense of character in its male lead, Norman Maine. But Judy Garland brings her otherwise undeveloped character to life in the greatest performance of her career, and one of the greatest performances in film history.
Garland’s presence keeps you watching, even when you know exactly what will happen; even as she belts her way through boring songs that still take you on her character’s tumultuous journey. But ultimately, the screenplay clings a little too desperately to the original, which defeats the purpose of a remake, which is a bit of a disappointment. Hollywood certainly changed significantly in the 17 years in between these movies were made, but this one doesn’t feel much different, besides its transformation into a musical and the addition of palm trees at the Academy Awards ceremony.
This version of “A Star is Born” is available to rent on Amazon.
1. “A Star is Born” (2018), starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
Although Bradley Cooper had the advantage of the advancements in technology, filmmaking, and storytelling to work with, his “A Star is Born” is the best by a long shot because it’s the most honest and sincere.
It’s a truly a modern retelling of the story, and unlike all the others, feels like it could have happened. The performances are exquisite, the songs brilliant and significant to moving the story forward, and most importantly, this version focuses more on its characters than the spectacle, which is the most glaring issue with all the other iterations.
This version is also the most representative of its era: Cooper’s character Jackson Maine meets Ally (Lady Gaga) at a drag bar. And alcoholism is treated as a disease: in one of the most moving scenes in the film, Ally tells Jackson that it’s not his fault he has it. The scene is telling compared to a scene in the 1976 version where Barbra Streisand screams “I’ll kill you!” at her husband, and then promptly has sex with him.
By focusing on Jackson Maine’s past, including his parentage and his brother (played by Sam Elliot who is deserving of a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars), this movie feels grounded in a way the previous versions haven’t.
“A Star is Born” comes to theaters October 5.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.