Whitney Houston: I Want To Dance With Somebody: We lost a legendary voice this week when Tina Turner passed at the age of 83yo. She had battled a long series of illnesses including a kidney replacement. This news made me revisit the shortened life of another legendary voice, Whitney Houston. Say what you want about whether you liked her songs, there was no denying the quality of her voice. Born into a singing family, where her Aunt was Dionne Warwick and Godmother was Aretha Franklin. Sadly we all know how this ends, and we can see the steps that slowly brought this upon the pop superstar, and make no mistake that she was a superstar.
For this movie, the performance of the lead will begin and end how the audience accepts it. Naomi Ackie plays Whitney really well. According to news sources, she doesn’t do most of the singing in the movie. That was Whitney’s voice mostly. But the songs were of course well done. I imagine that the Music Director, may have done as in Amadeus, with Sir Neville Marriner at St Martin In The Fields, said I will do the music ONLY if you don’t change a single note. This must be an intimidating role for anyone to take on. Whitney Houston has a range of singing, and a story that most people know pretty well. We know about Bobbi Brown and that influence that he brought into her life. A life of excess and drugs where the money generated just seems to disappear, whether in the hands of her father or others. She battled her father according to this movie all the way to him to his grave.
Some things that were highlighted which I had no idea about included her relationship with her best friend, Robyn Crawford. I also didn’t realize that it was Kevin Costner who made the suggestion for The Bodyguard, for her to sing Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. He made a brilliant choice as well for her to sing the acapella for the introduction of the song. Life is about choices though, and for whatever reasons that she had, Whitney made choices that weren’t always in her best interest. From smoking, to the drugs, to her relationships, it seems that being someone who isn’t your own authentic self (as you see it) tends to lead to some destructive behaviour. The world lost a great talent far too soon. Like so many before her, there was something missing, and a void that could not be filled with earthly experiences. In the end, like Jim Morrison before her she perished in a bathtub. In her system was cocaine, and she had heart disease. But add her name to artists like Prince, Tom Petty, Judy Garland, Sam Cooke, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and the list goes on and on. Whitney died at age 48, on Feb 11, 2012 a night before the Grammy’s were to take place.
Did I need to see this movie? It didn’t suck. I learned a little and revisited some songs that she performed. It is a story of excess for someone with a talent who was undeniable. Maybe the candles that burn the brightest, burn out the soonest. I would like to think that Whitney could have matched Tina Turner and reached her 80s, and shared her gift for longer. There is no doubt that Tina would have also lived an extraordinary life, but one with all the trappings of fame and success. They are both missed. Their voices will carry on long after I am gone and most of us.
Succession The Final Season: The final episode was last night. I have to admit then when I began watching this episode I wasn’t sure which of the offspring of Logan Roy would survive. I regarded this series as a tragedy, and that with the King lacking a formal succession plan and their being a potential acquisition in play that we would see the true colours of the adult children, Kendall, Shiv and Roman.
So things, as expected are coming to a head. A board meeting is to take place where the fate of the empire, Daddy’s company, is going to be decided. The parties involved are gathering their respective teams for the big vote. On the one side you have those trying to keep the company in the hands of the family, and in the other the European team looking to acquire it. This has been the basis for the entire final season. Within that parameter, the fight lines have been drawn. As things proceed the respective family members talk, and argue and figure out what their plan of action is, sprearheaded by Ken. Shiv is a survivor and is planning her own strategy. Roman and Ken each have ideas that they should be the heir to the throne. As mentioned in an earlier post, bearded brother Con, is treated as Fredo and not actively involved in the activities. Things play out to a meeting of the board about the acquisition. The vote is extremely close. Then things change in a way that could be predicted but in a satisfying way.
Unlike Game of Thrones, this popular series is ending on a positive note. An appropriate ending for those involved. Parties who have been involved in other seasons, show up from time to time to impact the plot. It seems that a reliance on a family that is dysfunctional can be at best unreliable. Changes come from places that were expected for those involved. Those who the audience had thought were in a precarious position can have their fortunes changed quickly in meetings that take place throughout. “Those who would be last, can be first….and those who would be first, would be last”. Needless to say the Roy family Christmas gathering would be an interesting affair when all is said and done. I think that this has been an excellent series, well written and acted. It was profane. It had some great laughs and soundbites. In the end, I am glad that I watched it. Well worth your time.
Adding a Jurassic Park Easter Egg: One of the things about multiple viewings of the same movie is that rather than focusing on the plot and the big things happening that you can see more of the detail. For moviegoers many people call these Easter Eggs, and I just noticed one for a film that I have seen many times.
It is the scene where Dennis Nedry is sitting at his workstation and having a conversation with John Hammond about his doing the code for the Park and automating it for a small amount of money. Hammon says that “I don’t blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask for them to pay for them”. On the screen on Nedry’s screen there is a live stream of the movie Jaws taking place during one of the scenes where the shark is making its entrance to the men aboard the Orca. I just noticed this, and it was a nice shout out to Spielberg’s earlier blockbuster.