Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper

how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Weinstein

As we close out 21 Days of Bradley Cooper, I am so happy that Silver Linings Playbook won SOMETHING last night at the Oscars, and I’m pretty crazy about Jennifer Lawrence, even without watching these videos, in which she gushes over and then is kind of annoyed by Jack Nicholson “Is he back? I need a rear view mirror.”  And also expresses actual authentic reactions to media-ishy questions, post-Win.

I loved Winter’s Bone, too. And in Silver Linings Playbook, her character Tiffany had my favorite line from the movie:

“I was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, fucker? Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”

To me this is one of the signature lines of the movie, not just because of the brashness and crassness, but because it’s about integration, moving beyond shame, and redeeming your own self, from the inside out.  Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany teaches Bradley Cooper’s Pat how to do that.

Which reminds me, this was never 21 Days of Jennifer Lawrence (maybe that’s next! probably not).  It was 21 Days of Bradley Cooper.

He didn’t win. It is entirely possible that only his mother thought he really had a chance to. As much as I’ve enjoyed my little foray into Bradley Cooperstown, I have to admit that I agree with the “brutally honest director” who did a think-aloud of his Oscar ballot, who said, “For Bradley Cooper, the nomination is his award.”

One wonders about direction after the Oscars–I think if Mr. Cooper had won, people would have remembered him as the guy who stole it from Abe Lincoln, not as the guy who took huge strides in the role of Pat Solitano.

I was hopeful Silver Linings Playbook would win more, though–the movie hit me at just the right time, and I really, really wanted the Academy to give more love to a smart comedy with a happy ending.

(I’m sure I should want to see Amour. I do not want to.)

The “brutally honest director” said this about David O. Russell’s chances for Best Director, that  “it took David O. Russell to figure out that Bradley Cooper is a great actor,” and Nate Silver had the movie trending a little for Best Picture, so I was hopeful.

Nonetheless, the Oscars are over, and I find that I still have not answered my friend Jen’s question, “So there is a movie in which Bradley Cooper’s character is not a psychopath?”

His character, Pat, in Silver Linings Playbook, begins the movie figuring out how to manage his bipolar disorder. So, not a psychopath. Previously delusional and violent, but no, not a psychopath. And in the movie, appealingly upbeat, hopeful, earnest, vulnerable, and relentless.

There is corroboration for the psychopath idea, though, here: “The Creepiness of Bradley Cooper,” in which the author says she sees “something of the psychopath about him,” but is ultimately not troubled by it: “Dark times call for dark celebrities, and these times are dark.”

Amen.

That article featured his turn in Limitless, which I see as essentially an ambivalent fable about Adderall.

All my Google searches and alerts had not turned up that article, though–it was referenced in this one in the New Republic Article, “Bradley Cooper: Beefcake Thespian How the “Silver Linings Playbook” star became a serious actor.”

This article is pretty heavy on the snark, emphasizing Mr. Cooper’s tendency to play characters you wouldn’t necessarily trust. Or like.

And it seems to have multiple axes it wants to grind. Curious.

My favorite Bradley Cooper article is this one from Esquire, “Dinner with Bradley,” post-Limitless, pre-Silver Linings Playbook, which likens him to a young Senatorial Jack Kennedy. It’s smart writing, and seems to give Mr. Cooper credit for some of the same things the New Republic article criticizes him for (pushing himself to be serious, being ambitious). It does this thing where I wondered if the author was trying to imply SOMETHING HAPPENED, (“Eleven o’clock on a Saturday morning and Bradley Cooper is sleeping. Russell Crowe is Robin Hood on the television and there has been another day of Limitless publicity in between and Cooper is tired. Five days earlier, Entertainment Weekly declared that ‘A Serious Movie Star Is Born.’ He is on his side and unshaven and not snoring and smiling.”) but is otherwise pretty interesting.

I’m sort of exhibit A of how nominations can bolster a movie–it definitely caught my attention because of the Oscar talk, and I’m pretty sure that’s why it showed at Sundance (and when I go see a movie, I typically would HOPE it would be showing at Sundance).

It’s been a fun ride for me. But Bradley Cooper had WAY more fun as evidenced in this Happy Hugger slideshow.

Full disclosure: in regards to my plan three weeks ago in which I imagined myself posting something about Bradley Cooper every day until the Oscars. That didn’t happen because
1. I got bored.
2. I got busy.
3. My calculated and cynical attempt to bolster blog traffic by blogging about a hot commodity was not successful. I think I’m still getting all those David Bowie hits because there weren’t that many people blogging about his new single. Whereas there are approximately (number approaching infinity) people blogging about Bradley Cooper.

One of my blogs, though, wondered about all Harvey Weinstein’s machinations on behalf of Silver Linings Playbook, thus the title.

"Stop looking at me, Bradley Cooper."

“Stop looking at me, Bradley Cooper.”

(photo by wrestlingentropy on flickr, Creative Commons)

Hollywood Juggernaut Fatigue–and yet….

One week into 21 Days of Bradley Cooper and I might be done.

Not done with loving Silver Linings Playbook. I went to see the movie a second time today (how long has it been since I went to see a movie twice IN THE MOVIE THEATER?) and loved it again.

Here’s why:
+Amazing performances across the board.
+The movie has such a strong visual sense of itself. Every scene’s evocative.
+Wild & weird mashup of genres: it’s a family drama, and a personal-redemption-journey, and a romantic comedy, and a come-from-behind sports drama.
+It nails themes I truly believe in: redemption is possible, being authentic is messy but worth it, you should stand by the people you love, normal is boring.
+Bradley Cooper himself, of course. I was so startled at his performance. Who WAS that guy, I left the theater wondering. I knew he’d been “Sexiest Man Alive,” but barely–when he got that sobriquet, I had no idea who he was. After Silver Linings Playbook, I started getting some of his older movies from the library. Here’s how little I knew–I kept waiting for the time-traveling hot tub as I watched Hangover.

In his Oscar-nominated performance, he shows a range I haven’t seen yet in any of his other movies. There are hints of it in a lot of his movies, so if I’d been a fan before, I wouldn’t have been quite so surprised, but nothing with this much anger, affection, vulnerability, humor, bravado, coolness, sexiness, fear, courage…. What a part! And he nailed it.

But wow–one caption for this photo of Mr. Weinstein & Mr. Cooper after the Golden Globes said something like “What is Harvey telling Bradley he has to do?” I’ll tell you what he’s telling him. “Go on every, single talk show available between now and when people have to turn in their Oscar ballots.”

And spend some time on public service type appearances, because the movie genuinely does humanize mental illness, and genuinely does honor the supreme effort individuals and families have to make just to have a chance at doing regular stuff.

The cynic in me wonders just what this writer wondered about the meeting between Mr. Cooper, David O. Russell, and Vice President Joe Biden:

“In addition to shining a light on mental illness, Russell and Cooper — both Oscar nominees — could help the standing of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ within the Academy as well. As Deadline.com’s Pete Hammond noted, the Best Picture nominee is often light-hearted, and shifting the conversation to its more serious aspects could help ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ gain traction within an awards body that doesn’t often reward romantic comedies.”

I suppose it’s possible that they’re all calculating and cynical out there in Hollywoodland.

I suppose it’s also possible that Mr. De Niro was acting when he cried on Katie Couric’s couch.

Could also be possible that Mr. Cooper was acting when he was overcome by emotion repeatedly on his own appearance on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

But you know what? I’m not that cynical. If the University of Montana (where I got my MFA) had cause to ask me to appear in front of a crowd, and my friends from grad school showed up, and my parents were there (and one parent were seriously ill), I think I’d be pretty gosh-darned verklempt myself.

As for the Hollywood Juggernaut of Promote-Promote-Promote, I think they’re all being good employees and promoting the movie like crazy. They do know where their paychecks come from, after all.

But I believe the movie meant something to them at every stage and still does and they’re just riding the wave of publicity for all its worth. I believe these folks when they say the movie was personal, and I believe them when they say they love it if the movie helps de-stigmatize mental illness.

But until Tuesday, February 19, when Oscar voters have to return their ballots to Price Waterhouse, I think my Bradley Cooper Google alert will be full to overflowing.

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Russell at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall.

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Russell at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall.

They looked tired, even then. Or maybe I’m projecting. I’m tired. And I’m not even promoting a movie.

However tired they might or might not be, there are only 10 days left before the voting is done. Only two weeks before the Oscar ceremony.

And then forever to keep talking about the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.

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(picture from Flickr Creative commons, attributed to diginmag)

“I am not the Sexiest Man Alive! I am an actor! I am the Elephant Man!”

Bradley Cooper isn’t old enough, or hasn’t aged enough, to have the sort of moment Jude Law is apparently having, where he can talk about being less pretty so he can be taken more seriously. The original Jude Law article has some terrific pictures, and yes, the man has aged in some interesting ways.  But Gawker has a snarky-fun take on it, saying that Law, in that article, has participated in “the ancient ritual of the Aging Male Beauty interview, declaring his utter relief to have finally slid into human levels of attractiveness….The Aging Male Beauty interview is a beloved rite of passage, typically performed in the colder Oscar months….” The only reason I don’t mind the snark much in this case is that, really, Jude Law is still a fine looking man.

But even with the scars on his face, Mr. Cooper is still awfully pretty. What to do, what to do.

Well, what he did a long time ago was fall in love with David Lynch’s Elephant Man. [He wasn’t quite as young as my friends Beckie and Roy’s son Wickham, who went as the Elephant Man for Halloween when he was 4, and instead of saying “Trick-or-treat” said, “I am not an animal.”]

What Mr. Cooper did when he was in the MFA program at the Actor’s Studio was convince people his thesis should be him in the lead of Bernard Pomerance’s Elephant Man.  On Fresh Air yesterday, he told Terry Gross that several people at the school tried to talk him out of it.

What he’s done recently is perform it in Massachusetts, to good local reviews (they allowed only local media). Here’s an article with pictures.

And what he’ll be doing soon is bringing it to Broadway.

How strikingly different that is from the way most of us navigate the world of inner beauty/outer beauty. How strange to be so beautiful and be so attracted to a play about a man whose inner beauty was masked by outer deformity.

And really, what a nice counterpoint to being People‘s Sexiest Man Alive, even more effective than what Mr. Cooper has done in more than one interview, which is to point out that when he was selected as the Sexiest Man Alive, the choice was actually protested.

Having your selection as the Sexiest Man Alive protested is funny, and probably humbling (though really, that’s kind of humble-bragging, isn’t it?).

But being the sort of actor who has a long relationship with a movie and a play about Joseph Merrick–that takes the 2D People cover and gives it real depth and texture.

Bradley Cooper Pie (chart)

What I find interesting about Bradley Cooper

What I find interesting about Bradley Cooper

Tiger-Beat-Teeny-Bopper-Fan-Fan-Fan, Stop

I was eight when I learned that Rick Springfield slept in the nude at B&B Hobby Shop in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
_____

Every Sunday after church, my family  would stop at B&B Hobby, next to the Granada Theater in downtown Mt. Vernon, at a time in history when small-town downtowns everywhere were still thriving.

The store was so much deeper than it was wide—in my memory, there were sections and sections toward the back of the store, very dark, high shelves so teeming they were close to toppling. Back there, the paths in the linoleum weren’t nearly as worn. Head shop? Porn section? Just a little girl’s imagination? I never, never went all the way back.

Dad looked at the selection of pipes and tobacco. “The better it smells, the worse it tastes,” he always said about pipe tobacco.

My brother looked at balsa wood dowels and possibly-huffable glue and model paint. Among his other creations was a working guillotine that he threatened to use on my Ken doll.

Mom and I looked at magazines, right in the front of the store, next to one of the big floor-to-ceiling pane-glass windows. I was absolutely focused on Tiger Beat and Teen Beat and 16 Magazine. (I was 8 or 9 when I read 16, 13 or 14 when I read Seventeen, and then at 17, began reading Andy Warhol’s Interview.)

Once we’d loaded up the counter with that week’s purchases, which always included the St. Louis Post Dispatch, we piled in the car and headed toward Opdyke, about a 20 minute drive.

I always read on the way home. I always got a headache. But I could never wait.

_____

So of course, what I did was read “Why Rick Springfield Sleeps in the Nude” at B&B Hobby Shop when I was 8. Because I read it there, because it was SO TITILLATING, when I think of Rick Springfield, yes, I think of General Hospital, yes I think of “Jesse’s Girl,” but mostly, I think of that headline on the cover of Tiger Beat and I am SMACK RIGHT THERE in B&B Hobby. With a little bit of a sick car-headache to go with it.

And why did he sleep in the nude? As I remember it, he told a story about waking up when he was a boy with both legs somehow in one leg of his pajamas, and being terrified that he’d somehow lost a leg, and ever after slept in the nude.

One wonders now at the probability of any single part of the story being true (very low) and also the probability that the editors were making a joke about a different sort of leg getting stuck in his pajamas (very high).

Oh! Those early 70s! What a time. It was also Donny Osmond I was nuts for (I had an Osmond’s lunch box I wish I’d kept, like this one)

In what I now understand as the beginning of the end of my pre-pubescent teeny-bopper phase, there was once an article on Shaun Cassidy, where he was asked what kind of music he listened to. I only remember one band from his list, Led Zeppelin, but I came away understanding he was the same age as my brother and listened to the same kind of music. My brother hated what I listened to. I used to torture him by singing, “Make the world go away,” in my best Marie Osmond impersonation.

I wasn’t done being a teeny-bopper, but a layer of sweetness had been stripped away. In its place, a dawning awareness of the chasm that yawned between what I thought I knew and what was true.

Being a teeny-bopper fan was hard work then. You had to wait for magazines to come out, you had to pay to belong to fan clubs, and you had to watch TV pretty much all the time just in case someone showed up somewhere.

Now? Pshaw. Easy as pie. Set up a Google alert and you learn more than you even really want to.

And thus we encounter the middle-aged teeny-bopper phase. I don’t put the posters on my wall any more, but I still get that little frisson, “new picture!” or “new detail!” or “new movie!”

On Monday’s show, Katie Couric asks Bradley Cooper about his dating life, and mentions how the media seems absolutely obsessed. He does a nice collapse on the couch, and then comments that he partly finds it pretty interesting and partly finds it pretty disheartening.

There’s also a video of him on Howard Stern’s show, from 2011, when Stern is not just praising Renee Zellweger (who was Cooper’s girlfriend at the time), but Stern is also trying to figure out if he’d had a shot of sleeping with her one time back when, when they were having their hair done in adjacent chairs…. The look on Cooper’s face is hard to interpret, except that there’s nothing in it that is saying, “I’m enjoying this part of the conversation, Howard, please say more.”  If you track the timeline of media coverage of his love life, Cooper & Zellweger broke up just days after that show.

[Finding out Bradley Cooper is a huge fan of Howard Stern is somewhere on the same emotional planet as finding out Shaun Cassidy liked Led Zeppelin. Interesting.]

I’m not as nice as Katie Couric (seems to be) and not as crude as Howard Stern (seems to be).

I wish I were so different from either of them that I could interview someone like Bradley Cooper and not bring up dating at all.

Ultimately, in the pie chart of “What I Find Interesting About Bradley Cooper” (tune in tomorrow for the full chart!), “Whom He’s Dating” is a mighty-slim sliver.

But I wish it weren’t a part of the pie at all.

What to Sing When You Wash Your Hands (Day 2 of Bradley Cooper)

After YET AGAIN having a horrible cold at the end of last semester (this has happened four or five semesters running), and taking most of the semester break to recover, and now, 4 weeks in, getting my first cold of 2013, I am determined to get healthier and stay healthier.

I’ve been seriously focused on washing my hands the way everyone says you should, even more than usual, the last three weeks (so this latest cold can’t be blamed on that at least). To make sure I was washing long enough, I was, indeed, singing “Happy Birthday” to myself.

But here’s the thing–do I really want to sing “Happy Birthday” to myself? Twice? Multiple times a day? I’m o.k. being 47, and trust me, when it gets closer to my birthday this summer, I’ll be jabbering about it.

But it’s not my birthday every day. Even Walt Whitman wouldn’t want to celebrate himself, to sing himself, THAT way, every day.

What would it mean to have that in your head so much?

Why not quote some Walt Whitman? Or “The Charge of the Light Brigade?” Or some Dickinson? Or “Come live with me and be my love?” Or this, which would break my heart open every time–“tell me a story of deep delight.”

What I’ve been doing is making up my own lyrics to the Doxology to fit my Zen Baptist theology a little better (Wisdom shows up–amazing how a girl picks that dolorous tune right up.)

I’ve also been singing a song I learned a very, very long time ago at a Good News Circle School for Evangelism week at the Baptist Resort (seems like a contradiction in terms, I know) at Green Lake, Wisconsin. It’s just a little ditty that puts these verses to a tune–makes them easier to memorize:

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control–against such things there is no law.”

That’s a better way to move through the day, right?

But I’ve also been listening to the soundtrack from Silver Linings Playbook (the movie that inspired 21 Days of Bradley Cooper). What about singing this while you’re washing your hands:

“My cherie amour, lovely as a summer day
My cherie amour, distant as the milky way
My cherie amour, pretty little one that I adore
You’re the only girl my heart beats for
How I wish that you were mine”

Way sweeter than “Happy Birthday.”

As a special treat for Day 2 of 21 Days with Bradley Cooper, here’s an interview with Bradley Cooper where Peter Travers gets him to speak in French and then sing from “My Cherie Amour.”

And if you’re still wed to singing “Happy Birthday,” here’s a clip from the Palm Springs Film Festival where Mr. Cooper accepts an award on his birthday and then gets serenaded with “Happy Birthday.” It’s kind of sweet if you can block out Mary Hart’s high-octane schmooze mode.

Let me leave you with this thought: what do you think Pilate was singing in his head when he washed his hands of Jesus? (I’m thinking something by the Clash.)

Top Ten Reasons for 21 Days of Bradley Cooper

Not that anyone needs a reason to blog about anything, really, but I do have reasons for writing about Bradley Cooper for the next 21 days. Reasons other than the fact that once it occurred to me to do it, it seemed too hilarious not to. And too impossible to have 21 posts that fit my blog and connect to him somehow. I mean–it’s not solely a fansite. He has at least one of those arready.

I have something in mind similar to the moments when the absolutely brilliant curator of “Fuck Yeah, Paul Gross” waxes thoughtful.

So it might be movie reviews, or meditations on subjects in his movies, or just any random thing I’ve noted. Plus at least one sample essay which I need to write for my ENG 102 students for their pop culture unit.

And at least one serious piece on the creative process–his relationship with Robert DeNiro is awfully interesting in terms of how creativity crosses generations.

But, o.k. sure, 21 days is a little obsessive. Let me share with you a question I have been asking for YEARS: What do people who aren’t obsessive have in their heads? Just nothing? Just air?

Don’t answer.

Here are my top ten reasons for 21 Days of Bradley Cooper:

10. He was an English major, so he may well have an opinion on the Oxford comma.

9. He lives with his mom. Who is short.

But it’s more than the fact that I’m a short English professor who loves both her son and her mother:

8. Because there are so many nominations for Silver Linings Playbook, I am going to watch EVERY MINUTE of the Oscars, and I actually care who wins. I can’t remember the last time both of these happened, and I am genuinely excited. Also, his short mother will be his Oscar date.

7. Even my therapist is a Bradley Cooper fan.

6. Good excuse to watch Bradley Cooper movies I haven’t yet seen.

5. As an English professor, part of my work is writing. As a writer, blogging is part of my work. If I research for a blog, that is work. If I write about Bradley Cooper then I turn out to be a complete workaholic. The irony alone makes this an important reason.

4. In January, I inadvertently upped my blog traffic SIGNIFICANTLY by writing about David Bowie and Jodie Foster. Since I genuinely love pop culture, I do want to write about it, and I love the idea of piggy backing on all the Googling Mr. Cooper must be generating. Craven, I know. [Here’s a little bonus tip for you Lexulous players out there–“cravens” is an acceptable word. Might be for Scrabble, too. Not sure.]

3. February is bleak in Wisconsin, in terms of scenery. The landscape is gray, and all the pretty young seasonals from American Players Theatre don’t start showing up until April and May. Thus, pics of Bradley Cooper can’t help but brighten things up:

Bradley Cooper at TriBeca in 2009.

Bradley Cooper at TriBeca in 2009.

2. I write a lot of sonnets for this blog and some of the subjects of those sonnets wouldn’t recognize a sonnet if it bit them in the ass. I suspect Mr. Cooper would. Not that he would see a sonnet here. And not that my sonnets bite.

Not in the ass, anyway.

But ultimately, the reason is

1. Silver Linings Playbook was a phenomenal movie. I haven’t been that moved by a movie in a long, long time. I find myself wanting to write about it and this way I won’t feel like I need to say it all in one post.

So, from now until the Oscars, I’m going to try to post something of substance about Bradley Cooper every day. Something every day, anyway.

(Picture of Bradley Cooper by David Shankbone from flickr–part of Creative Commons)