A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born via The Atlantic

Plus — How to live forever! A not-so-scientific approach.

This is my Weekly Roundup — May 19th, 2024

Welcome to Weekly Roundup, where we explore captivating films, books, and stories that grabbed our attention this week.

Watches of the week

A Star Is Born

I don't know why I waited so long to watch the latest iteration of A Star Is Born. This adaptation of the classic story (there have been three previous versions, in 1937, 1954, and 1976) is a testament to the talents of its leads, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Lady Gaga shines in her role as Ally, a struggling artist whose meteoric rise to fame mirrors her own career trajectory. One of the standout elements of the film is the decision to record the musical performances live. This choice, championed by Lady Gaga, pushed Bradley Cooper to undergo extensive vocal training, a dedication that paid off as the pair’s live vocals add a layer of authenticity and raw emotion.

Shallow, the 2019 Oscar winner for Best Original Song

Bradley Cooper delivers a solid but occasionally flat performance in front of the camera as Jackson Maine, the seasoned musician battling his inner demons. Behind the camera as a director, I am more impressed. Especially given this is his directorial debut. However, on-screen I found myself continually drawn to Lady Gaga. Her presence is magnetic. If I am honest, this is true for most movies I’ve seen with Bradley Cooper. I don’t know why because I recognize his talent, but when he shares the screen with other actors, I typically remember them the most. From The Hangover to Nightmare Alley, this has remained true. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I watch Maestro.

If you couldn’t already tell, we are big fans of Lady Gaga. Her pop and electro-rock albums which made her famous are great and what most recognize her for, but it’s her softer, stripped-down performances like her jazz albums that are our favorites. We were lucky to see her perform a jazz and piano concert in Vegas last year, a tribute to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas and her late friend Tony Bennett.

Her work on A Star Is Born made her the first woman to win an Academy Award, Grammy Award, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award in a single year, a testament to her unparalleled talent across various mediums. A true creative and artist. This film receives a thumbs-up, and whether you're goo-goo for Gaga or charmed by 2011's Sexiest Man Alive, it should be added to your watchlist.

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Reads of the week

How to Live Forever

Before we solve How to Live Forever we should first ask, would you want to live forever? I am unsure of the merits of immortality, whether it would be a gift or a curse. That’s a case for a whole other post. Apparently, many people do want to live forever, and it seems to be correlated with net worth. Have you seen how many billionaires are trying anything possible to extend their lives? Blood transfusions from youthful donors to radical diets and fasting, people are trying it all. With this much effort put into trying to extend life, do you run the risk of not living the life you have?

"Life extension is a trade-off, though. You have to weigh the time you stand to gain against the time you lose while trying to gain it. When Jackie Onassis learned that she was dying, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she is said to have regretted having done so many pushups."

I am a firm believer that it’s the quality and happiness of life and not the length that defines a good life. Of course, the longer you live, the more opportunity you have. Moreover, I believe it’s the in-between moments that define a life. A life judged solely by what makes it on your curriculum vitae ignores 99% of the moments lived. As cliche as it is, I believe when one enters the twilight of their life, they will no longer remember or care about the promotions received and accolades won, but the trips taken, the sunsets watched, and the wine-infused kitchen concerts while cooking your favorite meal.

This article offered an interesting alternative in the quest for longevity. The premise is that increasing your memory of your life is akin to adding years. To demonstrate this, I offer a quick thought experiment. Let’s say you can live forever, but your memory is capped to the previous ten years. At this point, it doesn’t matter if you’ve lived 200 years and experienced significant world-altering events like plagues and the World Wars. If you can’t remember anything past the invention of TikTok, you’d effectively be a teenager.

To combat this, the author has meticulously documented his and his family’s lives. From daily journals, scrapbooks, and a decades-long email chain with friends, he has worked diligently to keep the memory of his life alive and easy to reference. While the lengths he has gone are extreme for most people, we can take some inspiration from his methods and vigor.

At the highest level, I gathered that we all can be more intentional with documenting our lives so we can remember and look back in the years to come.

"...a digital camera roll containing thousands of unsorted, unedited, contextless images is not an intelligible narrative of a life."
"I used to brood that civilization had suffered a huge loss when people switched from sending paper letters to sending e-mails, but I now think the real loss occurred when people switched from sending e-mails to sending texts, which young people in particular tend to fire off in bursts of unpunctuated sentence fragments."

I’ve made similar, less eloquent, and less loquacious statements in a few previous posts. We do live in an era where taking a high-quality photo has never been more accessible, yet how often do we sit and revisit these photos to reminisce? That’s a big reason I purchased a camera a few years back. It slows you down and makes you more intentional with the pictures you take. Once I add a film camera to my collection, that effect will only be compounded.

And I wholeheartedly agree with text messaging. Maybe I just suck at it, but rarely can a good conversation be held. I’ll take a chat over a beer or glass of wine any time, and would be thrilled if people still sent letters for correspondence. If you look at the About page, you can see my sentiment on modern relations: “We’ve become a world where liking a post and meme sending is the extent of most communication.”


So, if you want to “live longer”, try instead to live more thoughtfully, and document, but do so with intention. You don’t want to spend so much effort you forget to experience everything.

Reader Recommendations

Now, I want to hear from you! What movies, books, or articles captured your attention this week? Share your top picks in the comments below; your insights might just lead someone to their next favorite film or book.

Stay tuned until next week!

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