Friday, January 8, 2010

Maddening Divinity

I watched Divine Madness yesterday, and what an experience it is! Bette Midler is one of those performers who get lumped together because gay audiences seem to like them so much, but it only takes on viewing of Madness, her 1980 concert film, to see why she was and still is such a popular force. It's not gay audiences' fault that they actually enjoy showmanship, entertainment and pure performance. But if it means that I get to watch a movie such as this and enjoy it while other people are out there missing it for fear of it being "too camp" then so be it.

Not just music though, the film features some of Midler's astonishingly hilarious standup bits. A series of jokes about the Queen in particular had me in guffaws. What does she keep in her purse? Definitely not parking change. I couldn't find that joke, unfortunately, so I've included her bit as "Sophie Tucker", a filthy woman with a penchant for dick jokes. Lovely. My favourite of the musical sequences was the below moment featuring "The E Street Shuffle" by God Bruce Springsteen and then "Leader of the Pack" by another one of my favourite's The Shangri-Las. It's all very new-wave packed with '80s synths, crazy costumes and a dreamy New York backdrop.

If you don't try and see this movie then it's your loss. A-

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