Monday, May 30, 2011

Madonna Video Monday: Holiday

On this Memorial Day weekend, I think back twenty years ago. I had just finished Basic Training on May 23rd, 1991 and returned home on leave before going to "A" School. Besides working a week for my recruiter so I wouldn't be charged five days of leave, attending church in my uniform, and getting my driver's license, I went to the theater to see Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary, the first documentary I saw in a theater. I still consider it a classic. I loved it. The film reportedly gave people a glimpse of "the real Madonna," even though she had control over the final edit. There was little that I found shocking about the Madonna that comes across. Since she cannot act, this persona seems to be real or as real as she could allow herself to be.

My impression of Madonna from this documentary is that she would not make a very good friend. She's a user to get what she wants and then discards you without a second glance once you've served your purpose. She also has some insecurities, such as when faced with Antonio Banderas' wife. However, like a jealous little school girl getting over her crush, she insults his manhood to her friends in the bathroom (is this what women do when they go to the restroom together?). I thought the scene with Antonio Banderas was interesting, because he was an unknown actor at the time (except to those who watched foreign films, particularly by Pedro Almadovar). Five years later, Madonna would co-star with him in Evita.

In the documentary, she makes fun of Kevin Costner for calling her show "neat". She makes fun of Belinda Carlisle. She calls her boyfriend at the time, Warren Beatty, a "pussy man" for not wanting to be on camera. She claims that Sean is her one true love during a game of "Truth or Dare." From what I learned reading her brother Christopher's book about her, he claims that his famous sister has always been uninterested in other celebrities. She wants to be the center of attention and can't stand sharing the spotlight or being friends with people who are equally or more famous than her. I was stunned to read that, because I think that one of the coolest aspect of being famous is the opportunity to meet and become friends with other famous people. For example, George Clooney seems very comfortable around his famous friends and not needing to be the center of attention all the time. Is Clooney the anti-Madonna? You would think that Madonna would take advantage of her fame to meet other interesting, creative famous people to be friends with and share ideas. But, you can see it in the documentary. Madonna prefers to surround herself with sycophantic dancers and assistants. But as Christopher wrote in his book, Madonna allows the dancers to get a little close to her to give them the illusion of friendship, but once they've been in her circle and learn "too much", they are cut off and never in Madonna's orbit again. How sad.

I love the documentary, though. It was a great mix of the documentary footage of her Blonde Ambition Tour of 1990 with concert footage (in colour) from that awesome show. The song "Holiday" did not have an official music video, so the footage from her concert became the one shown on MTV in 1991 and afterwards. On this Holiday, as we memorialize those who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country, most Americans are having barbecues or going camping or otherwise enjoying the first three-day holiday weekend of the year (considered the official start of summer). Hope you had a safe holiday. Best wishes this Memorial Day.

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