— Bette Davis as Rosa Moline from Beyond the Forest, 1949
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July 25, 2013
Let’s Talk 20 Feet From Stardom: A Delightful Reflection on Back Up Singer’s Past
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Synopsis: Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. (c) TWC-Radius
We follow the subject matters around. These women tell us how it was during an era where the industry was different as was American society. And do they tell it like it was…back in the day. Stories of humor and setback are included as these women retell their various accomplishments and setbacks. One story focusing on Merry Clayton was riveting especially as we hear her belt out a tune. Darlene Love tells her story and finds satisfaction finally being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just a few years ago. Lisa Fischer discusses how a solo career wasn’t for her.
Finally, I wanted to mention the likelihood of an Oscar nomination for 20 Feet From Stardom. I think it is a strong possibility to both woo the Academy and provide an satisfying alternative to the serious subject matter that can overwhelm the Best Documentary category. The box office performance has been strong considering a string of disappointments looking to breakout into mainstream success. Awards possibilities are a likelihood.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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