Continuing my theme of movies about The Fame, I recently watched this number after months and months of seeing the poster everyday at my old video store. Plus, I liked the Oscar nominated original song. It was on Starz so I finally bit the bullet.
Country Strong (2010)
Six time Grammy winner and country music superstar Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) is in rehab after a disastrous concert in Dallas where her drunken, five month pregnant ass fell of the stage. While in recovery, she has been having an affair with Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund), an orderly and aspiring country artist. Kelly's husband and manager James (Tim McGraw) decides it's time for her to go out on the road again, even when she is clearly not ready to do so. Opening for Kelly is another aspiring country singer, Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester), a sort of perky Taylor Swift/Carrie Underwood princess. Love quadrangles, pills, booze, dead baby jokes....ah, The Fame.
Unlike rock or pop, country music isn't known for having their stars go bAt ShIt CraZY. (Or maybe I'm just ignorant because Behind the Music stayed away from country). Well sure, there have been a fair share of alcoholics and wife beaters, but not a lot of public meltdowns...save for B level star Mindy McCready (late 90's, "Guys Do It All the Time"). What I didn't know was that Kelly Canter was inspired by BRITNEY SPEARS. Had I known that, I probably would have sprinted to the theater.
Also Tobey Maguire was one of the producers. WTF? I didn't even know he liked country. Some fan I am.
Most of these films start with the artist's struggle to attain fame, then show how they deal with it, lose it, and finally end with them rising from the ashes in a glorious comeback performance. Country Strong starts at the bottom and doesn't improve much. Unlike Britney Spears, who is doing pretty good these days, Kelly Canter [SPOILERS] commits suicide in the last reel. And why? "Because fame and love can't live in the same place." Direct quote. Do you hear that famous people? You're fucked. Might as well end it now.
So maybe it's not the best message, but you have to give Country Strong props for going against the grain. More times than not these films end with the artist on top of the world and everything is hunky dory. But how accurate is that? Fame fucks people up, sometimes irrevocably. I could sit here and type dozens of examples, but you already know them. Kudos, Country Strong, for showing that fame is a hideous bitch goddess.