Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why am I mentioning Whitney Houston

Well, I suppose it's partly because, thanks to TCM's 31 Days of Oscar, TCM is showing a lot of movies I've already blogged about in the past. But it has to be mentioned as well that she did act (or at least play characters) in some pretty well-known movies. The two most notable would be The Bodyguard, for which she also famously provided the music; and The Preacher's Wife, which is a remake of the classic The Bishop's Wife. Two of the songs from The Bodyguard received Oscar nominations, butnot "I Will Always Love You", as that was not an original song. However, Houston didn't write the lyrics or compose the music to either, so she didn't get the nomination, which is standard operating procedure: the nomination and award go to the composer and lyricist. Anybody could sing the songs; if you saw the documentary TCM ran on Johnny Mercer a few years back in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, you'll see some fun footage of Mercer on TV singing his own songs, not particularly well, but looking like he's having a blast performing.

Anyhow, Whitney Houston's death at a relatively young age and her history of drug abuse sounds reminiscent of any number of Hollywood movies. Whenever I think of a female singer abusing drugs and getting into legal trouble as a result, my first thought is of Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman. Heck, I've already used that theme back when Amy Winehouse (remember her?) died last summer. A movie about a drug-using singer in which the singer actually dies might be The Rose starring Bette Midler as the singer. For drug-addled actresses, I mentioned Jeanne Eagles when I wrote about Winehouse, but I could just as easily have mentioned Valley of the Dolls, a movie I really need to write a full-length post about sometime, since it's one of those movies that's an unintentional laugh riot.

There are apparently reports that Houston might have drowned in her bathtub. That, I suppose, would make her like Jim Morrison, about whom there is also speculation as to whether he really overdosed or drowned in a bathtub. They already made a biopic of him, The Doors after the group he fronted, but then, Morrison is one of those 60s counterculture era icons. Houston is firmly of the 1980s, and I wonder whether the 60s hangers-on who still seem to be making movies and influencing our culture care to make a movie about a 1980s singer. (Note that The Rose, despite having been released in 1979, was actually set in 1969 and is supposedly loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin, another counterculture icon.)

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