Sunday, November 08, 2015

Dullest book of 2015

Celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli longed for respectability and something more than gossipy page turners.  Beginning in the '00s, his books became lifeless and dull.

BECOMING BEYONCE: THE UNTOLD STORY only continues the pattern.


Rebecca panned the book "a dull, uptight bitch named j. randy" and she was actually being kind.

There's no reason in the world this book should have been written, let alone published.

Fan club newsletters for tween Disney TV stars are harder hitting than the soppy, sloppy prose he churns out.

Doubt us?

It's page 182 before Beyonce gets a hit recording ("No, No, No!" with Destiny's Child).

Beyonce isn't even 18 at that point.

So, yes, that means the author has over-invested into her childhood.

It only gets worse.

Everything she does is wonderful.

Nothing about her is ever questioned.

Making a TV movie for MTV, Taraborrelli insists, "forced" Beyonce "to be open to new points of view -- and sometimes even conflict" which he sees as wonderful while failing to grasp that his passage only speaks to someone with serious problems.

He also glorifies her mother slapping her at a store when Beyonce is singing along to her own song -- piped over the store's speakers -- and smiling at a group of young men who are entranced with her.

This bit of violence, out in the open, should have led to parallels of Beyonce's sister's infamous attack on Jay-Z in an elevator.  But Taraborrelli plays that incident for 'understanding' as well.

There's no drama in the book, there's no life in it.

On page 382, he writes:

Cadillac Records was a triumph; not so her next movie -- and her last, to date -- Obsessed.

And that's it in terms of criticism.

He fails to elaborate on why Obsessed wasn't "a triumph."

You'd never know how bad the reviews were because . . . he never quotes them.

You'd never know Beyonce earned a Razzie nomination for that film (Worst Actress).

Time and again, Taraborrelli makes his exalted comments on how wonderful this or that was without ever actually noting -- let alone quoting -- critical reception.

The sole exception is with the film DREAMGIRLS where he briefly notes that the critics praised Jennifer Hudson and ignored Beyonce or slammed her.  He includes one critic -- who slams Beyonce's acting and praises her singing.

And then, as if to atone for a moment of honesty, he rushes to insist:

Beyonce was gratified to win a Golden Globe, but Jennifer won one too.  When Jennifer was nominated for and then won an Oscar, few people were surprised.

A few people might be surprised by that -- specifically that Beyonce won a Golden Globe.

Because, for the record, she did not.

She was nominated for her acting and for co-writing "Listen" -- but she lost for both.

It's a dull and plodding book.

It's also proof that purveyors of trash page turners should never aspire to be  inspirational.

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