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JulyDiaz

Episode 194 - Yes, Giorgio: LIVE!

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Live from New York, Paul, June, and Jason discuss the 1982 musical/comedy Yes, Giorgio starring Luciano Pavarotti. They talk about Pavarotti’s impressive breath control, the food fight scene, and whether or not opera is hard. Plus, stick around at the end for some incredible opera inspired 2nd Opinions songs!

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There were only two joys I got from this film... the first was perking up towards the end of the film and exclaiming... "Is that my boy blue?" Sure enough, the old man on the gurney is the same actor who portrayed Blue in Old School.

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The second joy I had, is knowing the editor warned us at the very beginning of the film that this was going to be a painful watch. Right after Giorgio's first song in the church, we cut to a little boy yawning. If that isn't a sign to the audience that they better buckle up for this horrendous experience... I don't know what else would be.

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15 minutes ago, i'll hold the mike said:

"I like a bigger boy." 

...

"I like a bigger boy."

My new favorite quote...

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The budget was $19 million, and it made just $2.2 million at the box office, meaning that Yes, Giorgio makes it into the top 10 of least profitable HDTGM movies! Just below Steel, but just above Gigli. See https://hdtgm.info/ for the details.

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I was at this show and wanted to raise my hand and ask a question but chickened out and didn't, so I'm going to say my piece here.

I really wanted to know more about that nun. Where was she flying to with that loaf of bread and other groceries? Did the car bring her to her plane after it dropped off Giorgio or did she get stuck there on the tarmac next to his plane? I would have preferred a movie about her travels. It was bound to be better.

Also, Paul's Italian accent in this episode was flawless.

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As someone that performed for 10 years, Opera is so hard.

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24 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

As someone that performed for 10 years, Opera is so hard.

As a wise woman once said, just because something is difficult doesn't mean that it's good.

Also, what's Italian for "Scribbles"?

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24 minutes ago, i'll hold the mike said:

Also, what's Italian for "Scribbles"?

Scarabocchi

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So June was the guest on last week's Bitch Sesh episode and she mentioned that she likes a bigger boy! 

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3 hours ago, i'll hold the mike said:

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I can't stop making these!!!!

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Although the person who wrote the review about this movie and their experience with hitting puberty and watching this movie was completely over the top, it reminded me a little bit of the feeling I got when looking at my mom's copy of this record back in the day. I'm perplexed by it now.

 

Neil Diamond - His 12 Greatest Hits (1974).jpg

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I shouldn't be surprised that Jason had no idea about spilling tea but honestly I'm still surprised.

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1 hour ago, pscudese said:

 

The second joy I had, is knowing the editor warned us at the very beginning of the film that this was going to be a painful watch. Right after Giorgio's first song in the church, we cut to a little boy yawning. If that isn't a sign to the audience that they better buckle up for this horrendous experience... I don't know what else would be.

 

I don't understand why this movie needed to be a more painful viewing experience than most others, or why Paul provided a music-free cut of the film to help us get through it. You're watching a Pavarotti movie; the singing is the whole point!  Especially the week after Paul talked on his other podcast about how opera in films like Shawshank Redemption and Pretty Woman is a shortcut to understand that a character has depth.  The plot/acting is the painful part that you should fast-forward.  You don't skip the breakdancing in "Body Rock", or the BMX racing in "Rad", or the splits and kicks in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Maybe opera isn't for everyone, but then neither is bicycling, martial arts, or Neil Diamond. If you skip the arias and songs then you're missing out on the one thing that Pavarotti was known for.

(Actually, scratch that...you would still get the womanizing and the eating.  Let me rephrase: if you skip the singing then you're missing out on one of the three things that Pavarotti was known for.)

But the singing is what the movie claims is Pavarotti's get-out-of-jail-free card. His voice is the reason for the bottomless adulation he receives. No one ever compliments him on anything else other than his singing, or relates to him as a person.  It's all about his greatness because of his singular talent, and it entitles him to act like an entitled creepy stalker. The movie fails because it takes for granted that the singing will sell Giorgio as a sympathetic character; we'll fall in love with him just as Pamela does.  The problem is that the music itself only exits to serve Pavarotti's ego. Opera novices like June won't be more inclined to like opera any more after watching this movie, because each vocal performance only inflates the image of the man who exhibits narcissistic personality disorder even when he's not singing. Not once does Giorgio speak about opera as an art form, or the craft of singing, or the emotion of music. Each song is either a vehicle to show off his physical stamina, or a call for everyone in the vicinity to gather around him in adulation, or a vehicle for him to cynically manipulate and flatter his groupies and fans. 

The final line of the climactic aria "Nessun dorma" is "Vincero!" - "I will conquer!" - which is basically the theme of the film. It's all about him. He can do whatever he wants: have an affair but stay married with no consequences, destroy a kitchen's worth of food, return to the Met Opera after a self-imposed exile provoked by a hissy fit, soldier on even after his lover leaves him. The craziest part of the whole movie is that "Nessun dorma" is sung twice! There's still about 30 minutes left to the opera. So the movie effectively gives Giorgio an encore that no one asked for.  There was no doubt that "Nessun dorma" would be the climax of the film, but do we have to hear it twice in its entirety, both verses?  Apparently yes, so Pav can sing the high B even longer the second time (6 seconds the first time, a whopping 10 seconds the second time). I think it's musically thrilling, but the movie definitely pushes the audience as far as they can go to the point of admiring the singing and not caring for anything else. Especially nowadays, when the #metoo movement and general impatience for diva-ish behavior has finally caught up to the opera world that created the likes of Pavarotti.

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Here is the post I wrote after being in the audience. I haven't listened to the episode yet.

 

This is going to be a long post. I was in the audience for this show and I have been stewing on this movie for like a month now. I wish I could forget about it like June because the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get.

 

I will give the film two props.

 

1. I was thinking about some of the other starring vehicles we have seen, like the Hulk Hogan movies, and I appreciate that Pavarotti (may he Rest In Peace) was willing to play a flawed character it might be very close to his actual life—I am not sure.  But he’s like “yep I cheat on my wife and I am kind of dumb and chauvinistic.” And thought I found him very stiff in most of the movie I did have A feeling (just one) when he performed the final song and was sad.

 

2. I was happy that Pamela left. It wasn’t treated like she was going to be unhappy forever without him or anything. She’s a hot lady doctor that other men took time out of their day to sexually harass. She had other options. She had an important job to go back to. She’s gonna be fine, guys.

 

What I did object to was, as the gang mentioned, her just dropping her IMPORTANT job to cater to him. She is a lady doctor who performs surgery on children. Maybe tonsillitis isn’t the most dangerous of ailments but if she froze during surgery like he did on stage, someone could die.

 

So when they initially mention something awful happening at the Met, I thought the stakes would be high. You know that this important lady doctor needs to take time out of her life to fix him. When it was revealed during the food fight that it was just a wardrobe malfunction and he was mainly concerned that people laughed at him? I. Was. Furious.

 

What I really WANTED him to say was, “The Met killed my wife.” Like Richard Kimble in “The Fugitive” or something.

 

How great would it have been if we don’t talk about Carla because she was  murdered by that dragon or something? Or maybe a rival pushed her off a balcony?

 

Some more of my nerd notes:

 

— Pavarotti did not speak English very well. I read a trivia big on IMDb that said he was surprised that changing the words around meant changing the entire meaning and he had trouble with it. That made me laugh. Yeah English is a real language with meanings. I found the way he pronounced “Pamela” most confounding. It was like “Pah-meh-la.” And initially because the dubbing was bad I thought he said “Karnilla,” who is a villain in the Thor universe. I call her Karnilla in all my notes.

 

— I thought the comedy vignettes (nuns, hat lady, Asian couple, food fight, etc) were all poorly placed. The more I think about it, the more I like the nun in the opening. The Mother Superior is a trickster and gets him to do her bidding by pretending she doesn’t recognize him. But in the second scene? We don’t know why he deserved that. If that had come AFTER the mistreatment of the poor Asian couple, Kwan and Mei Ling, I think she’d be the hero of the movie.

 

Also, the she had the Italian equivalent of a baguette in her hand bag. It was up by her face in the car ride scene. Why she is taking bread on the plane? Did she being a whole meal? I have a lot of questions about her life.

 

— The Kwan and Mei Ling scenes were the most uncomfortable for me to watch. I hate when people treat service workers (or were they friends? Wait, that makes it weirder.) like slaves. I was really upset by it. And I was concerned that place they had the food fight might be the same set, which would mean they might have to clean up that mess? I was ready to start a GoFundMe for them.

 

— I also found that scene way more offensive than the “yellow face” mentioned by the audience in the final scene. I don’t know much about opera but I do have Il Teatro Olivia, a little play set for the picture book character Olivia. It is for her to wear fancy costumes and be the center of attention. All I know about Turandot (the opera being performed in the end) is that Olivia also wears elaborate robes like the African American opera singer. Not that this makes it okay but I think it is standard for a production of Turandot and not an invention of the movie. Also, Olivia is a pig so I don’t know if that is yellow face or not? 

 

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3 hours ago, hotironskillet said:

I was at this show and wanted to raise my hand and ask a question but chickened out and didn't, so I'm going to say my piece here.

I really wanted to know more about that nun. Where was she flying to with that loaf of bread and other groceries? Did the car bring her to her plane after it dropped off Giorgio or did she get stuck there on the tarmac next to his plane? I would have preferred a movie about her travels. It was bound to be better.

Also, Paul's Italian accent in this episode was flawless.

I was also in the audience and I would have supported this question so hard.

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Coincidentally, I'm going to see Turandot later this year and while I'm trying not to read too much about it (hello 100 year old spoilers), I've read that the story is supposed to be set in China, so June was probably right that Pavarotti was in stage makeup.   

Some popular uses of Nessun Dorma in pop culture - in Rogue Nation Ilsa is supposed to pull the trigger at:

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And in the last episode of Season 1 of Netflix's Daredevil, Nessun Dorma was used for the arrest scene and the version they used was Pavarotti's.  

 

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Okay so now I have listened to the episode. It does kind of suck that this is such a BUMMER of a movie. Because I, like June, thought maybe one day opera would be a thing I get into. Like right now I don't understand it. I know the Ruth Bader Ginsburg is really into it. I love her. She's goals. So I thought maybe when I was old like her, I'd be into it.

After watching this movie, I am don't think it's going to happen. Maybe I am just TOO DUMB? Or maybe I'm not musical? I don't know.

But why did we all know who Pavarotti was in the 80s? Was it because of the Three Tenors? But then that was him and two other guys. I had to Google them just now to confirm it which two other guys. Why was Pavarotti part of our cultural awareness then? I don't think I know any current opera singers.

Was this opera's ONE chance at mainstream success? I mean, besides Pavarotti those are real singers at the Met, right? Famous people? If this movie had done better, would we know their names like Pavarottis?

I guess I wish it had shown why he loved opera so much a little bit. Or maybe made opera more accessible somehow, like translating the plots of one of them? Wouldn't it have been more cost effective to just film the Met people doing TURNADOT?

23 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

Coincidentally, I'm going to see Turandot later this year and while I'm trying not to read too much about it (hello 100 year old spoilers), I've read that the story is supposed to be set in China, so June was probably right that Pavarotti was in stage makeup.   

Okay so I CAN'T spoil it for you because I don't know. I did google how to pronounce it after getting the Olivia set. And apparently it means (dokt) daughter of Turan, which was what they called Central Asia. And there is a debate about the proper pronunciation. So I figure the woman is Turandot? The Asian princess? I don't know who Pavarotti was supposed to be. These are things I wish the movie explained, honestly.

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This movie aggravated me in ways I just can't explain, and I do enjoy listening to the more notable songs of classical music, but I now wish I watched the edited version because it was just unnecessary for the most part. I was surprised that there was no turn for the main relationship in anyway, like the wife finding out about the affair, or the doctor getting into a relationship of her own and ends up making Pavoratti jealous and in turn want her more. It was just like "they're gonna fuck for a bit and then he's heading back to his mansion and his family." It honestly reminded me of the ending of The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones in that the whole movie is sort of building this relationship between an immigrant stuck in the airport due to no fault of his own and this flight attendant who is the mistress of a government official, we think that they will get together in the end but after all is said and down. While both are what I feel are fairly accurate representations, they really don't make for good movies as it just goes against what the audience is hoping for  with the couples.

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7 hours ago, esc_key said:

Okay so I CAN'T spoil it for you because I don't know

Sadly, the ending is literally spoiled for everyone because the composer died before he got a chance to finish the opera. Puccini's student wrote what is accepted today as the standard ending, but the music just isn't as good as the rest of it.

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