It’s kind of nice to use the word “travesty” in a totally meaningless way again. And this isn’t to say things are at all “good” in the world right now, they are not, but it’s fun sometimes to be hyperbolic. It can be cathartic. So let’s all take a couple of minutes of catharsis and be hyperbolic about one of the songs in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.
Back in late January, I got a “for your consideration” PR email about one of the songs featured in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar called “I Love Boobies.” At the time I had never even heard of Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar and the whole thing seemed like a joke. But, it probably did have the desired effect since I asked out loud, to myself, “what is this?,” and further investigated this weird movie that I thought was either fake or something I’d never like in a million years. (I was wrong about both of those things.)
So, I get it, to a point: why someone decided “I Love Boobies” would be the song that the film would push for awards. It’s just “raunchy” enough to get attention and it is kind of preposterous that it would actually win any awards. So, then I finally watched the movie and “I Love Boobies” winds up being fairly forgettable during the course of the film. Which is countered by Jamie Dornan’s powerhouse punch of an earworm that hits the viewer like a steamroller, “Edgar’s Prayer.” (Which you can hear here, but I wish the version with the visual from the film would be made available.)
What a song! It’s set up with a slowly building tempo as Edgar contemplates his love woes. It lulls you in with just the fact Jamie Dornan is doing something pretty amazing, before it lets its wildfire crescendo hit us with, “Seagulls in the sand can you hear my prayer!” The way this line is performed is perfect comedy: hilarious yet impossibly earnest. We believe this character in that moment would ask a seagull if the seagull can hear his prayer. This entire song, with its visuals of Dornan prancing and leaping on the beach, is one of the funniest sequences I’ve seen in a movie in maybe a couple of years.
So, yes, it makes me a bit crestfallen (in the meaningless kind of way) that whatever the Oscars look like this year, we won’t see Dornan prancing and leaping and asking if a seagull on a tire can hear his prayer. Because I honestly believe this song had a shot, at least to make the shortlist, but if the email I received is to be believed, the awards push was put behind “I Love Boobies.” (This is to say, if you were in the room, or, I guess, Zoom call, that day when this decision was made and you fought for the awards campaign to be put behind “Edgar’s Prayer” instead of “I Love Boobies,” I just want you to know your fight is appreciated, you were correct, and you should feel exonerated.)
Look, it’s been a lousy (checks calendar) almost a year now. (I know everyone makes jokes about losing the sense of time, but, no, really. Yesterday I heard a passing reference to Halloween and for like 10 seconds my thought process was, “Yeah, I guess that is coming up.”) “Edgar’s Prayer” just seems like a fun thing we can all share. And having it performed at an Oscar ceremony was something we could have all looked forward to watching, even if it didn’t win. But it’s not happening. No prancing. We will probably never see this song performed live. [Cue some hyperbole] We have nothing to look forward to.
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