Katy Perry: Part of Me, the Epic Saga that Made This Writer Feel Human
If you got in a time machine and went back to yesterday around 6 p.m., our dish would sound something like this:
YOU: Hey Chrissie, what do you like about Katy Perry?
ME: You mean, what do I like about Katy Perry aside from how she creatively shoots things out of her boobs and that jazz sax solo in "Last Friday Night"? Ummm. Well … … … …
That's how the conversation would've went. Don't get me wrong. My feelings on ol' sparklebutt certainly don't stop me from running eating like a mo-fo every time "Firework" comes on my iPod at the gym as I lay on the couch. Come to think of it—it didn't stop me from actually paying for and downloading "Firework" in the first place.
I'm not a hater. But when a pop star bursts onto the scene with lyrics like "I kissed a girl and I liked it / Hope my boyfriend don't mind it"? It just reminds me too much of, like, Cancun or a frat house or something. I was never fully on board.
Until yesterday! Ugh, I'm such a cliché but did I fall in love with Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (her real name) a little bit when I watched her movie? Yes! No one is more surprised than I am!
Chronicling Katy & Co. as they embarked on the California Dreams 2011 tour, Katy Perry: Part of Me gives insight into a person who—okaaaay, now I buy it—is legit a huge, huge pop star. It has a bunch of videos of people praising her work ethic and her unique personality, sure. But what intrigued me most were the clips of a pink-lipglossed 17-year-old Perry talking to a camera about how she "wants to stand out like sore thumb." Call me a sucker for people achieving their dreams, but I'm a sucker for people achieving their dreams.
What did I love specifically? I will list it out for everyone's convenience:
1) First and foremost, she can sing. Footage of a younger, less glittery Katy at a coffee shop with nothing but a guitar puts that critique to bed.
2) She writes her own songs. Are the lyrics gonna change your life? No. It's all cotton candy. But writing a pop hook is a bit of an artform in and of itself. People get paid fistfuls of cash to write number-one singles. Katy Perry did it five times over—which is more than any other artist. Yes, that means she has one-upped The Beatles and Madonna and Michael Jackson. That's pretty impressive, no?
3) She is seen sans makeup like a lot, which I respect. Especially since she perches on an empire made of false eyelashes, wigs, glitter, and yes, music. But also all that other stuff.
4) She has a sister, Angela, who goes on tour with her and they're cute together.
5) Her concerts look like the inside of my mind: Glitter, outfits, cats, peacock feathers, sparkles, more outfits, back-up bands, dancers, people in banana costumes and candy clouds, all set to a Whitney Houston cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." That's just the way it is. I related to her choices on a surprisingly personal level.
And why not devote a paragraph to all the things her boobs were? We saw them as swirly peppermint candies that looked motorized, Dots (that candy that comes on a paper scroll), cherries, lollipops, Hershey's Kisses and so much more. Add to that the items we know she's already launched from her bra (fireworks and whipped cream), and her boobs are officially more fun that I will ever be.
What felt a bit artificial? All the Russell Brand divorce stuff. It was like propaganda or something. No need to reiterate how often she took her days off from the tour to fly to Russell to keep the marriage alive, production team. Your audience is inherently Team Katy. There's just no need.
And although a montage of "look how much this star loves his/her fans" is kind of trite and obvious, it was hard not to have my heart warmed as Katy talked to a child who went backstage courtesy of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I'm a human, not a robot!
So … the final word?
I would have appreciated more honest moments of vulnerability from Katy. BUT YOU GUYZ, THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLING IT A MOVIE, not a documentary. Plus, her target demo wants the ice cream and the sprinkles and the whipped cream and the cherry. Get those nutrition facts outta there.
My cold, hard heart be darned—I got chills when I watched her rise up out of the floor to greet 14,000 fans on the opening night of her concert. Yes, I did. Her boobs were dressed up as spinning peppermint candies. But ugh, I felt triumphant for her.
She worked really hard and her dreams came true. If I buy nothing else from Katy Perry until the end of time, I bought that.
And i might have written this while listening to "Waking Up in Vegas" on repeat. So FINE, I bought that, too.