I'm Going to Tell You a Secret
September 19, 2016
Todd: And here we are. The end. I will miss Cinemadonna.
- Clips of Desperately Seeking Susan, Bloodhounds of Broadway, Swept Away, Shanghai Surprise, Blue in the Face, Arthur and the Invisibles, W.E., and ending with trailer for I'm Going to Tell You a Secret
Todd (VO): And after going through awful movie after awful movie of Madonna being shitty in all facets—shitty lead, shitty love interest, shitty cameos, shitty voice acting, shitty producer, and finally shitty director—it only fit to end away from the world of fiction and go back to watching Madonna do the thing she was actually good at.
Todd: Being famous. I'm sorry, I meant music. Performing music.
Todd (VO): Which brings us to the final movie we will cover in this series, I'm Going to Tell You a Secret: a documentary film shot during Madonna's Re-Invention Tour in 2004. Of course...
Todd: ...we already have a Madonna tour documentary.
- Clip of...
Todd (VO): That was called Truth or Dare, and it still casts a huge shadow over the Madonna mythology. At the time, it was the highest-grossing documentary ever, and it's still way up there, even without adjusting for inflation.
Todd: It specifically casts a huge shadow over this new documentary.
Todd (VO): Truth or Dare captured one of the most famous entertainers of all time at the peak of her stardom. What could another one add?
Todd: Well, a lot.
Todd (VO): Because Madonna in 2004 is a lot different from Madonna in 1991. It's not like she stopped after Truth or Dare; she continued to cement her place as one of the all-time most significant artists in pop culture. Truth or Dare captured Madonna the superstar, but...
Todd: ...I'm Going to Tell You a Secret would capture Madonna the legend. [Beat] In theory.
Todd: I wanted to end this series on a bang, but...yeah, this is still kind of a damp squib to go out on.
Todd (VO): Most tour docs don't make a whole lot of waves, but it really seems like this one should've gotten a little more attention. It's Madonna, the icon.
Todd: How could this go wrong?
- Backed by Indian music
- Madonna (VO): "Then I saw a beast rising out of the seas with ten horns and seven heads and a blasphemous name upon its head. [Todd tilts his head in wonder] And to it, the dragon gave his power."
Todd (VO): Is...is that the Book of Revelation?
- Madonna (VO): "...heard a great voice from the throne saying..."
Todd (VO): Okay, first off, this is clearly the wrong music.
- Scene dubbed over with Nine Inch Nails - "Closer"
- Trent Reznor: Help me
- I broke apart...
Todd (VO): There we go.
Todd: Okay, um...the...
Todd (VO): ...first thing you need to know is that this is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, a music video director who is [brief clips of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" and "Telephone" ft. Beyonce] not known for his restraint. So everything is...a little overedited? Yeah.
Look, this is how he introduces Madonna's dancers.
- Each introduced with name handwritten on screen
- Paul Kirkland: If you're straight and you don't go to a titty bar, there's a problem. Titty-titty-titty bar...
- Dawn Noel: Clap, clap, turn around
Todd (VO): This is the story of seven dancers picked to live together in a house. Find out what happens when people stop being polite...
Todd: So, yeah, the Book of Revelation.
- Madonna (VO): To me, the beast is the modern world that we live in.
Todd (VO): And other God stuff. As you can see, this is going to show Madonna being a little more high-minded than in Truth or Dare, [clip from same] where she recited poetry about farts.
Todd: Yeah, none of that toilet humor here.
- Madonna: Um, I have to pee. You don't want to hear me pee. Get out. [Shutting door on cameraman] Get out.
Todd (VO): Okay, less toilet humor here. But anyway, back to the original question: why do we need another Madonna documentary?
Todd: Obviously because [brief clips of "Ray of Light," "Don't Tell Me," "Human Nature," and "Secret"] Madonna's made a lot of good music since then. The back half of Madonna's career has no shortage of classic, blockbuster singles. Matter of fact, what are we waiting for? Let's hear it!
- Footage of dance rehearsals with "Die Another Day" playing on soundtrack
- Madonna: I'm gonna kiss some part of
- I'm gonna keep...
Todd: [let down] The Bond theme? Seriously?
Todd (VO): Okay, that's a fluke. That's just background music. We're here to catch her...
Todd: ...perform live.
- Concert footage of "Vogue"
Todd (VO): Yeah, there we go. See? She's still got it, although I already saw her perform "Vogue" in the last movie. Skip to the next number, what else does she have?
- Concert footage of dancers diving over each other to machine gun fire
- Madonna: This type of modern life
- Is it for me
Todd: Oh, God, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no!
- Madonna: American life
Todd (VO): Aww! God, I'm just remembering that this movie came out in the wake of one of Madonna's worst albums! Oh, God, it's the one where she tried to make, like, social commentary and...
Todd: Oh, God, oh, God, this is the song where she raps!
- Madonna: I'm drinkin' a soy latte
- I get a double shottie
- It goes right through my body
- And you know I'm satisfied
- I do yoga and pilates
- And the room is full of hotties
- So I'm checking out their bodies
- And you know I'm satisfied
Todd: [crying] Why-y-y-y-y-y?!
- Madonna: I've always thought that my job was to wake people up.
Todd (VO): She is really, really convinced that she's gonna change the world here with her...her rapping about yoga and soy lattes.
- Angry fan: She should keep politics out of it!
- Another angry fan: I thought I was coming to a music show, I didn't know I was coming to a political Democratic convention.
Todd (VO): Look, I'm not one of the "shut up and sing" people, but... Look, no matter what your political beliefs, we all agree that Madonna should stay out of it, right?
Todd: [right?] That's not a great look for her?
- Michael Moore: (clone him) An amazing show. I even danced once.
Todd (VO): Congratulations, everyone. We actually found a pairing for Madonna more awkward than Sean Penn.
- Madonna: Tell me, do you know who you're gonna vote for?
- Cameraman: Kerry?
- Madonna: Don't say it with a question mark.
- Cameraman: Kerry, I'm voting for Kerry.
Todd (VO): Oh, 2004, you were a bad year. I'm not gonna say Madonna is the reason that Kerry lost, you know.
Todd: It's just an interesting theory.
Todd (VO): Look, I thought we would be watching Madonna the timeless icon, but this is actually extremely dated. This is Madonna at a very, very specific time in her life. And unfortunately, that specific time was 2004; and even though she didn't yet have that stink of desperation that covers her most recent singles, the sun was already definitely setting on her time as a relevant artist.
That said, she hadn't yet faded as a celebrity. She was still very much in the public eye. I remember all this. She's trying to be political, she's stumping for Kerry, she has children now, she...
- Madonna: [holding a flower] Who's that from, I wonder. A flower with a necklace.
Todd: [realizing] Oh, no. Oh, no.
- Madonna: Oh, that's pretty. An admirer, obviously.
- Cuts to Guy Ritchie (my old man) laughing in a car
Todd (VO): Madonna, why were you and...
Todd: ...Guy Ritchie a thing?
- Guy: And there you were having a [honks three cars] right before me eyes.
Todd (VO): The only reason I can think of for why they got together in the first place is that, in 1986, Guy Ritchie was an 18-year-old who wanted to bang Madonna. Other than that, what is pop singer/spiritualist/gay icon Madonna doing with Guy Ritchie, King of the Blokes? I thought maybe this movie might clear it up, but it only makes it worse.
- Madonna: My husband is more into it with the people he does jiu jitsu than he is with me.
Todd (VO): And while Madonna is putting a bright face on it, it's...it's already pretty clear that this relationship isn't working.
- Madonna: My husband ditched me at the castle we were staying at. And when I came out of the bathroom, he was gone. We had a huge fight when he got home, and I didn't speak to him for 24 hours.
Todd (VO): Unsurprisingly, they don't mention Swept Away at all. A look into their disintegrating marriage would be a lot more interesting, but I get the feeling that Madonna doesn't want to be too honest or revealing about this.
Todd: Which, in itself, is quite an amazing development.
Todd (VO): Truth or Dare not only caught Madonna at her most famous, but also her most immature, bitchiest, and most unlikable. She didn't care how awful she looked; she may have been actively trying to look...
Todd: ...worse than she actually was.
Todd (VO): But 13 years later, as a wife and mom, she is trying to put on a nicer face. This is the older, wiser Madonna, the gentler Madonna, the maternal Madonna, the...
Todd: The spiritual Madonna.
- Eitan: (my teacher) Kabbalah come from the ancient word in the Aramaic.
Todd (VO): Hello, have you heard [cover of Living Kabbalah] the good news? Yes, this movie is a full-on dive into Kabbalah, the ancient practice of Jewish mysticism that, through the lens of Madonna, sure sounds like every other piece of New Age gibberish I've ever heard.
- Eitan: And when you understand this, you realize I would like to choose those thoughts, all those behaviors, all those certain ways of thinking that will plant seeds to create blessings...
Todd: It's the river between being and becoming. That'll be $200. Also, please buy my book.
Todd (VO): Oh, and by the way, she may be older and wiser, but one thing she hasn't outgrown is her love of scribbling out terrible poetry.
- Madonna: [reading] I have a cage
- It's called the sage
- When I'm let out
- I run about
Todd (VO): Dr. Seuss wrote more sophisticated rhymes than this. Still better than the "American Life" rap.
And I admit I am not the most educated on spiritual matters, but I don't think it's just my ignorance that makes her sound like a mishmash of everything. Her version of Kabbalah literally just is everything. Judaism, Catholicism, Hinduism.
- Concert footage of "Hollywood"
Hey, it's the song from my intro. Although I like the version I use better.
- Lourdes: [in pool] Do you want to go back home to LA, Rocco?
- Rocco: Oh, n... oh, yeah. Bye!
Todd (VO): I say this, Madonna, if you're listening, your children are adorable. But the people who are apparently her real children are her backup dancers, who she apparently cares so much about. She throws them parties, she takes them to classical music concerts, and then tragically, like all parents, must send them on their way into the world.
Todd: With another poem.
- Madonna: I'm known to write a wee verse or two
- Regarding things important and/or true
Todd: [reading from card] "They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face"
- Madonna: But now, I'm creeping 'round like a tarantula
- Just looking for some words that rhyme with Angela
NOT A RHYME
Todd (VO): And so ends yet another successful tour, one of the biggest and highest-grossing of that year. Goodbye, Madonna. You must go back to your family, and I must go back to reviewing actual music.
Todd: It's been a good ride. I'm Todd In The Shadows, and...
- Guide: It is my delight and pleasure to welcome you to Israel and the David...
Todd: Uh...nope, we're still going.
- Madonna: A bit of kosher champagne. Not.
Todd (VO): Why is this movie still going? Why are we following her to Israel? The tour's over.
Todd: The tour's over!
- Elias Jabour: I do believe that peace will come one day to our country. She can do a lot, in my opinion. We need her help.
Todd (VO): Madonna?! You need Madonna's help. She's a pop singer, she's not a world leader, she's only been an activist for like a year! The woman is famous for wearing a cone bra and thrusting her crotch in public; she's not gonna solve the Middle East.
Todd: Did you say that just to get in the movie? Hey, Madonna, I think that you are basically the new Mother Teresa. Put me in a movie.
- Madonna: We teach children what we are trying to learn as adults. Children are more open, they are more alive. They're not thinking, "oh, he's a Muslim," or "she's a Jew." They do not judge one another by the color of their skin or the style of their headdress...
Todd (VO): WHAT?! Do you know anything about children?! [Picture of boy taunting a crying boy] Children are cruel and awful!
Todd: Is...is there another song at the end of this? Please, please just sing the song, and we can go home.
- Madonna: Imagine there's no countries
Todd: Are you kidding me?
Todd (VO): Ending your plea for peace by singing "Imagine" is like having "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" as your graduation theme: it just shouldn't happen anymore.
Todd: You know, I've watched a lot of these rock documentaries, and they usually go out of their way to make their subject look bad. Truth or Dare sure did.
Todd (VO): Didn't look like this movie was going in that direction, but as we move towards the end, we finally have the unflattering celebrity portrait we needed. Madonna: the poor man's Bono.
Todd: Oh, God, please just take us to the end.
- Two kids, an Israeli and a Palestinian, walk off together
- The End (crossed out)
- The beginning
Todd cries in agony
Todd (VO): No, no. No, it's the end.
- "The beginning" is crossed out in red
- THE END
It's...it's definitely the end.
Todd: The end.
Closing tag song: "American Life"
"I'm Going to Tell You a Secret" is owned by Maverick Films
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS