Or YASSSSSS, for added emphasis.
This is what I’ve been waiting for – the trailer for Jennifer Lopez’s documentary, Halftime. The film will open the Tribeca Festival next month before it premieres on Netflix on June 14. At the end of the preview, JLo reads from her family group chat where her mother and her sister care more about the score of the football game than her latest achievement. On my friend group chat last night, we were talking about viewing parties, getting together to watch this when it comes out. Because from the looks of it, in Halftime, JLo is serving up everything we want and need.
Starting with what we call producer porn, the rehearsal footage, practice sessions, everything that goes into putting together a live production on the scale of what JLo delivered at the Super Bowl…which, and not just for those of us who work in the business anymore, can sometimes be more entertaining, and definitely more informative, than the final performance on stage.
Over the last almost 30 years, JLo has established her reputation as one of the hardest working people in the business, she is always doing the most. And we see the results of that, for sure, from movies to music to merchandising and more. But it isn’t often that she SHOWS us the work. That’s what this documentary will be – the sweat and the fights, the negotiations, the deadlines, and definitely the tears.
Like, of course, projects like these ultimately, always, stroke the ego. Halftime, like the other self-produced superstar documentaries that have come before it, will only add to the JLo mythology. But I do like some of the editorial choices that we’re seeing in the trailer because they give us some insight into what she’s willing to share in order to shape that mythology.
For example, she telling us – again – how much she wanted that Oscar nomination for Hustlers. And even though, probably in the end, the story arc will be that she’s been able to move past that motivation and truly embrace that she does what she does because the best reward is how she connects with people, there aren’t too many celebrities at her level of fame and success who will keep admitting how much they crave, or craved, validation from the “Academies”, the pop culture institutions that arbitrarily decide who’s good and who’s not.
With respect to Halftime, both the film and the Super Bowl performance, all that was happening when she was preparing for that moment. So we’re getting filmed footage of JLo from late 2019 and early 2020, just as bid for that Oscar nomination was denied, and she had the opportunity to move past that under the biggest spotlight. Why is anyone here if they don’t want to see that?!
What we don’t see much of is Ben Affleck. He shows up in the trailer, but it’s brief, and it has nothing to do with their relationship. Ben Affleck, at least in the preview, is only here as an analyst, to talk about her resilience. Here’s an Oscar-winning artist saying on camera that he wanted to know if “this bothers” you, likely in reference to all the criticism she’s received, all the undermining, all the times they sold her short. Which implies that… IT WOULD BOTHER HIM. And her answer was, “I expected it”.
Well, yeah. Because of where she came from, she always played from the position of the underdog, she took blows that he never had to. And of all the footage they had of Ben Affleck to use, that’s the clip they chose to include? This is its own flex. That’s the place we’ve come back around to now, 20 years after the OG Bennifer days, when he was supposedly risking his status to be with her, he’s the one who’s returned as a student of her career, offering commentary on the empire that she built.
If that’s the only Ben we end up getting in Halftime, I’m good with it. But then again, this is Jennifer Lopez and, well, would it be JLo if there was no love in Halftime? She understands her brand and the part of her brand (“serial bride”) that was held up as a negative for a long time, as mentioned in the trailer, in reality has never been a disadvantage. JLo found a way to love love and make it an asset. So including love in the documentary might actually be part of the work too.
As she says, right off the top:
“I don’t just go, ‘Does the camera got me?’ But I’m also saying, ‘Does the camera got me?’ Because I can do all of that at the same time!”
Well, that’s exactly it. She did do all of that at the same time. Her love life was on camera, and she still did all the other things – the music things, the movie things, the dance things, the TV things, the fashion things, the branding things – all at the same time. And it’s been a long f-cking time! Thirty years ago she debuted on In Living Colour as a Fly Girl! Now she’s saying she’s only come to her Halftime? It doesn’t seem possible but then again, why would you doubt her?
Attached – JLo out for lunch with Max and Ben earlier this week.