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Review: 'The Best Of Cher' Packages Two Decades Singular Entertainment

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 15, 2020
Review: 'The Best Of Cher' Packages Two Decades Singular Entertainment

Cher has been a pop icon for so long — so steeped in over-the-top glamour, so mired in tabloid gossip, and so inseparable from the many drag queens that impersonate her — that her origins are virtually forgotten. She's such a legend of pop, a legend of fashion, and a legend of plastic surgery that we forget what a down-to-earth actress and comedian she has been in the past.

Though Cher has certainly been appreciated for her acting skills, especially in the 1980s, her talent didn't emerge, fully developed, from out of nowhere. Throughout the 1970s, Cher honed her remarkable screen presence, comic timing, and acting skills in the Vaudeville of Hollywood, the network television variety show.

"The Best of Cher" highlights two decades of Cher's career on television sans Sonny, the 1970s and the 1990s. Along the way, it packs in all kinds of nostalgic remembrances and commentaries from the 21st Century, including the Goddess of Pop's latest headlining TV special, a full-length documentary, "Dear Mom, Love Cher." Side by side, these two periods in Cher's career — bifurcated by a decade of acting acclaim, an Academy Award, and a reputation as the Infomercial Queen — display different sides of this remarkable celebrity.

In 1974, the husband and wife folk-rock duo Sonny & Cher parted ways. Sonny complained of "irreconcilable differences," and Cher of "involuntary servitude." As a singer and television star, Cher was not only linked to Sonny, she also was a product that he created. And he wasn't about to let her forget this. Still, the couple tried to hold it together professionally, because the Sonny & Cher brand was wildly popular and they were the funniest married couple on television since Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Both members of the former marriage ventured out on their own with separate, if not similar, musical variety shows. But both shows were not equal. Sonny still owned the rights to the material from their collaboration. Cher just had herself and a winning partnership with the fashion designer Bob Mackie. Whereas "The Sonny Show" ended up being a disaster, "Cher" sparkled with stunning glamour, snappy comedy, and radiant guest appearances.

Six DVDs in this collection feature the television show "Cher" and her exclusive comedy specials. This compilation of Cher's solo work in the '70s demonstrates a variety of sketch comedy, packed with a quick wit and snappy one-liners, as well as flashy musical performances with some of the decade's hottest stars and eye-popping costumes with more sequins than you could possibly shake a stick at. Though it may not be the most respected format for an actor's reputation, the charisma and timing that made Cher's performance in "Moonstruck" so perfect shine throughout the comedy sketches collected here.

To represent Cher in the 1990s, this collection contains two of her headlining concerts in Las Vegas: The "Love Hurts Tour" live from the Mirage, and "Do You Believe?" from the MGM Grand. In this decade we see a very different side of Cher, and we see just how far she has come, from the woman venturing out on her own for the first time in the '70s to welcoming in a new century with one of the most spectacular concerts that Sin City has ever seen.

At the culmination of this extravaganza — through the enormous costumes and headdresses, the lights and the projections, the costume and the dancers, the acrobats flying through the air, the physical augmentations and the auto-tune vocal effects — Cher asks this ironic question: "Do you believe in life after love?"

In addition to guest appearances from Elton John, Ray Charles, Raquel Welch, Linda Ronstadt, The Muppets, and others, this collection contains interviews with Bob Mackie, Lily Tomlin, and Cher herself; behind-the-scenes concert footage with Cher's own commentary; various TV appearances she's made throughout the years; and a collectible book of Bob Mackie's original wardrobe sketches.


"The Best of Cher"
9 Disc DVD Collection
$99.95
www.timelife.com/

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