Last week I was at the Tribeca film festival on a panel about documentaries, mysteriously called “Expanding Reality,” along with Dan Brown (Step Into Liquid), Micah Green, and chaired by Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman.
Afterwards, I had planned to see the hot ticket documentary Gay Sex In The Seventies. Instead, I ended up seeing what I thought might almost be the same thing – George Michael: A Different Story. But the story wasn’t that “different” because the doc was actually written by George Michael himself, so all the uncomfortable bits – like a forensic account of how things went down in that Beverly Hills men’s room, and just what it was that the Sony guy called George, and how George broke up Wham! and dumped Andrew Ridgely – were all glossed over.
True, Boy George and Elton John were on hand to lob a few notional irreverent grenades, and soon they were taking potshots at each other. After Boy George dryly announced that George Michael lacked a sense of humor in contrast to his ability to laugh at himself, Elton John pointed out that one George just didn’t have the talents that the other one had.
George Michael’s former Wham! cohort, Andrew Ridgely, was also on hand. But he could hardly get a word in, since he was interviewed in the presence of Michael, who kept on interrupting him and telling him what he thought. Finally, Andrew was asked if he missed the life fantastic after Wham! was disbanded. He seemed to be trying to say that he did, but before he could get the words out, George interrupted him and declared that Andrew’s life of anonymity and complete lack of subsequent accomplishment was infinitely preferable to his living hell of mega-stardom, and that he would have gladly traded their lives in a snap. It was then that I understood. The documentary is expanding reality. . . into the realm of pure fiction.
– Fenton Bailey