Halftime: Five things we learned from watching the Jennifer Lopez documentary
The bonafide megastar discusses the Super Bowl, Oscar snubs and more.
In terms of being a triple-threat entertainer, Jennifer Lopez has certainly earned a reputation as one of the best to ever do it. As a musician she’s managed to sell more than 80 million records, as an actress she’s starred in more than 30 movies grossing over $3 billion and as a performer she’s headlined shows around the globe and earned a reputation as a phenomenal dancer.
With such an impressive resume and huge fanbase, much is known about Lopez, but there are still things people can learn from Netflix's new documentary Halftime.
Now to be clear, the film is in no way a play-by-play of the star’s life. JLo doesn't go into some deep introspective about her childhood, nor does she go into detail about her love life (sorry for anyone hoping to hear more about the status of "Bennifer 2.0"). However, what was shared about the legend’s professional journey to her performance at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show proved to be quite the entertaining hour and 35 minutes.
So what exactly were the most notable takeaways from the film? Well, we’re glad you asked (SPOILERS ahead).
Jennifer Lopez called co-headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show "the worst idea in the world."
Let’s start this off by saying in no way did Lopez mention she had an issue with Shakira. For those hoping to catch some juicy news about a beef between the two women, you won’t find that here. Lopez’s annoyance with sharing the stage during the Super Bowl boiled down to a timing issue.
As she described in the documentary, she was told the show had to be 12 minutes, but there was a possibility of adding one or two extra minutes. That meant she would have to effectively split that time with Shakira. In the beginning stages of putting the performance together, she couldn’t fathom fitting her over 20 years of music into a few brief moments.
The more intriguing comment about the concept of co-headling the show actually came from her longtime manager, Benny Medina. He said:
"Typically you have one headliner at the Super Bowl. That headliner constructs the show. And should they choose to have other guests, that’s their choice. It was an insult to say you needed two Latinas to do the job that one artist historically has done."
While we won’t get into defending or arguing against Medina’s point, we will say that the Super Bowl Halftime Show has been co-headlined before. Stevie Wonder and Gloria Estefan co-headlined the performance in 1999 and Aerosmith and NSYNC shared the stage in 2001, just to name a few.
Jennifer Lopez wasn't expected to be the star in her family
Although some may think Lopez was raised to be this pop culture supernova, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In Halftime, she says it was "engrained" in her head as a child that her one sister was the singer and her other sister was the smart one. Thankfully, she let her desire to become a singer, actress and dancer push her to fulfill her dreams. Lopez, also described how as a kid growing up, she looked to West Side Story and actress Rita Moreno as inspiration for her career path.
Jokes in the media got to her
Over the years, JLo has had to weather an unenviable amount of criticism from the public. She’s taken hits over her love life, certain movie roles and unfortunately, her body shape. In the documentary, various clips were shown from American TV where late-night hosts and prominent adult cartoons poked fun at her famous curves. Lopez mentioned the jabs in reference to her body shape were difficult to digest because it was hard to feel that people thought of her as a joke.
It was also disheartening to hear she was once told that a publication was going to postpone a photoshoot to give her time to apparently lose weight. It’s not clear as to what publication was guilty of such a faux pas, but she has admirably pushed through such criticism and body shaming.
She thought she was going to get an Oscar nomination for Hustlers
Despite acting for more than three decades and having plenty of box-office hits, Lopez has never been nominated for Academy Award. However, after her performance as Ramona in Hustlers, she felt like she had finally done work "worthy" of an Oscar nomination. Lopez had good reason to believe this given what critics at the time were saying and the fact she received a Golden Globe nomination for the role. Sadly, the Academy thought otherwise, which was a disappointment for Lopez.
But Lopez told the documentary cameras she by and large wasn’t working for awards. Instead, she said, "I do this to tell stories and to affect change and to connect with people and make them feel things. Because I want to feel something." She went on to say, "I actually want to make the world a better place in my own little way."
The Super Bowl Halftime Show was more political than many people think
In Halftime, Lopez mentioned she typically was a person that wasn’t into politics. However in recent years, she was living in a United States she "didn’t recognize" and she was "afraid for her kids' future." She also claimed seeing the images of immigrant children being held in cages rattled her. This combination of things prompted her not to be quiet any longer, politically speaking.
In the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the singer purposefully included elements in the show to make a statement. For example, she had a number of children, including her daughter, begin their time on stage in cages before exiting them for the rest of their set performance. Lopez intended to bring awareness to the images that haunted her to become more vocal in the first place.
Speaking of her daughter, Lopez’s decision to have her sing "Born in the USA" was also a carefully thought out statement. The famed dancer believed it was powerful to see individuals of Latino descent sing the lyrics to the classic Bruce Springsteen hit, signifying the true diversity that makes America what it is.
Halftime is now available to stream on Netflix.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities. When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The Crown, WandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of Harlem. And a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.