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Pfeiffer Next Pfriday... "People Like Us"

I'm not supposed to talk about the movie yet but Pfans rejoice. I can't resist telling you that Michelle Pfeiffer enters the new drama People Like Us with a bracing cold snap. The movie has been racing along rather manically to set up its plotty-plot-plot and suddenly she's there slapping it with a "snap out of it!" move. Settle down, movie, settle down. 

Pfeiffer's Confession in PEOPLE LIKE US

She's wonderful in it. Three friends were seen afterwards arguing about how wonderful and no one agreed. Friend A: She's special in it if you haven't seen her seminal performances. Friend B: I thought she was great but there's no part... ugh, there's no part! Friend C: [unintelligble drooling] Pffeifffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffferrrr.

I confess. Friend C was me. (I'm not especially verbal immediately post-screening.) My point: It's easily her best work since Chéri. Not that there's been much work since Chéri. Shut up!

Pfeiffer hits the media circuit (Good Morning America) to promote People Like UsBut as for her current state of work. She promises more now that the empty nest looms in just one year's time. She recently made a rather grandiose statement in a Zap2It interview...

I’m always feeling that my best performance is still in me. And I think all artists feel that whether you’re a painter, actor, a musician — I hope so. I think it’s what keeps me going... I’ve noticed a lot of people who win the Academy Award — Best Actor, Best Actress — they go through a long period where they don’t work for a while and I worry about them. There’s sort of that wanting to achieve that, which keeps you going, and then when you achieve it, it’s like, ‘Well, what now?’ I don’t ever want to lose that fire that I have for it.”

Pfeiffer talking Oscar? Whoa. In a better entertainment world, that'd be leading story everywhere.

If this quote is indication, something has shifted in her headspace. I like to imagine that it was that campaigning for Jeff Bridges' Career Oscar (aka Crazy Heart) a few years ago. Does this mean we'll see her chasing the gold man again in prestige pictures and meatier roles?  I've learned not to expect too much face time from the elusive goddess but it sure would be a welcome sight.

Are you planning to see People Like Us? Or are you waiting for a great picture or a great role before welcoming her back.

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Reader Comments (22)

I haven't been a good pfan lately, I haven't seen anything that she was in - nothing seemed worth while. Dark Shadows seemed a little bit attractive but somehow I never got around to seeing it. Anyways. I'll hopefully see People Like Us ( if it stays enough in the theaters that is ) but I'm still waiting for the great performance. She definitely seems more willing to work these days, and really, I think she hit rock bottom with New Year's Eve and it's only upward from there.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

Nathaniel, when are you going to make a post about Cate Blanchett's return to movies? She lined up 2 Malicks, one Woody, one lesbian drama and now a Barbra Streisand movie. Please, be bitchy about? She's Meryl Streeping her generation. Again. And I love it.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAAA

AAA said you should make about "Cate Blanchett Merylstreeping the new generation"...

I suggest you to make "The 5 Michelle Pfeiffer of the New Generation", the girls who you feel their best performance still in them and that didn't get the recognition from the AMPAS they deserve.
Let me give you some names I would love to see you discussing about their "Michelle Pfeiffer factor":

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Interesting, she does seem hungry and feisty, doesn't she? I guess her kids starting their lives has given her back some ambition. Can't wait to see what happens.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I get the sense from that quote that she thinks chasing an Oscar is a bit wrong-headed - that it's better to get your drive from other sources (i.e. artistic ambition) - so I wouldn't count on her setting her sights on it in too intense a way. She doesn't want to turn into Susan Sarandon (that's who she's talking about, right? Or am I reading too much into it?), who didn't stop working but does seem to have largely stopped trying in the same way...

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaika

I'm sort of with Laika on this one, Nathaniel.

She's clearly trying to say that while winning an Oscar is important, that more often than not it means nothing to one's career and many artists vanish afterwards and that she'd rather continue giving good performances for more years to come than to win one.

I still believe she will win one AND she will continue to have a good career. She just has to want to work with better people and demand better scripts. She is Michelle Pfeiffer after all.

If Mo'Nique and Octavia Spencer can win one, why can't she?

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I have to say... with what I have seen of her movies of late, I'd rather wait for cable...however, if the reviews are good, which the couple I have read, aren't ... I'd see the movie...

I guess it has been years since I have seen her in an acceptable role... and I believe I cannot take her as a versatile actress... hope I will be proved wrong in the future.

I think the worst move she has made is her face work...if she tries to be too youthful looking, there are too many actresses (new) out there who will get the juicy roles. That is why Streep is in a cushy position .. albeit it she a much better actress than most out there.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

PFEIFFEEEERRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!! This post got me all excited for her! I'll pray morning, afternoon, evening, and night that she finally gets that gold man soon.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

[I get the sense from that quote that she thinks chasing an Oscar is a bit wrong-headed - that it's better to get your drive from other sources (i.e. artistic ambition) - so I wouldn't count on her setting her sights on it in too intense a way. She doesn't want to turn into Susan Sarandon (that's who she's talking about, right? Or am I reading too much into it?), who didn't stop working but does seem to have largely stopped trying in the same way...]

Sarandon's an Oscar winner while Michelle's in Sigourney-ville (3 nominations, 2 in best actress, 1 supporting) no wins, no shot in hell.

[If Mo'Nique and Octavia Spencer can win one, why can't she?]

Why did you group these two women together? Mo'Nique actually deserved her Oscar. Spencer's steamroll was cover to ward off accusations of racism, when they'd deny Viola for Streep.

[That is why Streep is in a cushy position]

The greatest living actress meme never left which is why she's separated from the pack.

Nathan Baby I will watch Frankie and Johnny today for you, for the first time.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

I agree with her, she still has some great performances to come. And I think it's valid for everyone, if you don't expect to do better things in the future, you'd rather stay in bed.
I truly believe that in her case she has just rediscovered the joy of her profession. There's no other explanation for her drinking beer with Jimmy Fallon on Tv. Her! The ice queen!

And honestly, looking at that above picture from the movie, I don't know how can anyone say she has had some work done on her face. Please explain.

Sorry, I've run out of connectors today. Everything lacks cohesion.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Pfeiffer and Foster: the best lazy actresses in this world. I love them and I hate them for their lazyness.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Michelle Pfeiffer is too good an actress to win an Oscar.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.


It was more in a sense that none of them (Mo'nique or Octavia) are as good an actress as Michelle Pfeiffer is.

Mo'Nique deserved her win, yes, and she was my pick for best in that year. Hell, she's my pick for best of the last 10 supporting actress winners (i'm not counting 2005's Weisz because that was totally a Lead performance).

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

[It was more in a sense that none of them (Mo'nique or Octavia) are as good an actress as Michelle Pfeiffer is.]

I know that's the direction you were going, but using them as a combination easily translates badly at first read.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

I don't know if Michelle was thinking about Susan Sarandon. Why, after all? Sarandon is a big friend of her and she has made a loooot of movie since her 1995 win. Maybe she's thinking about Reese Witherspoon or Sandra Bullock, who fell off the radar after their win.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

Iggy -- i agree. She is clearly letting herself age and she is more beautiful for it I think. Because when your bones are that good, you just become an amazing elderly beauty (if you let yourself). Think Vanessa Redgrave who has looked great at every stage of her life.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

[Maybe she's thinking about Reese Witherspoon or Sandra Bullock, who fell off the radar after their win.]

No. She's speaking in generalities. Most people stop trying after an Oscar win, and simply chase checks, or hopes in go-nowhere bait-y material.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

Yeah, I don't think Bullock is even a solid example as it has been only two years since she won her Oscar and...does anyone really think she was chasing Oscar? (The Blind Side being, of course, more respectable but not a slam-dunk or nearly as overt a role as what Halle Berry, Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon very clearly were aiming for.)

Anyway, I really hope Michelle can make something happen with Steve Kloves and/or Jonathan Demme, the two writer-directors who, in my opinion, truly understood how to unlock her magic (bless them).

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Pfeiffer needs the new bloods to usher her talents for the audiences who remember, audiences who forgot, and, those that who are uninitiated.

Steve McQueen
David O Russell
Darren Aronofsky

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful


Makeup for the movie is the aging ...

See photos of her at recent premieres ... I am not saying she isn't beautiful... I'm saying that she won't be getting the meatier mature LEADING roles!

And Nathaniel... you are too into the forest to be objective.. I know.. I have been there with Natalie Wood's acting abilities... I thought she could do no wrong when I was younger, but I have rewatched all of her movies and I was wrong ... I still adore her!

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

I'm glad to hear she's pretty amazing in "People Like Us"! I only really wanna see that film just for her, especially since it looks like a great dramatic supporting role (awards people please notice!) in the trailer. Haven't seen "Dark Shadows" yet but I thought she was the best thing in "New Years Eve" and I can't believe she hasn't had a lead role since 2009's "Cheri"/"Personal Effects."

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

She is great in People Like Us and the movie reminds you how much better she is at naturalistic drama than the out-there, over-the-top stuff. I found the movie itself lacking and I'm still trying to figure out why, since I loved the acting (Elizabeth Banks' career highpoint) for the most part and I'm a sucker for family drama. It's either Chris Pine (who's not bad but distractingly wolfish) or the Lifetime-ness of it all.

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw
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