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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

"Double Jeopardy is my jam!!! I ain't mad at cha, Miss Ashley! " - Dorian

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Entries in Ironweed (3)

Thursday
Apr052018

Months of Meryl: Ironweed (1987)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 #14 — Helen Archer, a dying homeless alcoholic.

JOHN: Behold, the most devastating sequel to Heartburn imaginable. Directed by Hector Babenco and adapted by William Kennedy from his own Pulitzer-winning novel, Ironweed follows Francis (Jack Nicholson) and Helen (Streep), two homeless drifters biding their time and eking out their lives in Depression-era Albany. At nearly two and a half hours long, Ironweed is a bleak, wrenching study of poverty with nary a promise of redemption in sight. We’re talking about a movie whose most uplifting and musical scene is chased with a crushing dose of hopeless reality, a movie in which dogs assail a woman’s frozen corpse outside a church, digging graves is considered a good day’s work, and ramshackle vagrants pray they drink enough liquor to die in their sleep. It’s a tough sell and an even tougher sit, but Ironweed features one of Streep’s most spellbinding transformations.

Helen Archer does not make her entrance for a good twenty minutes. First we watch Nicholson’s Francis dig graves, slug whiskey, and fecklessly address the headstone of his deceased infant son, who he dropped and killed in a drunken daze. In the basement of a church serving free hot meals for the homeless, Helen slips through the door, a regular who, after some time away, returns to more of the same, reuniting with her moribund companion Francis. Streep’s Helen is shrewd enough to get herself warm and fed, but something about Helen suggests that she isn’t entirely there; it’s almost as if she is suspended halfway between life and death, past and present.

Helen, who we will come to learn is a former singer and concert pianist, constantly recollects the glory of her dashed dreams with utmost clarity, as again Streep is able to conjure a memory so expressively that one believes it to be as true as fact...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun222017

Beauty Break: Streep Sets

on Kramer vs Kramer with Dustin Hoffman

Since it's Meryl Streep's 68th birthday today, let's gawk at some behind the scenes photos. It's a good way to pay tribute since the Grand Dame of American Cinema has been working pretty much non-stop (except during the 90s when she spent a lot of time with her little children) since the world first fell for her.

Lots more after the jump including Death Becomes Her, Plenty, It's Complicated, Out of Africa, and more...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec282011

Anne Hathaway Sings "She's Me Pal" to Meryl Streep

The Kennedy Center Honors were a good hagiographic time last night on CBS (unless you were expecting something different in which case... where ya been? This is how lifetime tributes are). Musical theater fans would have had to enjoyed that endless Parade of Amazement when they trotted out a healthy cross section of Broadway's best female voices for the Barbara Cook homage (Sutton, Rebecca, Kelli, Patti, Audra + Glenn Close doing "Losing My Mind" !) but as for me.... as for me...

I got both my musical theater kicks and my 80s nostalgia and my Streep Mania and a current actress obsession (Hi, Annie!) all rolled up in one gift as Hathaway repurposed Streep's most indelible moment from Ironweed* (1987) to serenade Streep herself.

The line "her heart is as big as a ham" is accompanied by the splits, marking Anne Hathaway once again as a true kindred spirit PERFORMER/actress -- both ladies woulda been in vaudeville if they'd been born 100 years ago.

A+

I love that Hathaway can make her eyes well up with tears totally on cue. Acting is magic. The complete video is below. Hathaway comes in at the 11:40 mark.

 

 

*Ironweed was a flop in its day and I know so few people who have seen it but I still remember sitting in the movie theater absolutely electrified / paralyzed when Meryl belted out that "He's Me Pal" number for Jack Nicholson. At the time Meryl's musical-theater chops were a complete shock! It's easily one of my favorite moments from her entire lauded filmography.