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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

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Entries in Jack Nicholson (24)

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...

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Thursday
Mar292018

Months of Meryl: Heartburn (1986)

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

 

#13 — Rachel Samstad, a New York food writer who is seduced and betrayed by a tomcat D.C. columnist.

MATTHEW: The celebrated run of 80s-era films that cemented Meryl Streep as a master among screen actors is so overwhelmingly remembered for its cadre of self-sacrificing period heroines that it was only inevitable that Streep’s two comedic outings would recede into the background. Based on its critical reception alone, Streep’s 1989 Roseanne Barr match-up She-Devil, which we’ll get around to discussing soon, may very well deserve to be remembered as a curious career outlier — that is, if it deserves to be remembered at all. But what about Heartburn, the all-around more prestigious comic vehicle? The project marked Streep’s first reunion with her Silkwood director Mike Nichols and that film’s co-writer Nora Ephron, from whose thinly-veiled best-seller the film was adapted...

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Wednesday
Jun282017

Dunham and Konner May Pen "Toni Erdmann" Remake

Robert here! Remember a few months ago when we all learned that Jack Nicholson was making a long-awaited return to the silver screen to star with Kristen Wiig in an American remake of bonkers German comedy Toni Erdmann? No, no, it was not a St. Elsewhere style coma dream. That possibly brilliant, possibly ill-advised project is still well underway, and there has been a new development: universally beloved and totally uncontroversial creator, writer, director, and star of HBO's Girls Lena Dunham and her co-writer Jenni Konner are in talks to pen the script. More after the jump...

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Wednesday
Feb082017

Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig to Star in "Toni Erdmann" Remake

Robert here, and before I begin, no, you are not having a stroke. That headline truly does read “Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig to star in Toni Erdmann remake.” 

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Saturday
Oct082016

20th Century Women & 21st Century Tweetweek

So much to cover today: Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, the Blade Runner sequel, and movie jokes about current politics after the jump...

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