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Entries in Meryl Streep (291)

Friday
Jan042019

Months of Meryl: An Epilogue

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

Meryl has been a superstar for 40 years now

MATTHEW: You never forget the performers who first reach out to you from an illuminated screen and lay claim to your gaze, mind, and devotion. Before I knew anything about the art of screen acting, I knew about the miraculous and almost mythic marvel that is Meryl Streep. Months of Meryl was an undertaking that exhausted and aggravated me without end: for every unparalleled Silkwood in Streep’s filmography, there are at least two The House of the Spirits; for every forgotten or underrecognized gem like The Seduction of Joe Tynan, One True Thing, or A Prairie Home Companion, there are at least three Still of the Nights, Primes, or Dark Matters. But, more importantly, this project illuminated a great deal about a veteran artist whose empathetic interest in the lives of others moved me at such an impressionable age and will never cease to do so.

Watching and writing about Streep’s films side by side by side for well over a year has not taught me a single overarching lesson, but only deepened my appreciation for her mastery...

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Friday
Dec212018

Months of Meryl: Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

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


#51 —
Florence Foster Jenkins, a socialite and opera singer of abysmal ability.

MATTHEW: Florence Foster Jenkins was an affluent New York heiress who is only remembered today for her decades-long career as a nonprofessional soprano that spurred many to label her “the world’s worst opera singer.” Meryl Streep is one of the most acclaimed and rewarded actresses in history, a global celebrity whose foremost attribute is talent, pure and simple. The marquee casting of Streep as Jenkins is the amusing and unignorable irony at the center of Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins, a biographical drama that narrativizes the amateur, septuagenarian chanteuse’s notorious attempts to resuscitate her dormant career in the years before her death in 1944. It is nothing if not a testament to Streep’s power as one of the only active, major female movie stars of a certain age that a period piece about an awful opera singer well into her 70s received a prime summer release from a major studio (Paramount) and a full-steam awards campaign that garnered the actress her 20th Oscar nomination...

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Thursday
Dec062018

Months of Meryl: Ricki & The Flash (2015)

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

 

#49 —Ricki Randazzo, a rock singer who returns home to the family she abandoned.

MATTHEW: Throughout his eclectic and gloriously unpredictable career, the late Jonathan Demme paved the way for peak performances from actresses as disparate as Mary Steenburgen, Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, Oprah Winfrey, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Debra Winger. Like George Cukor before him, Demme was devoted to telling stories about women, which comprise the bulk of his narrative output. The director committed to shaping these narratives with the same heady, inquisitive vigor and nonjudgmental consideration that electrified all of his subjects, from Anthony Hopkins’ lip-licking Hannibal Lecter to David Byrne, who indelibly bopped around the stage in a business suit at least six sizes too big during Demme’s landmark concert documentary Stop Making Sense.

Ricki and the Flash, Demme’s final narrative feature, sometimes conjures the capricious, loop-the-loop feeling of a concert documentary in its depiction of the type of story that Demme loved to tell, that of an unorthodox woman shouldering her burdens and confronting any and all perils as she forges ahead with the life she has chosen to lead...

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Wednesday
Dec052018

81 days til Oscar

by Nathaniel R

Diane & Warren / Don & Meryl at the 1981 Oscars

You know what I feel is tragic about online Oscar history, dear readers? It's the lack of abundance of Oscar night photos before, say, 2000. Oh sure you can usually find photos of the winners holding their Oscars but try finding complete gowns of all the Best Actress nominees if you (hypothetically) wanna fantasize about ordering custom doll sets of every vintage. You're out of luck for any year prior to the explosion of 24/7 media coverage and constant Oscar coverage. Take the 1981 Oscars for example...

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Tuesday
Dec042018

The Best of a Bad Lot: Oscar Winning Actresses in Bad Movies

by Seán McGovern

The shade of it all... the 1974 ceremony for the Best Actresses of 1973 (L-R from the bottom corner) Marsha Mason, Ellen Burstyn, Joanne Woodward, Glenda Jackson, Barbra Streisand

Christmas really brings out my contrarian side, and since it's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (awards season), permit me to be a humbug. Those who truly appreciate the Oscars understand that sometimes it is about the politics and not the performance. Academy voters are not infallible, but we shouldn't underestimate their other important role in taking the cultural temperature to find out what and who was hot in cinema in any given year. Without getting into a discussion of who did and didn't deserve their award, there are definitely some great female performances honored in films that may otherwise not have been so deserving. Some potentially controversial opinions after the jump...

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