The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Meryl Streep (169)


Podcast: Straight Outta U.N.C.L.E. and Into Old Lady Movies

For this week's edition of the podcast, Nathaniel and Nick gab about old lady movies (I'll See You In My Dreams, Ricki & The Flash, and Grandma). Nick hasn't seen The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Nathaniel hasn't seen Straight Outta Compton so they tell each other about them, too.

Contents (43 minutes)
00:01 Grey Gardens to Straight Outta Compton?
06:45 I'll See You In My Dreams, Ricki & The Flash
19:30 Grandma
27:00 The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
30:00 Sam Elliott
33:00 Miscellania: The Gift, Tom at the Farm, Sand Dollars, and being over Helen Mirren

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes

Straight Outta Old Lady Movies


HMWYBS: Angels in America (2003)

What follows is a republishing of a piece I'm proud of from our very first season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot (you can see the index of all six seasons here) when I was somehow far more concise with "Best Shot" despite feeling like I was overdoing it. I've added in notes and links for contributions from other Best Shot participants and I'd like to thank Manuel heartily before we begin for his fascinating contextual work on HBO's long history of LGBT films and series this summer and for sharing this week's HBO LGBT episode with us for our redo episode of this Great Work. Read that piece before you read this. Ready? Let's begin...

Tony Kushner's extraordinary two part stage epic Angels in America centers around two overlapping young couples in the mid 80s, struggling married Mormons, pill popping Harper and her closeted husband Joe and the gay couple Louis and Prior they become connected spiritually (Harper befriends Prior... in her dreams) and physically (Joe becomes Louis's other lover). But it's also about politics, immigration, religion, identity, and evolution and encompasses multiple other characters from Louis's outspoken gay friend Belize, to Joe's mother, to the evil lawyer Roy Cohn, the dead Communist Ethel Rosenberg, and a frequently orgasmic Angel who descends on many of the players. This masterpiece was adapted for the screen in 2003 by Oscar winner Mike Nichols. Along its journey it won 7 Tonys, The Pulitzer, and later 5 Golden Globes and 11 Emmys and here's the thing: it deserved every single prize. If you haven't seen it drop everything (seriously everything) because it is unmissable. I've seen it performed on stage three times in three different states with wildly different budgets and casts and seen the miniseries a few times too... and every single time it's a fascinating prismatic living thing, like it will always be teaching you, entertaining you, and provoking you.

Rather than limit myself to one shot I'm picking one from each of its chapter. This I can manage!

Chapter 1 "Bad News"

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Ricki Rendazzo, Reed Richards, and Bubbles Bursting

Meryl Streep? Tom Cruise? Pac-Man? Vacation? It's like the 1980s all over again in movie theaters. It was a weak weekend overall with a ton of miniscule new releases and underperforming wide newbies. Meryl Streep had her worst opening weekend in a film sold on mostly on her presence since Prime (2005) before she regained her box office clout with The Devil Wears Prada. The only true success story this weekend was the word of mouth for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation which held on to #1 for another weak. It is definitely a fun summer picture but the "best in the series!" reviews feel like a bit of an overstatement. It's not quite as ambitiously staged and exciting as Ghost Protocol, but it's better than the other action films around it which makes it seem that much better. That opera scene with at least four simultaneous agendas in play and all the deadly assassins totally confused by each other sure is a kick, though, don't you think?

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Review: Ricki and The Flash

The review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission.

 How does one act a hoarse voice? Short of screaming all night into your pillow before a key scene, as I’ve heard some actors do to simulate it, it’s not something that’s all that fakeable. This kept coming to mind watching Meryl Streep in Ricki and The Flash. Ricki Randazzo, her new aging rocker alter ego, sings/screams her lungs out all night with the house band of her local dive bar and works a demeaning low wage job all day. She doesn’t take care of herself. Ricki’s voice is hoarse for the entire movie. After admiring Streep’s dedication to nailing a character you might want to say a silent prayer or offer a symbolic lozenge for her vocal chords if they did in fact receive torturous screaming abuse behind the scenes in order to sound just this way. What did they ever do to deserve this?

Whatever it was, the sacrifice was worth it, having given us Ricki...

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Meryl Sings "Cold One" - A Best Original Song Contender

[Editors Note: In the neverending soap opera of Nathaniel's lifelong on again/off again romance with Meryl Streep, they are in love again at the moment. Just thought you'd like to know.]

Everything about this clip is promising. Streep's raspy voice, that low-key estranged but still domestic comfort vibe, the fluffy dogs, it's matter-of-fact history "...a long time ago". People didn't seem thrilled by the trailer to Ricki and The Flash but but with Jonathan Demme behind the camera and behind the script, there will surely be moments to savor regardless of whatever it does or doesn't amount to as a film.

Jenny Lewis wrote original songs for the film including this one. Do we have our first Oscar contender in that category? (I updated that speculative chart to include this tune as well as the two Southpaw songs by Eminem.) 



Good luck finding an actress today that looks like thisFilm School Rejects a biopic of Ingrid Bergman during the Notorious era might be coming from James Mangold. I'm always hoping they'll cast unknowns rather than stars for these things, so that they'll look more like their subjects
Decider really funny ranking of all of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated work, judged by accents, struggles, co-stars, and random intangibles
Movies Now the box office wealth gap between blockbusters and everything else - interesting piece and worrisome, too
ArtsBeat Smash's "Bombshell" musical MIGHT (sigh) actually become a Broadway musical. Yes, they're still dangling that carrot since the one night only cast reunion of Smash went so well
MCU Exchange the deal is done and Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct Marvel's Black Panther film 
/bent is thrilled that Inside Out passes the Bechdel Test so easily on all counts

A Must Read
"The Decline of the American Actor" is a really engaging piece about today's leading men, the "Chris"es and beyond and the struggles they face without challenging roles or all that much in the way of training like their foreign counterparts. It's really fascinating and the writer Terrence Rafferty only threw me out of it once when he makes a very strange rather off topic dig at Masters of Sex's second season which had me questioning his sanity (I couldn't disagree more on all counts of what he's saying in that section). It also has a nice little detour into current 20 and 30something actressing by clever way of Clouds of Sils Maria... that movie sure did get a lot of people talking so it's a mystery why it didn't break through in a more major way since actual stars were involved. 

RIP - Exit Music
The film composer James Horner died in a plane crash at age 61 yesterday. He was a favorite of James Cameron and Ron Howard, and moviegoers of course. He composed so many well liked movies that it's tough to name a favorite though I remember always liking the scores to Aliens, Avatar, Apollo 13 and Willow. We will be treated to his three final scores this year with  Southpaw, Wolf Totem and the Chilean Miners movie The 33. The Oscar favorite won both of his Oscars from the phenomenon that was Titanic (for score & original song) and was twice nominated for movie songs. So here's a little Celine at the Oscars and a little something from An American Tail, too.



Curio: A Mug for Every Mood

Alexa here.  After more than a year on the wagon, I am back on the sauce with a vengeance. To clarify, I am talking about coffee.  In an effort to channel my more zen-like, less anxiety-ridden self, I cut it out. (I also hated feeling a slave to the Starbucks down the road.) But my chill, non-caffeinated self has become too sleepy of late; so I cleaned out our grind and brew, stocked up on some David Lynch Signature Blend, and decided to splurge on some new mugs. Here are some movie-centric ones I've considered buying during my trip back to the dark side...

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