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Entries in Mike Nichols (19)

Thursday
Apr262018

Months of Meryl: Postcards from the Edge (1990)

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

 

 #17 —Suzanne Vale, a recovering drug addict and B-list actress of royal Hollywood pedigree.

MATTHEWIt has always been impossible to escape the metatextual associations of Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge, which really means it has always been impossible to escape the shared history of two artists: Fisher and her famous mother, Debbie Reynolds, a relationship that is the very bedrock of Fisher’s 1987 novel and Mike Nichols’ subsequent screen adaptation. To watch the latter now, in a world without Fisher or Reynolds, is an experience of unavoidable and indescribable bittersweetness. It helps, however, that Fisher confronted even the most harrowing episodes of her lifelong addiction with a sly, battle-ready smirk and a tart tongue, which always ensured that she — and she alone — would get the last word. On the screen, Postcards from the Edge remains a salty, joyous, yet tough-minded immersion within the rocky recovery of its Fisher-like heroine, Suzanne Vale, and a prickly heartwarmer that continually confuses our inclinations towards laughter or tears.

This is largely because of Fisher, whose hysterical one-liners are an art form unto themselves. Consider, for a moment, that such gems as “Do you always talk in bumper stickers?” and “Instant gratification takes too long” and “What am I supposed to do, go to a halfway house for wayward SAG actors?” are all spoken within the first 20 minutes of the movie, and there are plenty more where those came from...

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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
Feb282018

Months of Meryl: Silkwood (1983)

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


#9 — Karen Silkwood, a real-life chemical technician turned labor union activist and whistleblower.

“Karen Silkwood has come to stand for so many things to so many people that I had to start all over again in trying to play her as a person, not a symbol. I really don't think we can know much about people after they're not there to tell us. All their real, real secrets die with them. At the end of this whole experience of making this movie, I thought about those minutes before Karen's car went off the road, and I missed her.”
— Meryl Streep, 1983


MATTHEW
: Meryl Streep appears in every scene and what feels like nearly every shot of Silkwood, which marked the first but certainly not the last time that the actress would play a real person. Streep’s career was technically still in its early stages when Silkwood’s cameras began rolling in Texas in 1982, but it was already replete with shelves of awards and a peerless level of respectability that prompted co-star Cher to crack this gem about first meeting Streep: “I thought it was going to be like having an audience with the Pope” 

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Monday
Nov062017

Beauty vs Beast: Marriage Among the Prophets

Jason from MNPP here -- the great Mike Nichols would have turned 86 today if he hadn't passed away back in 2014, and yet even with him gone for three years now I've spent a good chunk of the year thinking about him. Specifically I've been thinking a lot about his 2003 adaptation of Angels in America, thanks to the most recent London production with Andrew Garfield & Co grabbing headlines before moving here to the US in a few months. What are your thoughts on Mike Nichols' miniseries now? Have you re-watched it lately? (The whole thing is available to stream on Amazon if you haven't.)

Anyway there are a lot of antagonistic pairings in Angels that I could have used for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" but in every iteration of the show I have seen it's always the fractured marriage of Joe (Patrick Wilson in the film) and Harper (Mary Louise Parker) that I come back to, so that's where we'll land.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we floated down through the storm-drain on a raft of red balloons and took on Stephen King's most recent blockbuster adaptation of It - y'all weren't in the mood for clown-time though, choosing The Losers Club over Pennywise by just a couple of points. Said catbaskets:

"Tie between Beverley and Pennywise. You can keep all the boys. They bring little to the table compared to those drama gals with demons."

Monday
Apr242017

Beauty vs Beast: Look Who's Still Here

Jason from MNPP with our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" fun-time - I'm surprised it didn't occur to me to do this one at the start of this year when we were mourning the epic loss of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (I even re-watched this film at that time) but perhaps the pain was too much. Anyway as Nat told you earlier it's Shirley MacLaine's birthday so the right time has revealed itself, and today we'll tackle Mike Nichols' glorious 1990 comedy Postcards From the Edge, starring MacLaine and some Meryl woman, based on Fisher's thinly veiled book about a drug-addict actress and her let's-say-ebuillent actress-mother. Mother-Actress? Actress-Singer-Mother? Well that's the question, isn't it?

PREVIOUSLY I'm shocked and flabbergasted by you people - hasn't Jennifer Garner suffered enough? We wished her a happy birthday last week with some 13 Going on 30 love and y'all rejected her star-making performance for Adorable Mark Ruffalo. I... well he is pretty damn adorable. Said Dave S:

"Ruffalo in this movie is top-tier among underwritten love interests; I think him ceding the stage for the female lead is actually a point in his favor. He gets to fill the somewhat vaguely defined dream guy role in a way we're more used to seeing actresses relegated to. See also: Aidan Quinn as the projectionist in "Desperately Seeking Susan"."