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Entries in Months of Meryl (37)

Friday
Sep212018

Months of Meryl: Lions for Lambs (2007)

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

 

#38 — Janine Roth, a liberal network journalist faced with an ethical quandary.

JOHNWhen Meryl Streep accepted her Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada in January 2007, she divulged a prophecy: “This has been such a fun year to watch movies because of you gals,” she said, citing fellow nominees like Annette Bening, Toni Collette, and Beyoncé. “[It] makes you want to cry with gratitude… until next year.” How could Streep have known that her 2007 would contain some of the most insipid and unwatchable films of her entire career?

In Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, Streep switches sides from Rendition, her previous War on Terror drama, playing Janine Roth, an investigative journalist given an exclusive scoop by a hawkish, right-wing senator named Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) about a new military tactic being deployed in Afghanistan. Because Lions for Lambs was made under the same misguided inspiration of everything-is-connected political narratives like Babel, Crash, and Rendition, Streep and Cruise’s conversation is just one of three narrative threads...

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Thursday
Sep132018

Months of Meryl: Rendition (2007)

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

 

#37 —Corrine Whitman, the ruthless head of U.S. intelligence.

MATTHEW: If the one-two punch of A Prairie Home Companion and The Devil Wears Prada in 2006 represent a high-water mark for Meryl Streep then 2007 might very well be the single oddest year in the actress’ career. How else to explain Streep’s decision to accept secondary and even tertiary parts in four independent-to-midrange projects that not a single Streep enthusiast has ever had the inclination to hold up alongside her most acclaimed or memorable works? Streep spent part of the prior year accepting prizes for Prada and, most excitingly, playing one of the all-time greatest characters in theater history on the outdoor stage of the Delacorte. During that period, Streep also found time to dip her toes into the murky waters of post-9/11 cinema for a second time, following up her monstrous mommy in Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate with an equally vile political puppeteer...

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Thursday
Sep062018

Months of Meryl: Evening (2007)

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

#36 —Lila Ross, an old friend of a dying woman.

JOHN: While Meryl Streep is fiercely protective of her and her family’s privacy, she made no secret about what she got her daughter Mamie Gummer for her 24th birthday: Lajos Koltai’s Evening. Adapted from Susan Minot’s 1998 novel by the author herself, along with writer Michael Cunningham (The Hours), Evening follows Vanessa Redgrave’s Ann, an elderly woman drifting in and out of consciousnesses on her deathbed as she recalls a distant memory from her long-ago youth. That memory stars Claire Danes as a twentysomething Ann on the day of her best friend Lila’s (Mamie Gummer) wedding to a man she does not love. Ann, Lila, and the latter’s brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy) are instead infatuated with Harris (Patrick Wilson), a strapping doctor that each will either screw or regret not screwing...

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Thursday
Aug302018

Months of Meryl: Dark Matter (2007)

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

#35 —Joanna Silver, a university patroness with a penchant for Chinese culture.

MATTHEW: On paper, the prospect of Meryl Streep offering her time and talents to an innovative Chinese director’s micro-budgeted filmmaking debut is immediately intriguing. Dark Matter sounds like a welcome divergence for an actress who has seldom strayed from inside Hollywood’s gates over the course of her 30 years in the industry. Noted opera helmer Chen Shi-Zheng’s first foray behind the camera is loosely based on the 1991 University of Iowa shooting, in which Gang Lu, a gifted Ph.D. graduate in the school’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, murdered five people on campus after being passed over for a prestigious dissertation prize, Shi-Zheng’s drama is a work of no small audacity, one in a scattering of American films that have dramatized the unrelenting pressure placed on young Chinese immigrants to provide and succeed in a country that has already stacked the deck against them.

But Dark Matter quickly dashes the hopes one might have harbored for Streep’s curious venture into post-Sundance indie cinema...

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Thursday
Aug232018

Months of Meryl: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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

Meryl talking to director David Frankel during shooting

#34 —Miranda Priestly, ferocious editor-in-chief of Runway magazine.

JOHN: How do you solve a problem like Miranda Priestly? Or, more specifically, The Devil in Prada? How do you make walking into a room a distinct and indelible character trait? How do you continue assembling a mannequin’s outfit while simultaneously delivering a brutal lecture about the color cerulean? How do you not only resist but upend the misogyny inherent in your role? How do you grip the audience by their necks while still having them root for your victory? When your name is Meryl Streep, such issues are not problems or challenges, but more like Smith & Wollensky porterhouses, plump, juicy, bloody gifts, presented to you on a plate...

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Thursday
Aug092018

Months of Meryl: Prime (2005)

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

Meryl Streep as therapist with Uma Thurman as her client in Prime (2005)

#32 — Lisa Metzger, an Upper West Side therapist whose client begins dating her much younger son.

JOHN: The most depressing thing about Prime is that director Ben Younger reportedly spent eight years writing it. Equally depressing is the sight of Meryl Streep, Actress of Her Generation, wasting her time on this insipid project, and the subsequent dearth of roles for actresses over fifty that her involvement signifies. Here’s a fun kernel for a comedy skit: a kooky, Upper West Side therapist learns that the 37-year-old woman she is treating has begun dating her 23-year-old son, ensuing comic hijinks, oversharing, and ethical quandaries between therapist, son, and client. Now, imagine that idea stretched out for nearly two hours, sans comedy or romance, and you’d have Prime, easily one of the worst movies in Streep’s filmography...

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