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Entries in Piper Laurie (7)

Thursday
Apr282016

April Showers: Carrie

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Kieran Scarlett on Carrie (1976).

Brian de Palma’s horror classic Carrie has scenes at both the beginning and the end in which our heroine, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) gets clean. Because of what happens between those scenes, they take on very different meanings. When we first see Carrie White, she is diffident and beleaguered—whether at home with her mother Margaret’s (Piper Laurie) stentorian declarations of fanatical Christian values or at school with the focused torment of her peers. It’s very clear that Carrie has internalized the harsh words of Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen):

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Tuesday
Oct302012

Oscar Horrors: Margaret White Burns in Hell

Just one more day of Oscar Horrors! On this penultimate day of the series, JA has an incredible take on one of our shared favorites, "Carrie". -Nathaniel

HERE LIES... or rather, HERE BURNS IN HELL... Margaret White, Piper Laurie's Supporting Actress nominated performance in Brian DePalma's 1976 film Carrie.

JA from MNPP here - the only thing more shocking to me than the fact that Piper lost the Oscar for Margaret White is the fact that nobody's covered this performance for this here Oscar Horrors series yet. You could just sit back and quote her lines and be done with it - "I can see you dirty pillows." "Pimples are the Lord's way of chastising you." "I liked it. I liked it!" What a grand time it'd be! It would be like any given evening in my house, really. But give me an excuse to watch Carrie for the 50th time, and I will bite.

Piper lost the Oscar to Beatrice Straight's very brief role in Network; I won't diss Straight because I like her and I like that performance (and I like her a few years later in Poltergiest even more)... but come on. 

Rewatching the film today I was reminded what a note-perfect line Laurie walks. Dances, really. In sensible witch shoes. Her Margaret White should be what you see when you look up "Jesus Freak" in the dictionary.

But while she's often criticized for being over the top (and it's not as if director Brian DePalma backs off that angle -- when Carrie tells her mother she's going to the prom, Piper repeats the word aghast - "Prom?" - which DePalma then gooses with some ever-so-subtle lightning and thunder) what I noticed today is it's Margaret's smallness and fear that reveals themselves between the hysterics, and become disturbingly palpable. She is in a battle with herself, the beleaguered Christian, trying to be all the God Warrior she can be, but her beaten-down daughter, meekness personified (Sissy Spacek giving one of the finest performances ever put on screen, if you ask me), begins to beat her back at every turn and she's entirely befuddled by it. You can sense she's felt this before - when her husband, the one with the stinking roadhouse whiskey on his breath, also driven nuts by her zealousness, up and took off. It must be the Devil! You can see the parts clicking into place in Laurie's performance as her confusion turns into its own sense - this is what she is here for. Calmness washes over her; she has found her life's meaning. And it's a serenity that's terrifying.

And that's the thing with this performance and why it continually rings true to me - in the twenty minutes or so of screen-time that Laurie has, she simultaneously charts not just a broad portrait of religious fervor driven way off the deep end, but the pinpoint center wherein stands a very small very frightened woman, deranged by her own terror of abandonment. Once was enough, twice is too many, and she will drag her daughter straight to Hell before she ever lets go.

 

Monday
May072012

Take Three: Piper Laurie

Craig (from Dark Eye Socket) here with this week's Take Three. Today: Piper Laurie

Take One: Hesher (2010)
Laurie has played the grandmother figure a few times in recent years (Hounddog, Eulogy, The Dead Girl), but she best conveyed matriarchal feeling last year in Hesher. The film uses the familiar narrative coupling of a loveable old person and unruly younger person connecting despite obvious differences. This time it's carried out with keen subtlety because the people involved are Laurie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who make this arrangement work in a delightfully fresh way. Their friendship isn’t the main thrust of the narrative, but a key characterful diversion, and the genuinely heartfelt union elevates the film with tiny moments of tender affection.

Laurie's Grandma is there for her grandson (Devin Brochu) through the mourning of his mother and later when Gordon-Levitt’s stoner/drifter crashes the family home. Her open acceptance of the stranger in their home starts as comically baffling but becomes almost profound. A bedroom scene where the Grandma and Hesher share tales of their lives over a bong contains obvious comedy. But Laurie’s performance – especially her indistinct and sweetly sing-song delivery – creates an odd pathos. She's giving us glimpses of her life before old age took its toll. This scene follows an earlier moment where nobody takes her up on her offer to accompany her on her morning walk. Unfazed, yet with a hint of melancholy barely audible to the others, she utters: “Well, you know you’re always invited.” She arouses a rush of emotion in five small words. "Grandma" couldn't might've been a mere peripheral presence or a parody, but she's more than a token old lady in Laurie's hands. 

Godfearing loons and corporate megabitches after the jump

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Saturday
Apr282012

Misleading Headline Of the Week!

Saw this on my google reader feed via Coming Soon yesterday and giggled.


It's technically true but if it were literally true -- Julianne Moore AS Carrie - I'd have to rethink my preemptory distaste for the movie. Dear god (aka Julianne), I'd have to quit scoffing altogether! I'm suddenly picturing a completely different completely unfaithful reimagined Carrie in which a shy 51 year old fire-haired virgin goes telekinetically mental on her town. What would prompt it? And which 70something actress could play Julianne's crazy bible-thumping mother?


Though it seems patently ridiculous to imagine a better Margaret White performance than the one Piper Laurie took to an Oscar nomination in the Seventies, Moore is no slouch when it comes to maternal mania. I am therefore, forced to be intrigued a tiny bit. If Julianne takes the role that is...

Will she or won't she? Should she?

Monday
Jan232012

Extremely Link

Weinstein Co a live chat today with The Artist team (4:30 PM EST)
Gold Derby "Oscar nominations we're rooting for"
Deadline exciting sounding project alert. Gyllehaal mama Naomi Foner, who wrote the brilliant Running on Empty (1988) is making her directorial debut with Very Good Girls. Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning to star as best friends just out of high school eager to lose their virginity.
Nicks Flick Picks' Best Actress Birthday Parties are getting more and more festive. I died at one particular one-liner in the Piper Laurie Tim review and now I simply must see the movie. 

Slash Film Remember that biopic Big Eyes about artist-marrieds Margaret and Walter Keane which was supposed to star Kate Hudson years and years ago? No? Well, it's back in development only this time with Reese Witherspoon. I don't know how you make a movie called Big Eyes and cast anyone but Our Miss Hathaway though. 
AD Jameson How many movies can you see? An obsessive discussion about what's feasible or worthwhile.
By Ken Levine "guys are not going to want to f*** her" on pursuing a role in TV pilots. A scary read for actors!

Fun videos with Charlize, Fassy & Viola after the jump...

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