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"While it doesn't seem groundbreaking, I know I will watch it eventually because of the four legends in the cast." - Rebecca

"Adored both Bergen and Keaton (and Garcia!), liked Fonda and unfortunately, thought Steenburgen kind of drew the short straw here. Overall, had a ball!" - Andrew


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Entries in Shirley Maclaine (34)

Thursday
May032018

Months of Meryl: Defending Your Life (1991)

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


#18 —Julia, a quality human being awaiting her judgment in the afterlife.

JOHN: Defending Your Life, Albert Brooks’ 1991 purgatory comedy, actually contains two movies. One involves Brooks’ Daniel Miller dying in a car accident, arriving in the leisurely Judgment City, and having his entire life reviewed in a trial that will determine whether he is reincarnated as a different person or sent to a higher dimension. The other, shorter film lodged inside Brooks’ painfully vain lark is about the absolute perfection of Meryl Streep. Guess which one is more enjoyable...

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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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Monday
Sep252017

The Furniture: Death by Excess in What a Way to Go!

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Any excuse to talk about What a Way to Go! is a good excuse. But the centennial of Ted Haworth is an especially excellent excuse. He was nominated for six Oscars, starting with Marty in 1955. He won for 1957’s Sayonara. Highlights from the rest of his career include Some Like It Hot, The Beguiled, and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

But none of those movies could hold a candle to the astonishing level of creativity on display in What a Way to Go! The epic 1964 comedy of love and loss stars Shirley MacLaine as Louisa May Foster, a many-time widow and heiress.  Each husband, with one particularly tragic exception, begins the marriage as a near-pauper who wants nothing but love. But their passion inevitably leads them on a wild pursuit of wealth, which tends to end in a coffin. It should be noted, of course, that Louisa herself has little interest in cash.

There are far too many brilliant design elements to fit into a single column...

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Monday
Jul172017

"Being There" -- Essential Viewing For the Right Now

by Nathaniel R

Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979) is a fortune teller. And the future it foretells isn’t rosy. The classic film about a TV-loving cypher who Forrest Gumps his way into history is approaching its 40th anniversary, but its essential viewing for the right now.  Don't wait until 2019 to see it.

Among the film’s many queasy previews of life in the early 21st century is the proliferation of screens. Here that takes the shape of television, with Ashby frequent crosscutting to whatever is on the TV in a given scene. Though the content we see is recognizably dated, its intrusion is evergreen. 

Hidden within the prophecy of multiple screens replacing actual experience, is an even sharper notion of the screen as a mirror...

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Thursday
May182017

Beauty Break: Happy 90th Birthday to the Grauman's Chinese!

One of my favorite places in Hollywood turned 90 years old today. The Grauman's Chinese Theater, which often houses premieres and events, opened on this day in 1927, so its centennial is just ten years away. It's currently known as the TCL Theater and was called the Mann Theater before that but it's still popularly known as Grauman's. You can rename something as perks for modern corporations but sometimes the original name hangs around (as well as it should). Don't even get me started on beautiful Broadway theaters chucking their iconic stage giant names for "American Airlines Theater" or whatnot. DO NOT GET ME STARTED. 

The Grauman's most familiar pop culture aspect is its large collection of cement tiles out front bearing the handprints of movie stars from all eras. So it's time for a Beauty Break. Which of these ceremonies after the jump do you most wish you had been at? 

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Monday
May012017

Beauty vs Beast: Monkey Business

Jason from MNPP here for another round of "Beauty vs Beast" - today is the 86th anniversary of the grand opening of the Empire State Building, aka the most famous building in the world. And so in its honor we're finally tackling the movie that not only birthed its legend but also gave this series its name...

"It was beauty killed the beast."

The Empire State Building was opened on May 1st 1931. President Hoover pushed a button in the White House in DC and the lights to the tower in NYC flicked on for the first time. Just under two years later the movie King Kong would be released (director Merian Cooper supposedly came up with the idea of the plane battle at its top), immediately branding the iconic skyscraper and its most famous big monkey occupant - and his little blonde friend (Fay Wray) - onto every human brain, and forever thereafter.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's contest faced down the mother-daughter duo of Postcards From the Edge and once again proved you should never bet against Meryl Streep - she stomped right over birthday gal Shirley MacLaine with 61% of your vote. Although forever1267 really summed up my own thoughts on the question:

"Where is the "Both" button?"