Monday, May 18, 2009

Streep at 60: A Retrospective

This post has been updated. Please choose 3 answers from the poll

Meryl Streep Month begins in 14 days. For the six or seven Streep-phobic readers among you I promise to keep it fun and cinematically broad (co-stars, directors, tangents, oscar discussions). Regular posting will continue betwixt the Mary Louise Gummer business.


Your enthusiasm + my stamina will = how far we journey into the Streep Territories. For now, offer up suggestions in the comments and take this poll. I've left out the obvious must (Sophie's Choice) and things that are unavailable (Joe Tynan), that I have no desire to revisit (Manchurian, etc...) or that I've already discussed (the quite recent stuff).

Choose Three Films!


*

65 comments:

Krauthammer said...

Really, anything but The French Lieutenant's Woman

Kent said...

I am so excited for this retrospect, Nathaniel. How about nailing the different genres she's tackled like drama, comedy, romance, etc. Her key performances should be acknowledged in the genres, both good and bad --are there any ?

I would like to revisit Streep in 85. I'm finding it very hard to choose which performance is best. Her strong willed presence in OUT OF AFRICA or her subtle brilliance in PLENTY?

amir_uk said...

Manhattan! Manhattan! Manhattan! I'm having a resurgence of LOVE for that film and for Meryl at the moment. I've only seen 6 of her 15 Oscar nominated performances so far - but they're about to show Postcards from the Edge on TV now, so soon that will be 7 (and counting...).

alex said...

Ah, don't hate on The Manchurian Candidate! With the possible exception of Emma Thompson in Primary Colors, no one has put together a better Hillary!

But in other news, I'm totally loving the support Death Becomes Her is getting. All kinds of underrated, that.

adelutza said...

Out of all movies Meryl's been in I love the most The Deer Hunter but that's not because of her.
So I would say Postcards from the Edge .
By the way, there's something wrong with the radio buttons, it won't let me choose three, just one.

Murtada said...

The Hours, her most underated performance of the last few years

She was effortless and relaxed. Don't know why she did not get more recognition for that performance? Probably because it came out the same year as Adaptation, and that was so funny, surprising and unlike anything she has done before.

Terris said...

Hey!
I'm new here, but I've been reading this great blog for a long time.
Today I've decided to leave my first comment because I'm a huge fan of Meryl Streep and I really want to partecipate to this poll.
I'd say EVERYTHING... but if I have to choose then I vote for POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, SILKWOOD and THE HOURS (about Meryl's perfomance in the latter I do completely agree with Murtada).
Nice to be here and to share comments and opinion with you all!
Terris from Italy =)

Anonymous said...

Don't watch "Rendition". There's no point, really.

Fernando Moss said...

My vote goes to PLENTY because I think is one of her very best, but one that almost no one ever mentions...

NATHANIEL R said...

Fernando -- i liked Plenty in 85 and loved Out of Africa which I saw 2 or 3 times. 24 years later i remember Plenty with much greater clarity and i only saw it that one time.

Terris welcome! thanks for commenting. the more the merrier. Silkwood is one of my favorites so I hope to do that but i want to see what people are most interested in cuz there's so much to choose from.

adelutza i will see what's wrong and fix. sorry

E Dot said...

Wassup?! What you got against 'Prada'???

E Dot said...

alright alright, I get it.

NATHANIEL R said...

POLLS RESET TO ZERO. SORRY.

You can now choose THREE films. please revote if you already voted. thanks

Sean said...

If I could have checked Adaptation 3 times I would have. It's my personal favorite of Streep's performances even if some of her others have been more artistically renowned.

I voted for 'Defending Your Life' as well. Her performance always makes me smile. Ironweed is also a very intresting performance

Encore Entertainment said...

Stone me now, but I am not a fan of Meryl. She is a good actress, but Nathaniel... Prime... what are your thoughts. I loathe this film, I cannot explain how much. The thing that makes Meryl Streep so good is love her or hate her she is a good actress - unlike people like Jessica Lange, whom I love or even Sissy Spaceck. But I digress. What are your thoughts on Prime. Is there anything redeeming about this movie... strangely enough I have never checked its score on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes... but I'm asking you.

Liv. said...

Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge, and Bridges of Madison County are my three favorite performances of hers (besides Sophie's Choice, of course).
Meryl Streep month will make the last few days of my junior year much better. major gracias.

NATHANIEL R said...

encore i kinda like Prime. I can't really excuse it ;) i know everyone else hates it.

that said. i barely remember it so it was definitely disposable

Anonymous said...

i did like prime.

as with all of meryl's films: you ALWAYS remember the character she plays

thats her defining quality-to imbue all her characters with a certain quality that stays with you

Hayden said...

I picked Julia in hopes it will prompt discussion about Vanessa Redgrave (if anyone deserves an entire month of attention it's someone like her instead of the woman the media shoves down our throats every five minutes) or even Jane Fonda (whose work doesn't get discussed often simply because it's not current).

Honestly, I can't think of a time when an actress has been LESS deserving of more exposure. She'll start to think she's being rewarded for 2007 and 2008. [dies]

Hayden said...

Having a Meryl Streep month is basically like designating a White History Month. For obvious reasons. I get it. She's talented. But she's also the most accessible actress of her generation and to me it seems like a wasted opportunity.

Fernando Moss said...

Well, I think Hayden has a point. It would be great if one of these month we have a "Actress Not Everyone is Familiar With All Her Work Month" (i.e. Anjelica Huston,Gena Rowlands, Catherine Deneuve, Helana Bonham Carter, Catherine Keener, Victoria Abril, Parker Posey, Patricia Clarkson, Isabelle Huppert, Angela Basset, Sarah Polley, etc...)

Fernando Moss said...

or at least a week...

NATHANIEL R said...

Hayden seriously? white history month? so negative.

i think i do a pretty good job of spreading the wealth and will continue to do so. even in June ;) even INSIDE the Streep posts (which won't be every post) you'll get other stuff, don'cha know.

o ye of little faith.

Rick said...

Nathaniel,

Forget about Hayden and Fernando ... they have their "heads
up..." You do a great job of including everyone in your blog... let them go to a website of someone they really like.

alluhrey said...

up to this day, i believe she was robbed of the oscars for "out of africa" and "bridges of madison county" in favor of sentimental favorites geraldine page and susan sarandon. i consider "adaptation" as one of her greatest performances, ever.

Rick said...

Hayden,

I attempted to email you but I did not want to go through with the trouble it takes to get an email off to you... but I did want to try to understand your meaning "dies"

Fernando Moss said...

I have nothing agains Meryl nor Nathaniel nor this blog... I love all three... The only thing I was saying when I said Hayden has a point was this:


Hayden said:
"I picked Julia in hopes it will prompt discussion about Vanessa Redgrave (if anyone deserves an entire month of attention it's someone like her instead of the woman the media shoves down our throats every five minutes) or even Jane Fonda (whose work doesn't get discussed often simply because it's not current)."

And I agreeg in tha fact that there are other actresses with a lot of work in their careers that we could all watch and discuss so we can amply our horizons, becasue we're not all that familiar with their work, mainly because the media doesn't cover it.

But I will definitively be Happy as Hell in Meryl's month!

Rick said...

OK, Fernando... I feel my reaction to you both was too harsh .. I agree there are many actresses who should be acclaimed more... but Streep never got the idolatry she has been getting the last 2-3 years .. and she is truly deserving it now.

NATHANIEL R said...

fernando thank you.

in truth i would love to do weeks or months for just about all of my top 20 actresses.

This is mostly an experiment for me and a request from many readers so if it goes well, who knows...

i mean i might collapse after 2 posts ;)

Kamikaze Camel said...

I voted:

Silkwood because it's my favourite from those that I have seen.

A Cry in the Dark because it's Australian and you could work in Kate Winslet too (Aussie accents and such).

Bridges of Madison County so that you can use it as a defence for when all the Clint Eastwood fanboys get on your case about you not liking his Mandela movie (just a hunch).

mrripley said...

you could discuss meryl's eating habits and i'd be enthralled.

NATHANIEL R said...

they're enthralling?

who knew

mrripley said...

i think we are discussing meryl due to her being 60.

Caty said...

I choose the AIA,Madison,Heartburn.
no doubt about francesca in Madison, but I think Heartburn is one of Meryl's most underrated comedic role.
and Angels in america is one of her best. I can not ranked 2th among AIA, silk wood, Madison and A Cry in the dark.

Meryl is monster..
I mean incredible!
anyway,I'm your fan, nat.
Streep month is truely amazing.

Caty said...

oh, No.1 is Sophies choice ofcourse:D

Hayden said...

I'm sorry Nathaniel. I've just been really frustrated with Meryl and her career in every year this decade besides 2002 and 2006. It seems odd that all the "Best Actress Ever" citations are coming in a decade I think has been (mostly) full of fluff and mannered performances.

Caty said...

I'm so sorry for continual comment, but I forgot adaptation. That was wonderful.

oh, there are so many beautiful performances!

NATHANIEL R said...

Hayden I share your concern (albeit much much much less emphatically) but this is mostly an excuse to go backwards. As you may have noticed I've been on an 80s kick ;) and I haven't seen SILKWOOD in forever and it's one of my favorites of the whole decade. Plus, I've never seeen JULIA and i promised someone who donated that I would review it forever ago.

Feeling guilt. must atone.

if it works out and enough people tune in and enjoy perhaps i will tackle someone else. Or at least more theme weeks.

Bailey said...

Yes! Cover older Meryl! Her recent roles have been...not as lasting. Like she's not trying as hard because she doesn't have to. I mean, I liked the movie and she was good, but her Devil Loves Prada Oscar nomination truly is a sham. I am a big fan of hers but I think the recent overhype is the type that leads to backlashes, and a career like hers certainly doesn't need tarnishing like that.

NATHANIEL R said...

Bailey... disagree on PRADA. it's actually one of her best performances EVER if you ask me. Like, top five.

but that's just me ;)

Bailey said...

No!!! Say it ain't so! I mean, like I said, she was good, I just don't think it probably takes her much effort to play an icy bitch. Plus I WORSHIP Anne Hathaway so I was pretty much staring at her the whole time.

I will simply die if you do not cover Death Becomes Her. Such a welcome departure for her, and it's still funny to this day!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fernando Moss... Catherine Deneuve month, please

Catherine said...

Silkwood is my choice. Anyway, she's a great actress regardless and one of the few actors whose work i can't wait to see every time.

C:)

Jin said...

The Devil Wears Prada.

John T said...

Nat-can we write in Holocaust? It's a TV Movie, but you have other ones listed.

Anonymous said...

Oh Oh Oh let us have Death Becomes her, AIA, and A Cry in the Dark. She was amazing in all those movies. I am completely in love with this b*tch

NATHANIEL R said...

John... i thought about putting the Holocaust in but its a miniseries and i'm not sure how much of it she's in and i'm already going to be swamped for time ;)

the time commitment!

Anonymous said...

IRONWEED, THE DEER HUNTER!!!! YEAH!!!!

Rick said...

Nathaniel,
Just to let you know, Meryl was a big part of Holocaust... she won the Emmy for Best Actress that year. I agree with you not to include it as there are so many other parts she excelled in.

Alex said...

I thought this would make for a fun list...

Best non-Oscar nominated performances from Meryl:
1. Angels in America
2. The Hours
3. Heartburn
4. Manhattan
5. A Prairie Home Companion
6. (since we can't really count AiA, now can we?) Plenty

I'd love to hear Nat's and anyone else's top 5 for this :)

Billy D said...

The line readings in She-Devil...come on:

"It's cream....of watercress."

"Computers don't have SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS, Bob!"

You haaave to write about it!

NATHANIEL R said...

Alex... i should probably save mine for a post ;)

Yavor said...

I know everyone has an opinion but from what I've seen, and I've seen almost 30 of her movies and 13 of her 15 Oscar nominations I cannot agree with comments that her work during the last 9 years has been somewhat lazy or effortless. She was OUTSTANDING in the devil wears prada because she did something nobody had done before and totally deserved her nom there, definitelly better than Doubt, yet the Doubt performance being better than Kate in "The Reader"; I chose "Julia" and "The Hours" because I love the movies, not simply Meryl's performances and "The Bridges of Madison County" cuz I'm in a really romantic state of mine recently, hahahz. One more thing, her work during the last 9 years is better than what she did in the 90s... wait until her last kid goes to collage and she'll show even better stuff to the world.

Erin said...

Anything but The Hours.

Christine said...

I agree with the love for Plenty. I think it's one of the great Streep roles that nobody ever talks about. Actually, everyone in that movie is fantastic.

Christine said...

Also, as long as you're on a 1980's kick . . . Kent's post about the two great Streep performances in 85 (Out of Africa and Plenty) got me thinking about all the other excellent films that came out that year. For example:

Witness
28 Up
Brazil
My Beautiful Laundrette
Zed and Two Noughts
Dim Sum
Kiss of the Spiderwoman

I never thought of the mid 80's being a particularly strong time for film before, but I think I'm wrong about that now.

Jordan Wellin said...

Why not Mamma Mia? It was a bravado performance...or not.

voncastle said...

IRONWEED! Virtually unknown, one of the best performances ever by anyone. Then I have a flair for The French Lieutant's... rich and complex portrayal of two / one character.

voncastle said...

... or we could discuss the "The Hours" scandal; not only Meryl's performance was the best, I even think she should have portayed all the 3 women!

KBJr said...

I chose 'Silkwood'...'A Cry in the Dark' (criminally underrated)...and 'Angels in America' (Are you serious? Three grand Streep performances in one 6-hour series? Heaven)

Ya'll don't sleep on these three.

NATHANIEL R said...

voncastle... that's an interesting concept for that movie actually. all three by the same actress (whoever that is)

could have been even more fascinating.

Anonymous said...

i Totally loved The Hours

Alex said...

I love that concept! Of the three to play all three roles, I would've chosen either Meryl or Julianne Moore. Probably Julianne, if only because of age.

Betty Jo said...

I'm with Jordan on this. Mamma Mia! -- please.

Terri said...

I own all of Meryl's movies (including Alice at the Palace and Secret Service) and have been a life-long fan. She's so great in every role but I'd have to choose Sophie's Choice, Adaptation, and Bridges as her finest performances..oh wait, let's not forget Plenty...and Doubt..gosh, it really is impossible to only choose a few as the woman is absolutely remarkable. A true living legend.