Doris Mann: Have you known Suzanne long?Fifty minutes into Postcards From the Edge (1990), Jack (Dennis Quaid) has dropped by to pick up Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) for a date. Her mother (Shirley Maclaine) intercepts the man with the bedroom eyes ('and the living room nose and the kitchen forehead'). The performers are deliciously insynch with Carrie Fisher's rapid fire witticisms.
Jack Faulkner: Ah, lets see. we've known each other about a month. It seems like longer, though.
Doris: Oh, I know what you mean. I'm her mother and it seems like longer.
One of the reasons people get so invested in the Oscars is the joy that comes from arguing about whether or not the octogenarian institution got it right in any given year / category. When it comes to Postcards From the Edge, they got it very very wrong. It's one of the best movies about movies ever and it only received two nominations. Even Fisher's adapted screenplay, superior to some of the actual nominees, was snubbed. Dennis Quaid and Gene Hackman were both doing sly work here as Suzanne's player boyfriend and sympathetic director, respectively. But both actors didn't break a sweat in roles that wouldn't really be Oscar's thing even in the best of circumstances.
But then there's Shirley "It twirled up!" Maclaine. Hollywood usually loves it when Hollywood celebrates or satirizes itself as you can see in acting nominations like Dustin Hoffman's in Wag the Dog, Jean Hagen in Singin' in the Rain or Michael Lerner's for Barton Fink (among many others). But Shirley, who is a complete knockout as Debbie Reynolds substitute Doris Mann whether she's singing, cracking jokes, or winking for our sympathy, was bizarrely snubbed.
I'll never figure that one out.
I notice something new in the performances each time I see Postcards but the last time I popped it in the player I was totally amazed that I'd never caught this non-acting related detail (pictured below)
When Gene Hackman yells "Cut. Print." at the end of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated "I'm Checking Out" musical number, the clapboard is not for the fictional film they're shooting but for the actual film we're watching (Postcards from the Edge) with its actual director Mike Nichols and cinematographer (the great, still unOscared Michael Ballhaus). How fun.
If you don't love Postcards don't tell me cuz I don't want to know. But if you do, tell us your favorite bit in the comments.