Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Goodbye Dorothy. Hello Mary Louise

Two questions today for everyone marked by two historic events.

Today marks the 36th anniversary of Judy Garland's death. Being a 'friend of Dorothy' I am stereotypically just a touch fonder of the Garland mythos than your average cinephile might be. But it goes deeper than blind raving fandom. I genuinely respect what she brought to the cinema as an actress and a musician. Unquestionably one of the great entertainers on screen, stage, and disc. Garland's career was before my lifetime so I developed this fandom over many years of movie watching. The movie related deaths that really upset me in my lifetime were those of Natalie Wood and River Phoenix.

Which celebrity passing has most affected you?

Today also marks the 56th birthday of Mary Louise Streep, also known as Meryl. She's often referred to in print and soundbite as the 'Greatest Living American Film Actress' or other similarly impressive sounding descriptors. Whether or not you agree with those assessments...

Which Meryl Streep performance really gets to you?


John T said...

My favorite Meryl turn is Out of Africa, as she rescued that film from Robert Redford's miscasting and made it a spectacle worthy of praise. I also think it's important to watch Julia as well, if only because Streep is so electric in a supremely small role.

Anonymous said...

Every single thing about her Postcards From The Edge performance is astonishing. However, the one that "gets me" is her turn in The Bridges of Madison County. The car door handle. She OWNS that scene!


Anonymous said...

The dinner table scene in Plenty... and the final moments... "there will be days and days like this." Heartbreaking.

It's one of her best and most overlooked performances.

Also the usual suspects Cry in the Dark and French Lieutenant's Woman and Sophie's Choice and Silkwood.

But if I have to make a choice? Plenty.

Anonymous said...

re: affected by celebrity's death?

Goodbye Norma Jean,

August 5, 1962. I was 10 and on vacation with my family. We heard about it on the car radio.

It was like the only living goddess had, for some inexplicable reason, decided to kill herself.

It registered on some fundamental level that the world is not what it appears to be.

By the time Judy killed herself seven years later so many great and famous people had killed themselves or been killed, it didn't have the same impact, at least for me at 17.

But I agree Nathaniel, Judy was one of the all time great artists. Thanks for making me think of her today. I'm going downstairs right now to put on her Carnegie Hall concert.

adam k. said...

I was shocked when princess Di died. Happened right before my first day of high school. Totally schocking and bewildering.

I really haven't seen enough Meryl movies. But I loved her in Adaptation, Angels in America and of course, Sophie's Choice.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely EVERYTHING that Ms. Streep has ever done and will do.
Marcelo - Brazil.

Anonymous said...

Favorite performance would have to be "Sophie's Choice," although others like "Out of Africa", "Adptation", "Ironweed" are close to my heart. But even when not in an challenging role she is extremely watchable. She is the greatest living actress to me, and by far my favorite. Always gracious off the screen, she is a class act and i love her!!

par3182 said...

Anne Bancroft's recent death depressed me, especially as I'd just rewatched 'The Graduate' recently (my tip to everyone - rent it immediately, so frickin' brilliant).

As for Meryl I agree with David M - 'Plenty' is my fave. "There will be days and days and days like this" is quite possibly the best final line ever.

Anonymous said...

I love all of Streep's acclaimed (dramatic) performances, but the one I absolutely adore is her work in "Death Becomes Her". I've seen it countless times, but I never fail to crack up at her antics. She and Goldie Hawn are brilliant together.


NicksFlickPicks said...

For Meryl, I'm most into Ironweed and Bridges... and The Deer Hunter and the divine Postcards from the Edge. Among perf's that haven't been mentioned, I'm surprised how well One True Thing holds up to repeat viewings, besides being Renee Zellweger's best perf. Also love what she did with the small bit in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Death: I'd say River Phoenix. His performance in My Own Private Idaho really touched me, and it's sad such talent went to waste.

Meryl: Hmmm...this is a tough one. I'd say it;s between Bridges and One True Thing, with Adaptation and The Hours bringing up the rear. She's just so warm and she always manages to make me connect with her character's pain, while her comedic turn in Adaptation felt so refreshingly genuine.

Anonymous said...

I really REALLY hope David M isn't Australian. If he is then there is something wrong. I'm fairly certain no Australian likes Meryl Streep in A Cry In The Dark!

It IS extraordinarily cringe worthy.

I thought her Adaptation perf was spectaculur!

On the matter of celebrity deaths there is James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and while her film work was less than stellar, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Aaliyah. She is/was one of my favourite singers and she was really hitting her stride. Quite ironically, the song "Rock The Boat" for which she was filming the video of when she died is quite possibly her best song. Definitely her sexiest!


Anonymous said...

I'm going to be boring and say "Sophie's Choice". And not being an aussie, I actually liked her in "A Cry" - ?

But my favorite remains "She-Devil". It's a fantastic underrated film, and with the congenial casting of Meryl, Roseanne and Linda Hunt, it never fails to entertain me.

As for celebrity deaths... I was saddened with Anne Bancroft as well, but Audrey Hepburns death really got to me.


Anonymous said...

Meryl's work in Cry in the Dark was creepy, but brilliantly creepy. I thought the whole point was to make the woman fairly repulsive.

Like the Jodie Foster character in The Accused, just because a woman doesn't conform to society's idea of "normal and nice" doesn't mean she deserves to be raped or is more likely to have killed her own child.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

fwiw, my 12 favorite Streep performances (in sorta-ranked order)

can't live without...
Sophies Choice
Out of Africa
Postcards from the Edge

also love her in...
Kramer Vs. Kramer
Bridges of Madison County
Death Becomes Her
The Hours

I've seen almost all of her films with the notable exception of 70s entries Julia and The Deer Hunter

Anonymous said...

I think it's between "Sophie's Choice" and "Ironweed." Watching her act with Jack Nicholson in Ironweed was a true privelege.

I'm surprised no one's chosen The Manchurian Candidate yet (wicked grin)

Anonymous said...

You know what, I actually liked her in Manchurian! Oh, sure, she was hamming for the hills, and I was horrified when I saw the clips of her performance before I saw the movie. But watching the performance in context, she made a diabolical film that little bit more bearable.


adam k. said...

Well I never saw Machurian since no one seems to recommend it, but based on seeing the clips of her, I thought it looked like she at least nailed the Karen Hughes impersonation. Too bad most people didn't seem to feel that way.

Anonymous said...

The French Leutenant's Woman.
Any actress that can make a Pinter costume drama/prostitute with a heart of gold character work, gets my praise

As far as celeberty deaths, for some reason, Sonny Bono really affected me. I'm not even sure why.

- Pat, WV

Anonymous said...

no love for A Cry in the Dark???

am I wrong to enjoy this performance so much (not my favorite, but I'm just surprised it hasnt shown up here cuz it's still really good)

any insights into the ups and downs of this particular perf?

Anonymous said...

A few mentioned A Cry In The Dark.

And the reason I and a lot of fellow Australians hate it is cause, well, "A dingo's got my babay"!

If you want to see a MUCH (and I mean MUCH) better portrayal of Lindy Chamberlain you'll have to find the 2004 Australian TV Mini-Series "Through My Eyes" (horrible name I know but it's based on Lindy's book) starring a whole bunch of people you've never heard of plus MIRANDA OTTO has Lindy. She was great.

She even beat out Claudia Karven for Best Actress in Love My Way, which is a feat in and of itself if you've seen LMW.


PS; I forgot to mention Postcards From The Edge earlier. And I am a big fan of Death Becomes Her - I'm gladit's not embarassing to say so.

Anonymous said...

Meryl's Aussie accent in Cry in the Dark sounded fine to me.

A lot of them do say babay.

Get over it.