Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Monologue: "Maya"

Sideways deservedly revived Hollywood's interest in Virginia Madsen. She was warm and moving and real as "Maya" even with very "written" if still exquisite speeches like the second half of the film's double courtship monologue between herself and Paul Giamatti
I like to think about the life of wine, how it's a living thing.

I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing, how the sun was shining that summer or it it rained... what the weather was like. I think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes, and if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I love how wine continues to evolve, how every time I open a bottle it's going to taste different than if I had opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive --it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks --like your '61 --and it begins its steady, inevitable decline.

And it tastes so fucking good.
...don't think that performance didn't help Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor win their Oscar for Best Screenplay!

Now can someone please give Ginny something more than a "girlfriend / wife of" role soon. Firewall, The Astronaut Farmer, Number 23 ...? surely someone in Hollywood can think of a better use for her gorgeously aged radiance.


DL said...

It's a feat itself just to make you believe that someone with a face like her's could fall for Paul Giamatti, but then she says these monologues and you're smitten. Such a sweet and beautiful performance.

(But Sideways won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.)

Anonymous said...

One of the scenes of the decade for sure. Cate Blanchett completely stole Virginia Madsen's Oscar that year - such a rich, real supporting performance - the likes of which are rarer than you think.

(And if only Virginia won in '04, maybe we wouldn't have had to suffer the indignity of Hudson winning this year...)

J.D. said...

Cate wasn't going to win this year, even if she didn't win for The Aviator, which I think is one of the more deserved acting performances of the decade.

And I reaaly need to see this again, but I know she was great. Same thing on ESOTSM and Katey. She always is.

Great screenplay.

Ben said...

Agreed. Was I the only one who thought she was flat-out brilliant perfection in an incredibly difficult role in A Prairie Home Companion? I was blown away by her work in that film.

OhMyTrill said...

This is probably my favorite scene in the film and probably the best of the year also!

Michael Parsons said...

She has In the Shadows of Wings coming up that looks promising.

"A plastic surgeon (Madsen) searches for answers in the aftermath of a plane crash in Kenya which claimed the lives of her husband and children."

The Academy loves their African set films!


dl, you're right. curse my factchecker! i fixed it

Beau said...

Seriously. She's one of those actresses who I'll consider seeing anything in, simply because she's in it. And all because of a two-minute monologue that ranks as one of, if not the best scene in all of 2004.

Lovely to see her in "Prairie Home Companion" as well, but yes, let's get her another meaty role, shall we?

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, please please please highlight Glenn Close's speech from Dangerous Liaisons, after Valmont tells her "I often wonder how you managed to invent yourself."

One of my favorite movies, performances, and actresses of all time.

Colin said...

Sadly I thought Madsen played the Dangerous Woman far too aloof in A Prairie Home Companion. Like Kevin Kline (though not as bad), I thought her character seemed misplaced from that warm film as it was played.

Oh, but don't we love our life-affirming, bright-eyed women? I know that's why I'm actressual: Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Virginia Madsen in Sideways, Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion. (Most times, they're slightly ditzy to boot.)

But there's always room for the hedonistic divas: Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago, even a touch of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

You free-spirited women, how I love you all!

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

Wait, are we featuring monologues every Monday now? Then FYC:

"I'm somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me. Soon, millions of people will see me and they'll all like me. I'll tell them about you, and your father, how good he was to us. Remember? It's a reason to get up in the morning. It's a reason to lose weight, to fit in the red dress. It's a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right.

"What have I got Harry, hm? Why should I even make the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should I? I'm alone. Your father's gone, you're gone. I got no one to care for. What have I got, Harry? I'm lonely. I'm old.

"Enhh, it's not the same. They don't need me. I like the way I feel. I like thinking about the red dress and the television and you and your father. Now when I get the sun, I smile."

(Given time, this will be one of the biggest examples of Academy hype losing out to a classic that speaks for itself. The most robbed Oscar? You decide!)

Anonymous said...

OK, Billy, OK....I got it gang....Glenn Close's fan-tabulous speech in "Dangerous Liaisons" after Valmont tells her "I often wonder how you managed to invent yourself", here we go:

"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house! I loves Harpo, God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead 'fo I let him beat me."

I love it!

Anonymous said...

I maintain that "Maya" is the perfect movie fantasy woman....pretty, sexy, sweet, smart, warm voice, doesn't complain about her crappy job or how tied she is, she's not all boney & anorexic, likes to drink and she actually seems to like men! Virginia was perfect. See if you can find a gal like that in real life! Kind of a 2000 version of Donna Reed from "It's a Wonderful Life."

Pedro said...

What I really love about Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasons is when, towards the end of the movie, she is fighting with Valmont and he tells her to choose, and she says only one word: "War". Magnificent.

Colin said...

Glenn Close is amazing in many parts: her "win or die" speech, her utterance of "war", clawing at herself after learning of Valmont's fate, her eyes roving over the booing audience, and the removal of makeup.

Glenn Dunks said...

Virginia was the very best thing about Sideways, a movie that I liked but didn't fall in love with (I gave it a B-). Virginia really was great. She almost makes me want to watch the movie again.


i'll eventually get around to the Merquise (Glenn Close) i just haven't decided in what way to approach it since it's sort of a pillar performance of my moviegoing life.

as for maya, even just typing the words made me all warm and fuzzy Madsen is so perfect in that movie...

and to think my friends and i used to make fun of her in the 80s for that Electric Dreams movie

Anonymous said...

Just hearing those words: "When I came out into society, I was 15..." makes me giddy. And then the way the accentuates, and yet downplays the word "fork" when she says "I learned to look happy while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand..." Oh Glenn, where have you gone?

Seminal for me too. Oddly enough, I was looking through my other two favorite movies of the late 80's, Working Girl and Steel Magnolias, and the closest thing I could find to a monologue in either one was Sally Field's breakdown in the cemetary, which can still make me cry if I'm in the right mood.

Maybe you should have a "One Liner Wednesdays" mini-feature Nat? If so, all of Sigourney from WG is perfection.

Anonymous said... out for Shadows of Wings