Sunday, April 25, 2010

Babs Posterized

"Hello Gorgeous!"

Barbra Streisand turned 68 yesterday. I thought we'd celebrate with posters for every movie she ever made. Because we're crazy like that. And it's fun to see someone's complete cinematic history all displayed like so.

Funny Girl (1968) | Hello Dolly (1969) | On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)

The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) | What's Up Doc? (1972) | Up the Sandbox (1972)

The Way We Were (1973) | For Pete's Sake (1974) | Funny Lady (1975)

A Star is Born (1976) | The Main Event (1979) | All Night Long (1981)

Yentl (1983) | Nuts (1987) | The Prince of Tides (1991)

The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) | Meet the Fockers (2004) | Fockers Sequel (2010)

Babs is still one of the most famous people on the planet but I'm guessing that younger generations have quite the incomplete picture of her career. I'm guessing that that picture hangs in an old fashioned frame and shows the diva in a turtleneck sweater. Somehow her expression conveys stifling self regard, political activism and mega-wealth all at once.

But when I think of Babs, I laugh. Not at her but with her. Back in the day -- before most of us were attending the movies regularly (myself included) or even alive yet (myself not included) -- she was a corker of a comic actress. She could also swing dramatic as memorably as she could change keys. But if you peruse the posters above it seems clear that her giant movie stardom shrank just as soon as she swung dramatic in a permanent sort of way.

Questions for you
  • How many of her 17 pictures have you seen?
  • Isn't it weird that major stars never used to take supporting roles and now they all do?
  • What's your favorite Streisand performance?
Babs is making a now rare return to the big screen this winter in the Meet the Fockers sequel. Will you see it?


Blauriche said...

I've seen all of them except for All Night Long.

My favorite is probably a tie for The Way We Were and What's Up Doc? and I guess I'd rank them like this:

What's Up Doc?
The Way We Were
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Up the Sandbox
The Owl and the Pussycat
Funny Girl
Hello Dolly
A Star is Born
For Pete's Sake
The Main Event
Funny Lady
The Prince of Tides
The Mirror Has Two Faces
Meet the Fockers

Since I hated Meet the Fockers, I can't imagine I'll pay to see the sequel.

I also think she's a great performer on stage. She really puts on a great show, as far as I can tell from the recordings I've heard.

Blauriche said...

On second thought, it seems silly to say I liked The Owl and the Pussycat more than Funny Girl. I guess even though the latter drags in parts, it still stands up well to repeated viewings, even if I get up to do housework whenever Omar Sharif is onscreen...

mrripley said...

I think my fave film she stars in although shes awful in it why did she not cast glenn close or meryl or sigourney as lowenstein is the prince of tides bu my fave perforamance would have to be yentl.

Leehee said...

I've seen ALL of her movies. :-) My favorite is also a tie, but between "Funny Girl" and "Yentl", with "The Prince of Tides" very closely behind them. "The Way We Were" and "What's Up Dox" make up my top 5.
I'm definitely going to see her new movie when it comes out...Can't wait actually!

Stefano said...

Until now, I've seen 14 of her 17 films (I still miss On a Clear Day, Up the Sandbox and All Night Long). My favorite Streisand performance is a tie between Funny Girl and The Way We Were, but The Way We Were is my absolute favorite among her films, followed by The Prince of Tides. I'm not so excited to see her in another Fockers movie... altough I was happy to see her starring alongside Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, and altough she was quite good in it, Meet the Fockers was really mediocre (at least). I hope she would make some other movies, and possibly other work as director.

Craig Bloomfield said...

Those earlier posters, esp. On a Clear Day..., are so good.

I saw Funny Girl for the first time last week and she was so good, so much fun - one of the most deserved Oscar wins I've seen. I wish the Academy honoured more funny girls with Oscars!

Guy Lodge said...

Funny, All Night Long somehow came up in a conversation I had with Tim R the other day ... for a pretty obscure film I hadn't thought about in years, it's kind of spooky to have it cross my mind twice in a week. It's rather an underrated little oddity, I think -- Streisand is bizarrely miscast in it, but engaging nonetheless.

Surely there's no answer to the "favorite Streisand performance" question other than Funny Girl?

RobUK said...

How many of her 17 pictures have you seen?
A healthy but not obsessive 9.

Isn't it weird that major stars never used to take supporting roles and now they all do?
It is, and yet I love that they do. Supporting work often offers stars the opportunity to step outside their box and do interesting work (I'm thinking Cruise in Magnolia etc), and their fans get to see more of them. Everyone's a winner.

What's your favorite Streisand performance?
Herein lies the gulf between 'best' and 'favourite', because I'd say the former is Funny Girl (though I do have plenty of time for her in Nuts too), but the latter is What's Up Doc?, which is always a riot to watch.

Babs is making a now rare return to the big screen this winter in the Meet the Fockers sequel. Will you see it?
Probably, although I didn't especially enjoy Meet The Fockers, so it will be a begrudged viewing, about which I don't exactly have high hopes.

par3182 said...

funny girl

Anonymous said...

1) I watched 7 movies...I'm afraid I can't say I'm big fan

2) It's weird, actually

3) my favorite is THE WAY WE WERE (that IMHO should have garnerded Barbra another Oscar...I've never understood what they found so special about Jackson in A TOUCH OF CLASS...even if I agree with her previous victory for WOMEN IN LOVE!)

4) I liked MEET THE PARENTS, not so much the sequel, so I have not so much expectations regarding the third one...


Andrew R. said...

Not a lot. I'm not sure whether to count all the movies I've only seen parts of or not. Plus, I don't really like her.

My favorite performance? That South Park episode.


Andrew R ... i usually find that people who don't like her haven't seen her earliest comedies. but maybe there are exceptions ;)

Glenn said...

I haven't seen enough! I need to remedy that because she is incredible. Funny Girl is one of the three greatest Best Actress wins ever.

Catherine said...

I haven't seen really any of them, weirdly. Well, I've seen The Way We Were, Yentl and Meet the Fockers), but that's the lot. Missing a lot of the big ones. I do love her as a singer, though. I really need to remedy the gaps in her filmography.

adelutza said...

What's Up Doc? is a masterpiece. And even if I might be alone in this, I loved Hello Dolly too.

Deborah said...

It appears I've only seen 3 of these, I thought there were more. I may have seen The Owl & the Pussycat and forgotten it. The ones I'm sure of are

What's Up Doc
The Way We Were
Hello Dolly

I love the first two of these very much, but I think The Way We Were is the probably the best performance.

Scott said...

8 or 9 (part of one more), and it has to be What's Up Doc? That's one of the best comedies ever made, and it wouldn't be the same film without her.

Laika said...

I've grown to love Barbra over the years, but she does tend to devour the screen, and she has right from the start. I mean, the Funny Girl performance is amazing, but the film hasn't got anyone who can stand up to her and spar with her a little, so it ends up feeling like a one woman show. That's part of the reason, I think, that the whole thing starts to drag so badly in the second hour - she's most interesting when her character needs to fight for attention.

I like her best in 'Up the Sandbox' - Babs as the downtrodden housewife, or, even better, Babs as a Black Panther, planting bombs in the Statue of Liberty. She seems to be having so much fun playing off her own image in that film. It captures the side of her I like the best, the Fanny Brice-ish side, needing to stick a cushion up her bridal gown to explode the banal expectations we have of our actresses.

That's why I'll always have affection for her turn in 'Meet the Fockers'; however clumsy the film is, it was the first sign of that Streisand we'd seen since the early eighties, peeking out from behind Serious Barbra. I say, bring on the sequel. In fact, dump the rest of the cast - just have Babs and Blythe Danner getting wasted on overproof rum and making prank calls to Jennifer Anniston and Kristen Stewart, Serial Mom style.

And now I'm going to have the theme for 'The Main Event' stuck in my head all day.


@Laika... I hereby decree you a genius. And I hereby offer the studio my editing skills free of charge to retool that movie to be the Blythe & Babs show.

adri said...

I've seen 16 out of 17 - I haven't seen Meet the Fockers.

My favorites are:
On a Clear Day
Funny Girl

I like the ones best when she sings - otherwise we're not seeing her best asset - and the ones that are more comic than dramatic.

On a Clear Day has great songs, which she does beautifully, wonderful 1960s outfits, the charming Yves Montand as romantic lead, and Jack Nicholson as her sitar-playing stepbrother. What fun.

Chris Na Taraja said...

I think I've only seen 5 or 6 of her movies fully.

My favorite is FUNNY GIRL, but I also liked THE MAIN EVENT.

Her film career also started to fade once she began producing and directing herself. I saw YENTL for the first time fully recently, and I liked it at first, but she soon became unbearable and boring. she needs other directors and editors.

You think that she would get the hint to continue doing comedy.

Chris Na Taraja said...

I agree with Stefano, MEET THE FAULKERS was mediocre, and at some points painfully not funny. Glad to hear Babs is returning to film, but not interested in seeing it.

Paul Outlaw said...

Seen eight in their entirety and bits of another five. Would like to check out For Pete's Sake and Nuts.

Favorite performance: The Way We Were.

To fock or not to fock: I'm in.

And if the option is supporting roles or (almost) no roles...

Volvagia said...

One and it's...(yikes) Meet the Fockers. I think both "I'd want to see her act" and "I wouldn't want to meet her in person." If I wouldn't want to meet her in person, why would I want to watch her films? Because, well, Woody Allen may be a nasty man, but I wouldn't want to cut myself off from good/great movies. (She thinks South Park is "cynical" just because it plays on a perceieved egotism in her public persona? Congrats for proving their point.)

Cinesnatch said...

On a Clear Day, What's Up Doc?, The Way We Were (my favorite) and her last four.

Andrew R. said...

No, Nate, I don't really like her at all except in Funny Girl.

And she didn't deserve that Oscar. Hepburn was better, and they didn't even nominate Mia Farrow for Rosemary's Baby.

Mecha-Streisand was a genius South Park episode.

joel65913 said...

Have seen all 17. It's hard to pick the best. For the best display of all her talents it would have to be Funny Girl. Dramatically it's The Way We Were and for comedy What's Up Doc?. But in almost all her films she has excellent moments even the odd Up the Sandbox. The perfect film for her at this point would be Sunset Boulevard as long as she had a strong director, not herself.
The Focker films are kind of dumb but she makes it worth the trip to the theatre.

Chris Na Taraja said...

OMG she would be really incredible in SUNSET BOULEVARD! Or actually, i heard that Sondheim wrote the Witch in INTO THE WOODS for her. Could you imagine. And how come she's never been mama Rose in GYPSY! Bring Barbara back to musicals!!!

Rick said...

as an actress, IMO Streisand peaked with Funny Girl and kept going downhill from there.... her personal persona is so strong, I can never believe her in the roles she plays. I never cried at They Way We Were and never laughed at her comedies... I will see the next Frocker movie because I have seen them all... but I really did not like the last one... both Hoffman and Streisand were irritating to me, especially Hoffman.

Cinesnatch said...

Streisand would have been great in "Prime" (not that Streep wasn't good). A role like that would work for her.

jimmy said...

I've only seen 11 of the 17 - but some are pretty awful like "All Night Long."

Best performance - The Way We Were. She should have won that year - i have not problem with glenda jackson not winning.

Strong Runners up: Funny Girl & what's up doc.

Awful / but i still kind of like it: Yentl - papa can you hear me?

only 17 movies over 42 years and she is one of movies biggest stars.

Chip Chandler said...

10 of 17, but I've seen all of the major ones, at least.

What's Up, Doc? is my favorite by far - one of my all-time favorite comedies, period. And though it's not one of her best, I have a weakness for Yentl (or a weakness for naked Mandy Patinkin).

I'll see the next Fockers, if only because I love seeing her act in a comedy. But I'll probably wait til Netflix has it.

Steolicious said...

I saw nine of them, so I´m gay (:

What's Up Doc?
The Way We Were
Funny Girl
A Star is Born
The Prince of Tides
The Mirror Has Two Faces
Meet the Fockers

I think her best performance was in "Nuts". She should do another one "Still nuts?".

AmaliaPorAmor said...

I have seen them all except "All Night Long" (it's hard to find that one).

Her performance as Fanny Brice is superb! After playing the role on Broadway and London she played on the screen like a glove, perfect!

I have a soft spot for On A Clear Day... it's a bit camp-ish, but I like her playing two roles... being regal as an english lady and a loose coocko ny florist.

Her 70s performances are great, especially in the comedy field (What's Up Doc by far the best)... I'm still amazed how good she was in Funny Lady (that movie sucks).

Although A Star Is Born was her biggest hit until Meet the Fockers, I don't like her performance in the movie (although the live musical sequences are AMAZING! I can't believe she didn't tour in the 70s, her voice was out of this world sniff sniff).
The script makes me cringe (I love you, I hate you... If you die I'll kill you WTF BABS!?)

After the whole A Star Is Born experience with the fights between her and the director and the backlash she got from Hollywood for being a woman producer/composer/actress (and some say she ended up directing the movie lol) her movie career slowed down and it's a pity! I think Streisand the actor never soared... I do believe she can go much further than being a star actress.

To bad she turned down "Bagdad Cafe", "The White Hotel", "Sheltering Sky" and the three Jane Fonda movies "They Shoot Horses", "Klute" & "Julia" and the prospect of working with Bergman on "The Merry Widow" (they had an issue with the script).

I feel there's a need of approval from the audience towards Barbra... she has to be the underdog that makes it, the rising star, the troubled maniac who conquers your heart... to bad she never played a vilan for example.
I think this stems from her childhood and unfortunately now it's a bit late to grab those juicy roles.

Ok, this is getting long... I went to the movies to see "Little Fockers"... it sucks! At times it's funny, but it's a shame that such a powerhouse of talent (Streisand, Hoffman, DeNiro and Keitel) are left with shitty lines.

Barbra & Dustin do have a strong chemistry on screen and they should have had made a movie back in the day.

I've read that Barbra is thinking about doing a road movie with Seth Rogen called "My Mother's Curse" and is planning to direct in the future... I hope she still has a few acting cards up her sleeve.