Monday, June 17, 2019

Episode 2 of "Big Little Lies"

OK, so a lot of heavy shit went down this episode. The biggest thing is probably that Jane and Celeste end up telling their kids that Perry is Ziggy's dad. Bonnie's basically suffering from post-traumatic stress, so Nathan asks her mom to come out and help. Her mom is pretty in tune with what's wrong with Bonnie, and she's apparently some kind of like witch doctor who's using crystals to help her troubled daughter. Madeline confesses to Ed that she had an affair (thanks to the second time in two days one of her daughter gets a little loose with her language). Renata's dick husband has allegedly squandered all their money on some risky business venture, and we get to see pretty clearly what's behind her motivation for success.


And then of course, there's Mary Louise. She gets creepier by the minute. She's also sort of an awful person, if we didn't already realize that. After hearing the painful revelation from Celeste that Perry was physically abusive, instead of being sympathetic, caring and a listener, Mary Louise can do nothing but deny the possibility that her son could have been that way and that he could have raped someone as well. Essentially it's an exercise in denial, and Meryl plays it well, in that I wanted to reach through my TV and slap Mary Louise into reality.

Shailene Woodley was best in show for me tonight. The scene where she's telling Ziggy the truth about his father--it was pretty easy to feel her pain, and I thought she did a wonderful job conveying that.

With all this stuff out in the open already in week two, there's a pretty solid framework for a five more episodes of conflict. Fifty minutes never went by so fast...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Teaser for "Little Women" coming in July

Film Updates is reporting that a teaser trailer for Greta Gerwig's remake of Little Women will be attached to Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film opens in theaters on July 26.


We can probably expect to see only a tiny snippet of Meryl, as it's just a teaser and she likely has a rather small role.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Episode 1 of "Big Little Lies"

I'm writing this literally five minutes after having watched the first episode of season 2 of HBO's Big Little Lies. Spoiler alert if you plan to watch and don't want details. Historically I'm pretty bad at accurately describing everything I think or feel about a Streep performance very shortly after seeing it, but I also think there's something good about a fresh reaction. So please bare with me and my tendency to ramble.

Suffice it to say, Meryl has done it again. She's managed to surprise me. I pictured the character of Mary Louise Wright as someone a little bit "off," and I think I'm right in that respect. But Meryl figures out a way to undermine our suspicions and expectations of who we think a character is going to be in the first few scenes. There's an unsettling quirkiness about Mary Louise as she settles in Monterey to get to the bottom of how her son died. At the same time, she's the most put-together and in control of anyone in the town. There are enough glints, however, of her own (obviously mistaken) perception of her son, and how that opinion will shape her need for answers.



Basically, the first episode showcases how Bonnie is struggling with the fact that she's killed Perry by pushing him down the stairs to save Celeste. Celeste is having nightmares, and OMG all I could think about seeing Nicole Kidman with Meryl was how fucking awkward it would be to have to be hugged by the mother of your abusive dead husband, especially when that woman happens to be a little cuckoo (see scream scene). Madeline is maddeningly able to just seemingly move on fret about forcing her daughter to go to college, while Renata is not-so-politely instructing a super sexy teacher on how to educate her daughter. Jane's got a romance brewing with a co-worker and is refusing to accept estate checks from Celeste (since Perry was Ziggy's biological father).

I like how the directing seems to be consistent with the style of the first season. It would have been strange to feel like it was a completely different mood. Andrea Arnold has done a great job of maintaining that feel, as well as fashion a sort of melancholy tone for what's supposed to be an angsty return to the first day of school for the Monterey Five--contrasting that with the necessity for the moms to put on a show of normalcy.

As it stands Sunday night, the second season is at a whopping 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and 82 on Metacritic. Both of those scores are higher than the very well-received first season, but could possibly go down a smidge as more reviews come in.

Two years ago I binge-watched the entire first season in one day on the advice of my friend Scooter. I'm mad I have to wait seven days to see episode two and six more tortuous weeks for the whole story. But it'll be fun taking in the slow burn of all the fun twists and turns that the show and Mary Louise have in store as season unfolds.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

First reviews of "Big Little Lies" cite Streep as standout

We're exactly a week away from the debut of the first episode of season 2 of Big Little Lies. A couple of days ago, reviews started to come in from critics, whom I believe were made privy to the first two episodes. The general consensus is that the second season is very good. More excitingly, Streep is being singled out for Emmy love in most accounts I've read. Not that this is particularly shocking...Meryl is usually best in show. But up alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and and Laura Dern, it's still a tall task to stand out.

There are only five official reviews on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but the season is charting at 80% on RT and whopping 81 on MC. Certainly we'll get more reviews once the show actually airs and everyone gets to see all the episodes. But so far, things look pretty promising for how viewers are going to react to the quality of round two of the series. 

Can't wait 'til next weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Streep attends premiere of season 2 of "Big Little Lies"

Along with the rest of the cast, Meryl walked the red carpet at the premiere of season 2 of Big Little Lies last night in New York City.



Looking lovely as always. I was also happy to find a video of a panel she was part of earlier in the day with costars Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman. The best I could find was the Facebook feed from The Wing's page. Nothing on YouTube I'm able to embed unfortunately, so click on the link below. Some wonderful pearls of wisdom from the ladies of Monterey. Don't worry, it's only sideways for the first couple minutes:



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The men of "Big Little Lies" talk season 2

Jeffrey Nordling, James Tupper and Adam Scott stopped by Good Morning America the other day to discuss the upcoming season of Big Little Lies. Normally I wouldn't post a video like the one below, but they talk about Meryl a bunch, so thought I should share. My favorite little snippet comes at 1:52. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Streep to narrate "Charlotte's Web"

People has announced that Streep will be the first to record a narration of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web since the author did so way back in 1970. I normally don't get too into Meryl's audio work, but this book was my favorite growing up, later followed by a wonderful animated feature starring the voice talents of Debbie Reynolds.

According to the article, Streep will lead a full cast of voices for the audiobook. I didn't see why they're re-recording the novel at this point. Perhaps they thought fifty years was long enough between versions.  The book is set for release by Listening Library this October.