Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meryl wins New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress

Well, the first critics award has been revealed and our girl Meryl has snagged the honor from the NYFCC for her role in The Iron Lady. To be honest, I'm not super attuned to what specific critics societies historically look for in performances or films. I've been perusing the awards sites pretty voraciously over the past couple of months, and they have shown a relatively broad consensus on most things, yet some of the choices by the NYFCC were pretty far out. Hence my lack of understanding on what to expect I guess. Interestingly they apparently choose acting awards based on an actor's whole year, not just individual films (?) because both Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain had more than one movie listed behind their names. On the other hand, maybe the circle only includes the films they think contributed to the actor being honored (?) because I think Jessica was in like six films or something this year. Whatev. Back to Meryl.

This is her record-breaking fifth award from the NYFCC, being formerly tied with Sissy Spacek evidently. What's my overall reaction? I'm no doubt pleased that Meryl was honored, and it definitely causes more buzz around her, but again, it's still so fucking early. At the very least we've been offered a viewpoint of her role from a reputable group of films critics, not merely a bunch of smarmy pundits who scathingly predict her performance and the film to be a colossal failure.

I still can't believe I have to last over a month until see this g-d film. I'm sure it'll be well worth the wait. Until then, keep rollin', Mary Louise.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meryl back in the lead among Oscar prediction pundits

Happy black Friday, everyone. Today has been glorious, in that I had the day off and have not left the house. More glorious is the fact that this week Meryl has surged back into the lead among Oscarologists as most likely to win the Academy Award for best actress for The Iron Lady. Gold derby has her in first place at 17/10 odds and movieline moved her from third place last week to first.

There is pa-lenty of time for things to change, however. No doubt this recent surge is all due to The Iron Lady having been screened for many international critics over the last week. Fine with me. It's probably best that they have pushed things out so far, as the buzz has likely already peaked for the other main contenders.

Two comments: First, this is often how it goes for Meryl. She puts forth an amazing performance year after year and people begin to suggest that this is finally the year that Streep receives that elusive third golden guy. Secondly, and don't hate on me fellow Streepers, but if this run continues and by some miracle Meryl actually wins the Oscar, I'm worried that the Academy will completely ignore her over the next several years. Not that she needs to have more recognition necessarily, but I thoroughly enjoy all the talk and hyperbole that goes along with an Oscar run. With all the news surrounding her performance this year and how iconic of a role she's in, a loss would make it that much more enticing in the next go around. I have a feeling I'm not going to have to worry about her winning, however. Only time will tell. For now, I'm enjoying the show.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This evening I happened upon some fun inside Meryl info that I couldn't help but post. My friend Justin and I attended Sunday beer bust at the Minneapolis Eagle and I ran into my friend Fiacre. Yes, that's a name you don't see every day and I use the term "friend" liberally because we're technically more like acquaintances because I haven't seen him in like a year, but whatev. Fiacre is full-blooded Irish and I honestly don't know how Meryl came up, but I mentioned my blog and that Meryl was in a film where she donned an Irish accent. Fiacre basically finished my sentence by saying "Dancing at Lughnasa!" Little did I realize that Fiacre was at one point an Irish dialect coach. WTF?!

I recall when watching Meryl on Inside the Actors Studio that Dancing at Lughnasa was the first time she was ever told there was a problem with her accent. Apparently the dialect coach took issue with the delivery of a certain line and mentioned this to the director who then forwarded the info to Meryl. Ms Streep had evidently never been in this position before and for the first time in her life forgot her lines and stated that she "didn't know why she existed." Anyway, Meryl got over it and delivered a superb performance. This was the one film where I could never quite tell if her accent was indeed accurate. So, I had to ask Fiacre what he thought. He told me that he had seen the movie and (keep in mind he's a friggin' Irish dialect coach) that Meryl's accent was spot-on. It put to rest any doubt I had in Meryl's adeptness at executing any form of speech she attempted. How I could have ever questioned her ability is disheartening, but as I've said before, I really try to be objective. Honestly I was thrilled (such a loser) to hear Fiacre's judgement. As if I really needed further reason to adore her skill. Regardless, Meryl rules.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Meryl pushes for Women's History Museum

With some news that Meryl gave up all or a portion of her salary for The Iron Lady in the cause for a National Women's History Museum, I found this PBS interview where she discusses her upcoming film role and her desire for the museum. I just think this is so classy. Typical Meryl, of course. Despite Thatcher's conservative politics, she was a breakthrough character in world history. Meryl touches on her interest in exploring and telling an honest story of the former prime minister's life in a male-dominated arena. A nice pedestal for promoting the creation of a museum for women's history. Ps- It just started snowing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog vomit

Since the release of the U.K. trailer for The Iron Lady two days ago, there have been no fewer than 575 articles online discussing the film, its promotion and leading lady. If you haven't already seen the clip of Meryl unveiling the movie poster in London earlier this week, you should because it's cute. Meryl (with director Phyllida Lloyd) tries to pull on a rope to reveal the huge billboard. Instead of the paper easily sliding down, the rope breaks and Meryl has to instead yank on it to show an enormous picture of her head as Thatcher.

So, what are people saying? From what I've read (and trust me I've read many articles) the opinions about Streep's performance are strongly favorable. I tend to discount reviews by those with political agenda, friends/family of Thatcher, and overall Meryl haters. Their minds were made up prior to seeing a screening of the full film or just the trailer. Interestingly enough, as a biased streepoholic I can totally understand how, based on the trailer, one might consider the performance to be campy or overacted. That thought crossed my mind as well when seeing certain clips. I wondered if it was going to be more of a caricature than an embodiment of a living person. But I know better. I've been here before with Meryl trailers. It's dangerous to gauge a performance on a 2 1/2 minute advertisement. For one to have a good sense of what Meryl really does with the character, we need to see it develop over the course of the entire film. A phrase here and there will not do it justice.

When I read critics writing that "Meryl has found the woman inside the caricature," and that her performance was "astonishing and all but flawless," I get pretty jazzed. And this is coming from British critics! Not surprisingly the reviews on the film itself are mixed, and some describe it as simply an awards vehicle for Streep. I say it's not Meryl's fault if her acting ability is overall better than a filmmaker's ability to create a great movie. Yes, it would be cool to see Meryl in a very challenging role that happens to be within a fantastic film. At this point in her career, that doesn't always match up. The role has to be there. Why would she choose to do a shitty, unchallenging role in a blockbuster? It's time for screenwriters, production companies and directors to branch out on their options. Until then, Meryl will overwhelmingly be the brightest spot in her films. Yes, that's a dare.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Official trailer for "The Iron Lady" released...finally

Ugh, about damn time. I had sort of anticipated the full trailer would be released at some point this week since Meryl was in London promoting the film. She did some publicity stuff and unveiled a new movie poster that will be splattered all over the U.K. for the next couple of months until its premiere. I liked the trailer and more than anything enjoy what is inevitably going to follow: apeshit buzz about her performance. Let the games really begin.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Someone has actually seen "The Iron Lady"

Meryl attended a screening of The Iron Lady in London this weekend and I found an article from someone who was in attendance. I guess I technically count this as the first real review of the film I have read. It's definitely the most information I can find on the actual plot, character development and thoughts Meryl has on the performance/film. There are some interesting tidbits including Meryl saying that this was the "biggest role she had undertaken in her career." Coming from her, that's kind of a big deal. I enjoy some of her viewpoints on Thatcher herself, admitting that she still doesn't agree with a lot of Maggie's politics, but as a woman, finds her remarkable. Check out the article below. I'm sure this is the first in a tidal wave of opinions that will be coming in the next few weeks for the role and movie. Ba-ring it.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An evening with Sophie

Joe's friend Nate has never seen a Meryl Streep movie. Never. He did not fully know what she looked like or from what country she was. No, Nate is not from another planet. He's a 23 year-old straight dude who'd rather be scoping new hip hop groups than sitting down to watch a 2 1/2 hour holocaust drama from 1982. However, Nate had "an open mind and open soul" and decided to come over last night for a screening of Sophie's Choice.

Joe made a delicious red lentil soup coupled with a quinoa salad for dinner. After filling our bellies we sat down with some wine, white cheese popcorn puffs and raspberry ginger ale (Nate's fav) to expose this young gentleman to the greatness of Meryl.

Nate actually said he enjoyed the movie. I don't know him well enough to tell if he's just being nice, but he said for a drama it was good. He didn't know what "the choice" was prior to seeing the movie, and I think he was a bit surprised at how heavy the tone was at times, but overall I count it as another Meryl success story.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"The Iron Lady" release date changed to Dec 30

Son of a bastard. Several sources are indicating that The Iron Lady release date will now be pushed back from Dec 16 to the 30th. This bugs for a few reasons. One, we simply have to wait longer. Two, it appears that New York and L.A. will be the only two release cities on that date. This is actually a blessing in disguise because I'm having fucking shoulder surgery on the 30th, so I won't have to worry about missing opening night. I guess the wide release is set for Jan 13, but Joe and I of course have orchestra tickets that night, so maybe I'll make Scooter grab lunch and see a matinee of the film on the 14th.

Of course (feel like I use those two words a lot), people are already speculating what this means for the Oscar race. Does the film suck and they're trying to push it back as far as possible to make it a last minute surprise? Do the Weinsteins feel they have a trick up their sleeve in Meryl's performance and want to make buzz super strong in Jan/Feb? I read that Meryl's performance tested better than any Harvey has ever polled. If that's true, it's exciting. When I see someone write that they're "pushing it kind of close" in regard to whether the film will be eligible for the Oscars, it's bogus. There is NO way the Weinstein company will not make it eligible. It's all political posturing for an awards campaign at this point. Now just waiting (...and waiting) for a full trailer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Film review: "Heartburn" (1986)

I was sifting through my Meryl dvd collection and realized that I hadn't watched Heartburn in forever. I now remember why: it sucks. Poor Joe had to suffer through some of it as well, but I didn't feel too bad, as I tend to suffer through playing his board games. Love you, babe! Meryl's performance however doesn't suck and Jack Nicholson is his usual great self, but it was tough not to feel like slapping the two main characters after a certain point. Mike Nichols directs the screenplay written by Nora Ephron, in a sort of semi-autobiographical telling of her own divorce after her husband's affair.

Meryl plays Rachel, a Washington journalist, who meets Mark (Nicholson) at a wedding and they instantly spark up a relationship. Mark is the stereotypical playboy who has never had a long-lasting relationship and evidently has historically treated women like shit. Not so with Rachel...at first. He eventually cheats on her as well, while they an 18 month-old daughter and another on the way. This film is a great example of how Meryl isn't afraid of looking bad onscreen. There are several scenes where she physically looks like crap, but she of course embraces it, as it's fitting to the character. That was sort of a random thought. Anyway, after the affair is discovered, the rest of the film is basically scene after scene of Rachel acting like a neurotic mess, trying to decide if her marriage is salvageable. Ultimately, she decides things are never going to change, and she leaves Mark for good.

I don't want to poo poo the movie too much, as it's smartly written, although a bit weird at times. My favorite part is the fact that Rachel's daughter is played by Meryl's real daughter, Mamie (now herself a notable actress). I recall Meryl saying at her AFI lifetime achievement ceremony that Mamie got a better review in the NY Times than she did. Super cute. I found a clip that shows all the brief scenes with Mamie, and it includes my favorite, when Meryl speed feeds her while delivering lines. Brilliant.