Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Episode 9 of "Only Murders in the Building"

We're down to the last two episodes. Meryl wasn't in too much of last night's episode, but we got a lot of "plot." The majority of the scenes focused on the three main characters hashing out some final(?) details on who might reasonably be the killer. They don't believe Loretta actually is, and Dickie has a viable alibi. So it's come down to Donna. It may very well end up being her (with the motive of saving the show from ruin after learning of Ben's bad early reviews), but I have a feeling we may get more twists in the tenth and final episode next week. 

One bit of info I think we can take away from episode 9 is that Meryl will be placed in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for the Emmys. She's officially featured in five of the nine episodes thus far, which is beyond the fifty percent threshold (from what I understand) for being in the "Guest" category. And I can't imagine she won't have a good scene or two in the final episode, which will make it an even six out of ten. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Episode 8 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Well, I think it was worth the three-week wait to see Loretta back on screen in the latest episode of season three of Only Murders in the Building. Spoilers ahead. 

Meryl's character is heavily featured in last night's episode. They waste little time in revealing how Dickie (the murder victim's brother) is actually Loretta's biological son. She had given him up for adoption to pursue a career in theater and she's now found a way to get closer to him by participating in Oliver's musical. A few weeks ago, Oliver had found in Loretta's apartment what he thought was a sort of stalker-like collection of photos of Paul Rudd's dead character, Ben Glenroy. As it turns out, at closer look all the photos include Dickie in the background, and that's why she was collecting them. 

I think it was a pretty funny episode, on top of the even more complicated scenario we now understand Loretta to be in. This really is a great role for any actor. It's certainly not lost on me that if it's a great role for anyone, it's an especially great role for someone of Meryl's generation. While it's against a backdrop of humor and a bit of farce, it's a character that has to be going through a slew of tricky emotions. Loretta has a long-lost son whom she gave up to pursue a (at the time) promising acting career. She's dealt with the disappointments of that career not living up to expectations. Now she's not only won a good role, but she's doubly triumphant because it gets her closer to her biological child. That child is under suspicion for killing his own brother and Loretta has now confessed to the murder of said brother in order to spare her child going to jail (although we don't know for absolute sure if Loretta is actually not the killer). To top it all off, Oliver confesses his love to Loretta near the end! What more is this woman supposed to take on?!

A lot to unpack there, and therefore a lot to negotiate for an actor. Meryl of course is doing a splendid job in showcasing this tapestry of changing emotions, while at the same time getting to act within an acting role and to sing!

I came across an article last week that highlighted just how rare a character like Loretta is for someone of Meryl's age. To summarize, Loretta is not at the end of her career. She's about to embark on a brand new and promising beginning. How many characters in their 70s do we see depicted in that light? Much less women in their 70s? It's given me a better insight and appreciation for just how special this role for her is right now. 

I think that with how many episodes Meryl has been in, she might be more likely to be placed in the Guest Actor category for the Emmys at this point. Regardless of whether she's in that category or in supporting, I think she's making a strong case for herself to not only be nominated, but to win. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

An oral history of "Mamma Mia!"

In honor of the fifteen-year anniversary of its theatrical release, Vogue has posted an oral history of Mamma Mia! It is very long and detailed so I haven't read all of it, but it popped up because of Meryl being quoted in it saying that she'd be up for a part three. The possibility of Mamma Mia! becoming a trilogy has been around for a while. And I seem to remember having read that Meryl told producer Judy Craymer something to the effect that if the script were right, she'd be down: 

I’m up for anything. I’ll have to schedule a knee scoping before we film, but if there’s an idea that excites me, I’m totally there. I told Judy if she could figure out a way to reincarnate Donna, I’m into that. Or it could be like in one of those soap operas where Donna comes back and reveals it was really her twin sister that died. 

As much as I like seeing Meryl in new material, I would not be at all sad if this never came to light. At least if it did, it might be more than a cameo for her, and it would probably make a lot of money. But as Meryl pushes 75, I'm getting a bit more greedy in my interests for her projects. The options will be few for her demographic and I personally would prefer to see her in more typical "Meryl" roles, meaning things or characters that are tricky, complicated, and dramatic. I probably sound like a broken record. Alas, beggars can't be choosers, and anything that opens the door for Meryl getting offered said projects is a good thing. As a quick aside, one thing I found interesting in the attached article was that Meryl was the first choice for the role of Donna from the start. I thought I had read that Nicole Kidman may have been in the running or maybe even offered the role, but Meryl was actually whom Caymer and director Phyllida Lloyd had originally envisioned. And they were apparently happily surprised when she agreed to star!