Actress Meryl Streep turns 70

I STILL haven’t seen Ironweed (1987)

Meryl StreepThere’s a tease for Big Little Lies, the season two opener, that features Meryl Streep. It was so intriguing that I ALMOST wanted to sign up for HBO. Almost.

By my reckoning, I’ve mentioned Meryl Streep over 40 times in this blog. Often, it was in a review of a movie I had seen or note of an award she was nominated for. When I wrote that she received the Kennedy Center Honors, I listed all the films of hers I’d seen through 2009. She is the film performer whose body of work I’ve probably seen the most of, percentage-wise.
Subsequently, I’ve watched:

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2009, though I didn’t see it until 2017
The Iron Lady, 2011, for which she won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Hope Springs, 2012
August: Osage County, 2013, nominated for Best Actress
Into the Woods, 2014, nominated for Best Supporting Actress
The Post, 2017, nominated for Best Actress
Mary Poppins Returns, 2018

I STILL haven’t seen Ironweed (1987), though it was both filmed partly in Albany and the story based in the city. I skipped Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018), though my wife and daughter viewed it and found it OK for what it was trying to achieve.

Somehow, I missed Streep’s Best Actress-nominated role in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). Nor have I seen her Oscar-nominated role in The Deer Hunter (1978), which means I’ve caught 19 of her 21 nominated roles, and all three of her winning performances – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979 – supporting) and Sophie’s Choice (1982 – lead), as well as The Iron Lady.

Here are a couple interviews/”inspirational” pieces about the actress in Good Housekeeping and Parade.

I was at a graduation party this month, and someone was watching The Office, the US television sitcom, in the other room. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) had been viewing The Devil Wears Prada, bit by bit, on Netflix and was annoyingly boorish to his secretary Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). Later, he apologized for his behavior; he didn’t know until the end that “Meryl Streep was the bad guy.”

She can be the villain, but she is almost never bad. Meryl Streep turns 70 on June 22.

U is for Uluru, dingoes and pop culture

The public couldn’t believe how casually the mother described the scenario, so, they assumed she was guilty.

Uluru or Ayers Rock is a national park in a central part of Australia, located in the Northern Territory. What does this have to do with this cartoon, which I saw on Facebook?

The graphic is called Trouble Brewing from The Far Side by Gary Larson. Someone theorized that it was inspired by an episode of the US TV show Seinfeld called The Stranded from season 3 (November 27, 1991), in which Jerry and Elaine are bored at a Long Island party that George invited them to. “Elaine confronts a woman because of her fur coat,” and in a mock Australian accent exclaims “Maybe the dingo ate your baby?”

In fact, Elaine was parodying Meryl Streep in the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark, in which she played a woman who claimed a dingo took her baby. You didn’t need to have seen the movie – though I did – just the trailer, to have heard the iconic dialogue.

Was Larson inspired by the movie clip, the TV show, or both? I don’t know when the cartoon was first published, though it had to be before January 1, 1995, when he retired. The cartoon then shows up in the 2005 desk calendar.

I’m fascinated how the phrase became a pop-culture joke, but more that people are unaware that it was based on a true story.

“August 17, 1980 was like any other hot and sticky Summer night in Australia. Lindy and Michael Chamberlain took their family camping in Uluru… Hours after setting up camp, [they] were having a barbecue with other campers when they heard cries coming from their tent. It was their 2-month old daughter, Azaria. When Lindy approached the tent, she saw a wild animal shaking its head violently and growling. The animal fled, and Lindy was shocked to learn Azaria was missing from the tent…

“Immediately, police were suspicious of Lindy. When the mother appeared on local news, she described her daughter’s apparent death in horrifying detail. Even more concerning, the public couldn’t believe how casually the mother described the scenario… So, they assumed she was guilty…

“It was another person’s disappearance that would lead to the truth behind Azaria’s death… The Chamberlains were released from prison, but the state didn’t confirm their version of events until 32 years later. The couple was rewarded $1.3 million for their wrongful imprisonment…

“It’s not far off from the influence media has had on cases in the U.S. From the Menendez Brothers to OJ Simpson, and even Casey Anthony, we’ve fed off real-life crimes like they were written for us to consume…”

Finally, an interesting take on The Far Side: “Much of what Larson endeavors to satirize is the communal understanding of one another by pitting two individuals against each other psychologically…”

Re: “Trouble Brewing”: “The reader can appreciate each perspective in the panel: the hunger and wily aspect of the dingo, and the benign unawareness of the toddlers. Each perspective lets us ponder what it must be like to be the Other in a given circumstance, especially the numerous strips featuring an anthropomorphic Judeo-Christian god creating the world, and other assorted creatures.”

For ABC Wednesday

MOVIE REVIEW – August: Osage County

I found something oddly compelling about the folks in August:Osage County.

august-osage-countyI was not sure I even wanted to see it. The reviews were decidedly mixed on August: Osage County. Worse, the campaign promoting the film changed from being a scene-chewing drama to a dark comedy, so I was suspicious. But then Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW – August: Osage County”

MOVIE REVIEW: Hope Springs

The movie depends largely on the acting of Streep, Jones, and Carrell.

While The Daughter’s away with the grandparents, apparently making videos with her twin cousins, her parents get to go out to The Spectrum Theatre to see Hope Springs.

I totally agree with the reviewer at IMDB who decried Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Hope Springs”

MOVIE REVIEW: The Iron Lady

I’m still theorizing that Meryl Streep will FINALLY receive another Oscar for this film.

Now I get it. All the reviews that say that Meryl Streep is great as Margaret Thatcher, first female Prime Minister of England, in The Iron Lady, but the film, not so much, are pretty dead on. This movie starts off with a way-too-long bit with the aging Thatcher talking to her dead husband Denis (Jim Broadbent). It flashes back to the young Margaret Roberts (Alexandra Roach), daughter of a grocer with political ambitions, supported in this effort, at least in theory, by young Denis Thatcher (Harry Lloyd). Then back and forth between the elderly Maggie’s recollections and Thatcher (Streep) dealing with policy Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: The Iron Lady”