Archive | August 2010

what’s missing? #8

**Do you remember the drill?  Tell me who’s missing and from what movie and you’ll be showered with the praises of fellow commentators!**

20 best movie weddings

In honor of the closing of wedding season – and the hectic craziness with my own experiences this summer – I thought I’d share with you all my 20 favorite movie weddings. Now feel free to chime in with the ones I missed in the comments. [POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD??]

20. Notting Hill (1999)
Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant

19. Father of the Bride (1991)
Kimberly Williams and George Newbern

18. Steel Magnolias (1989)
Julia Roberts and Dylan McDermott

17. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Jodi Benson and Christopher Daniel Barnes

16. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Anika Noni Rose and Brunos Campos

15. Love Actually (2003)
Keira Knightley and Chwitel Ejiofor

14. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Nia Vardalos and John Corbett

13. Sense & Sensibility (1995)
Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and Kate Winslet

12. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Emily Browning and Jim Carrey

11. In & Out (1997)
Joan Cusack and Kevin Kline

10. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Rosalind Harris and Leonard Frey

9. Beetle Juice (1988)
Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton

8. Up (2009)
“Ellie” and Ed Asner

7. The Sound of Music (1965)
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer

6. Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Rosemarie Dewitt and Tunde Adebimpe

5. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman/Peter Gallagher

4. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant

3. Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (2004)
Uma Thurman and Chris Nelson

2. Muriel’s Wedding (1995)
Toni Collette and Daniel LaPaine

1. The Godfather (1972)
Talia Shire and Gianni Russo

merylfest: THE SIMPSONS (1994) and KING OF THE HILL (1999)

We’re taking a momentary sidestep from Meryl’s filmography to take a look at her work in FOX animated television series. Surprised? Yeah, Streep isn’t too cool to engage in some semi-lowbrow antics with America’s favorite dysfunctional family or even a band of redneck, slow-talking Texans. First, chronologically speaking, is her stint as hell-raising pastor’s daughter Jessica Lovejoy on The Simpsons. Perhaps the truly amazing quality of this episode of the wonderful series is that you really have to listen closely to notice that Streep is voicing the youngster who has entranced Bart into puppy love. As I always say, it’s her “ch” sound that gives her away. Jessica is great fun and a perfect math for Bart, as she shows the bad-boy where his limits lies. I mean, you know what they say about pastor’s kids… Though the episode ends with the two-faced kiddo being sent off to boarding school, Bart’s first love will always and forever be Meryl Streep.

And then in 1999, Streep was somehow talked into appearing on the latest critical and ratings darling from the FOX animated lineup, King of the Hill. Now, though I’d never actually seen an entire episode of the show until now, I’ve never really understood its appeal. For a Southern comedy with such praise heaped onto it, particularly in its early years, its surprisingly mundane and definitely hard to make through 20-odd minutes of. Streep’s character is the Cajun aunt of one of Hank Hill’s friends. The gang ventures to Louisiana when Hanks whens a contest from, what else, a beer company. Though its delightful to hear Streep rattle off some deep South French, she’s primarily pushed to the side. Her character gets even less screen-time than her three live-in widowed daughter and daughters-in-law (voiced by the Dixie Chicks, no less). So though she definitely brought some much-needed excitement to this intensely dull show, it truly wasn’t enough to engage this viewer.

The Simpsons, Episode 6.7: A-
Meryl’s Performance: A-

King of the Hill, Episode 4.6: D+
Meryl’s Performance: B-

summer tv catch-up…

First of all, apologies on my extreme lack of blogging commitment of late – big life changes in the mix as I did a little temporary move and am now transitioning into some new work. It’s great to at least occasionally check in and see all of your great posting in the meantime, though. So keep up the good work!

Meanwhile, thanks to summer rerun season and my staunch commitment to keeping up with my regular season shows fall, winter, and spring, this summer has allowed me the opportunity to not only keep up with my regular summer newness, but also to discover some gems I hadn’t already gotten around to. And here is my report as the summer closes…

After some initial hesitation due to the subject matter, I eventually got sucked in to the surprisingly deep NBC drama and critical darling Friday Night Lights. Who knew a drama about football in a red state could captivate me so? I’m nearly done with season one now, and I’m already poised to say Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton make one of the best TV married couples I’ve yet seen. Go Panthers! And one that I always intended to watch but missed the opportunities thanks to other Tuesday night commitments was Parenthood. It’s no surprise to me, seeing as though I’m a fan of the 1989 movie it’s loosely based on and that it includes personal faves Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman, that it’s a delightful family – for lack of a better word – dramedy. Consider it a Brothers & Sisters for the slightly younger, hipper set.

But the summer hasn’t brought its shortage of comedy, either. Sure, TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland isn’t exactly high-brow fare, but the ladies are great comediennes, and I can’t pass up the opportunity to see Wendie Malick in such fine form again. The same goes for the Courteney Cox starrer Cougar Town, as I’m closing in on the last few season-one episodes. It’s nothing perfect, to be sure, but it’s a great showcase for the funny lady. In closing, the summer premieres have been enticing as well – I caught an advance screening of The Big C and Weeds‘ premieres last week, and they look promising. Throw a little guilty pleasures on the heap (namely True Blood and a particularly saucy season of Big Brother), and all in all summer TV-watching hasn’t been without its merits.

Tell me – what on earth has your tube been subjected to this summer?

awards do-over: 1998, part 2

The revisions continue as I take a look back at my choices in the year of 1998. First it was Picture, Actor, and Actress that go the “if only” treatment, but this time let’s look at the supporting catgories…

Best Supporting Actor
The Original Lineup
Ben Affleck (Armageddon), Anthony Hopkins (Meet Joe Black) [**WINNER**]
Simon Kunz (The Parent Trap), Eddie Murphy (Mulan), Oliver Platt (Simon Birch)

The New Top 5
Giorgio Cantarini (Life is Beautiful), Vinicius de Oliveira (Central Station)
Anthony Hopkins (Meet Joe Black), William H. Macy (Pleasantville) [**WINNER**]
Geoffrey Rush (Shakespeare in Love)

The Runners-Up
Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth), Anthony Hopkins (The Mask of Zorro)
Ed Harris (The Truman Show)

Best Supporting Actress
The Original Lineup
Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black), Gena Rowlands (Paulie)
Lisa Ann Walter (The Parent Trap) [**WINNER**]
Mae Whitman (Hope Floats), Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro)

The New Top 5
Joan Allen (Pleasantville), Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie)
Lisa Kudrow (The Opposite of Sex) [**WINNER**]
Laura Linney (The Truman Show), Gena Rowlands (Hope Floats)

The Runners-Up
Anjelica Huston (Ever After), Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters)
Mae Whitman (Hope Floats), Lisa Ann Walter (The Parent Trap)
Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), Parker Posey (You’ve Got Mail)

link rundown: AUGUST 5, 2010

**Andrew at Encore Entertainment brings us ever closer to the conclusion of his fascinating list of the best voice performances in movies
**Simon at Four of Them prefers her memes quick and painless – check out her list of answers to the latest movie meme on the block
**Nathaniel at The Film Experience has watched the spanking new trailer for Burlesque and has some choice words in his latest Yes, No, Maybe So
**Red at Anomalous Material takes on the latest Oscar buzzy movie The Kids Are All Right, and doesn’t quite fall for its charms
**Jude at And All That Film has a creepy time taking on Ingmar Bergman’s classic Cries & Whispers
**Jose at Movies Kick Ass doesn’t buy into the universal love for Despicable Me, though those minions do try their damnedest
**Robert at His Eyes Were Watching Movies is chomping at the bit for the latest music-performance-based movie The Concert and its Melanie-Laurent-ridden trailer
**Marshall at Marshall and the Movies is pleading with you to read his charming Marshall & Julie series – and we should be awfully inclined to give it a shot

best films: #23: BEING JULIA (2004)

It should come as no surprise to any reader of this blog that the delightfully catty theater comedy starring the effervescent and impeccable Annette Bening, Being Julia, has managed a Top 25 spot on my big 100 list of the best movies of all time. It’s devilishly witty, brilliantly scored to prestige goodness by Mychael Danna, and it’s jam-packed with supporting performances that truly showcase the talents of British character actors. The story – Julia Lambert, a British stage actress of a “certain age,” finds herself past her acting prime when her critical accolades begin to dwindle. But when an affair with a younger American man is just the youthful shot in the arm Julia needs to regain her stage confidence, her producer husband (played with typically droll flair by Jeremy Irons) drops the bomb that she’ll soon be sharing the stage with a younger, up-and-coming ingenue (played by the bizarrely captivating Lucy Punch). Vindictive and underhanded scheming ensues, and to genius effect. Ronald Harwood’s sumptuous script plays like a 21st Century All About Eve, to an arguably even more successful end. Bening is perfection as Lambert, in her easily best role – let’s not even talk about the fact that she lost the Oscar that year. With the extra touches in the form of Miriam Margolyes, Juliet Stevenson, and Michael Gambon as various Lambert sidekicks, the movie is a well-rounded period comedy with more pizzazz than you may suspect. It’s not all high-brow whimsy and stuffiness – Being Julia is full of gleeful revenge – a dish that hasn’t been served as coldly since the previous year’s Kill Bill (and something tells me even The Bride would be nervous around Ms. Lambert). Believe me – if for some reason you avoided seeing it (which is entirely possible considering its far-too-limited release in 2004) you absolutely need to see it. Don’t let the premise make you nervous – this movie will be impeccable to anyone who has a highly functioning funny bone.