Who Has More Fun than Meryl Streep?

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

I have just watched the trailer for the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins”, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but will at the first opportunity. I love this actress, who is just one year older than I, and has amassed innumerable awards – from Best Actress Oscars and Golden Globes, Cannes and BAFTA, Kennedy Center Honors… Although I haven’t by any stretch seen all her films, I am aware that she is one of the most versatile actresses to grace the silver screen.

 

I try to imagine what it would be like to inhabit characters like Margaret Thatcher, or Rikki the rocker mom. Some of them must be a wrenching experience – according to Karina Longworth, who wrote Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor,  in Sophie’s Choice Streep “filmed the ‘choice’ scene in one take and refused to do it again, finding it extremely painful and emotionally exhausting.”

Longworth “considers [her role in The Bridges of Madison County] to have been the role in which Streep became ‘arguably the first middle-aged actress to be taken seriously by Hollywood as a romantic heroine’ ”.

I haven’t seen nearly as many of Streep’s movies as I like, but once we get our TV hooked up again and locate the video store, I’d like to make that a project. I also wouldn’t mind reading Karina Longworth’s biography of Meryl Streep.

What actor do you enjoy so much that you would watch any and all of his/her productions?

96 thoughts on “Who Has More Fun than Meryl Streep?”

      1. Lots of roles like that. The Sensation of Sight–odd, odd movie he makes arresting.He is is many movies where he just disappears into the role: Sneakers, Lost in Yonkers.

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      2. i cant believe molly dodd has never seen reruns
        ill have to look it up on netflix
        that was 23? years ago? it was an odd show that got canceled on cbs the the falily channel then one more channel… blair brown looked tired by the end of the series
        she didnt work much after that on tv or films
        i liked her too

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        1. What I’ve heard is that the problem was with music rights. Blair Brown as Molly Dodd would often sing with her ex-husband’s band. The songs were old standards. Apparently, for reruns or for dvd issue, the cost and complexity of rights have been prohibitive.

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        2. that should be front snd center aa proof of how a stupid, poorly laid out perimeters need to be allowed to be rewritten until they get it right

          is there a way around it? you gave me access to a few episodes but i have never seen themelsewhere. i think i have them on vhs tapes un boxes but lord knows it the tapes are ok

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  1. If I can name the dead, many of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s character actors. With my hands not going to list them, but for one thing all the old guys in “Ball of Fire.”
    OT: tomorrow morning i start the process of evaluating my left hip. Hoping PT can delay surgery. Going to ask about my hands and wrists, which now feel like they are coming apart. Doubting PT can do much, but will ask.

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      1. PT forbids typing. Will follow rule after this post.
        Hip sound so back is issues.
        Hands OA and tendonitis.
        Lots of referrals being made.

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        1. learn the dictaton route of conversing
          sorry to hear the back is the issue sorry to hear about the fall
          damn
          get well with all these referrals clyde.
          do it

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  2. For some reason I especially like the acting of Geena Davis. I thought she was great in The Accidental Tourist. I’ve seen a few of her other films and I think I would like to all of them.

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  3. Can’t argue with/about Meryl Streep. but my recent favorite is Canadian actor Paul Gross with whom I fell in love with in the TV mini-series “Slings and Arrows.” (a well-done production about a Shakespeare repertory theatre). I have that complete series plus the CBS series
    “Due South” where he plays a Mountie stuck in Chicago. Over and over and over…

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  4. I once heard an interview (Fresh Air?) with John Lithgow (sp?) when he talked about seeing Meryl Streep for the first time audition for a stage production…he called her “Luminous.” And I’ve heard her say being turned down for a part because she wasn’t “pretty enough.”

    I think one of my favorite Meryl Streep part was in Prairie Home Companion….the scene where she and Lily Tomlin seem to /appear to be having such a good time bantering. Later read/heard that Altman often let his actors ad-lib…and if that was what they were doing, it was great fun and clever.

    And then there is Out of Africa…fell in love with the character, if not Meryl. But that is her gift. I saw it the first time at a time when I thought I was going to lose my farm due to divorce, the empathy was too close.

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    1. i sure enjoyed phc and how much fun it looked like they were having but sophies choice and french lieutenants woman is where i found her as a vehicle for portrayal of roles rather than the actress who got the part

      jeff bridges and robin williams and bill murray are people i have thought about as actors whose film histories id enjoy
      no one compares with jimmy stewart and tom hanks but bill murray and robin williams are incredible
      grounhog day and fisher king over and over
      how the west was won harvey mr smith goes to washington you cant take it with you, philedelphia, forest gump
      the ladies baseball manager, castaway and to see jeff bridges blossom from pat roles to character immersion has been fun
      true grit and the alcoholic filk singer recently have been marvelous

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  5. Pardon me, but I can’t let this topic go by without mentioning Alec Guiness. He had more range than any actor who comes to mind, plus he had good taste when choosing roles: The Horses Mouth, Bridge on River Kwai, Lady Killers, Man in the White Suit, Doctor Zhivago, Oliver Twist, Lawrence of Arabia, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Great Expectations, Tunes of Glory, Captain’s Paradise, and those Star Wars things.

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  6. Too many to think of to list them all, but first off the top of my head are Kevin Kline and Matt Damon. Diane Keaton, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford and Streep are up there. After reflection, Jimmy Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman, Brian Dennehy.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  7. I’ve written before that the actor I would most like to BE is Gregory Peck, specifically his turn as Atticus Finch. But Peck lacked the chameleon quality of a Streep or Jack Lemmon. In role after role, he was always Gregory Peck acting like someone else. Clark Gable was much the same. And Gregory Peck. Gable and Peck could both do silliness and drama, but not much else.

    There’s an actor whose range I admire and who can do excellent work, although I think I dislike him personally: Mathew McConaughey. When he comes on in a commercial looking as smug as a cat in a Lincoln, I change channels, but gee he was good in Lone Star, Mud and many other films.

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        1. tim, some people make a distinction between “actors” and “stars.” Actors can act, and presumably that means they can assume the persona of many different kinds of people. Stars are a special, highly limited kind of actor. They usually have one or two personalities that they can project on cue. But for many film stars, that is enough. If they have the ability to be a terrific hero like John Wayne, they don’t need to worry about doing other kinds of roles. If a producer hired Errol Flynn, he knew what he was getting. Flynn couldn’t act at all except he was as good as it got at projecting a certain kind of action hero. In the early decades of Hollywood, it was more than enough to be a star. That sold tickets. As audiences became more sophisticated, more moviegoers wanted to see actors . . . people who could be more complex than the old two-dimensional stars.

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  8. Hi–

    I’m sorry I missed some good topics the last few days. Good stories and answers Baboons.

    I have to agree with Meyrl Streep. And I have always enjoyed John Lithgow and Glenn Close. But I don’t dare leave out Michael Caine or Cary Grant. And my old friend Edward Everett Horton. Buster Keaton.
    Ed Wynn, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, Frances McDormand, Sandra Bullock. others. Peter Sellers.

    Specifically ‘having fun’? Jimmy Fallon; he sure seems to enjoy his job.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey all – just getting online this afternoon! I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Robert Redford fan – I think I’ve seen almost all his movies (actually a project I’m working on).

    I also like Pierce Brosnan a lot. He gets a bad rap due to Remington Steele and some folks don’t like his James Bond (although with all due respect, those people are just plain wrong), but I like him. Evelyn didn’t get a lot of play when it came out, but he does a fabulous job in it.

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  10. tom hanks is todays jimmy stewart
    i love tom hanks reach

    i always smile when i see lawrence fishburn and remember i was introduced to him as cowboy curtis

    i have mentioned before how i saw meryl in her first movie joe tynan with alan alda amd predicted her her comet like rise i alo predicted that for annette o toole so im not bulletproof

    michael j pollard is the most one dimensial charachter i ever saw most notably in bonnie and clyde

    theee was an episode of barney miller where the curley headed detective was behind a door talking with a guy and the guy said hey you sound jist loke gregory peck… and he did

    oh …. spencer tracy

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  11. If the question is which actor has the ability to become totally believable in wildly different roles, I don’t think anyone can beat Meryl Streep. Can’t be done. An actor whose range has impressed me over the years is Helen Mirren. Others: Anthony Quinn, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Hilary Swank. Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Toni Collette.

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  12. I am not making this up: in NORTH MANKATO, not Mankato, is a restaurant called “Garden of Eat’N.” Out back is the Toliet of Puk’N.

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  13. Another OT: I am rereading Will Ferguson’s funny Canadian travel book “Beauty Tips in Moose Jaw.” He visits The Hoito, a true Finnish restaurant in Thunder Bay–been there; fun and good food. He says “One thing about Scandinavian food; no matter how much you eat, a week later you are hungry.”

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    1. Raymond Burr! I will admit I have always been a Raymond Burr fan. My dad and I used to watch the original Perry Mason show; my dad could never handle the bad law, he was always shouting at the tv “you should have objected to that”, “that was NOT immaterial”, “that judge should be removed”.

      He was sneaky about his age – I’m not sure anybody knew exactly how old he really was and he had an amazing drive. He worked right after a couple of surgeries, even though he was obviously in a lot of pain. But what I really liked about him was that his vision of life was that he shouldn’t go out of it sitting on a stockpile of money. He did leave his vineyard and estate to his lifelong partner but over his life, he gave boatloads of his time and money to organizations that he supported.

      And he reminds me of my dad.

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    2. What constitutes a celebrity? Can they be historical figures? Does having a biography written about you make you a celebrity?
      Do you have to admire them?

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      1. I’m just finishing a memoir by writer James Salter. Sort of a biography, I guess. Is he a celebrity? Depends… I admire his writing.
        Before that, I read a book by Edward Ball called “Slaves in the Family” It’s about his identity as a descendant of owners of one the most extensive family holdings of plantations in South Carolina and his investigation into the history of his family and of the slave families that lived and worked for his ancestors and in some cases interbred with them. Sort of a biography you might say.
        In the month previous, I read books called “The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe”, more or less a biography of Julia Ward Howe, “The Yeats Sisters” about W.B. Yeats’ sisters and the Cuala Press they founded, and which printed much of his earliest work and how they supported the family for years before Yeats achieved recognition, “The Element of Lavishness”, 40 years of collected correspondence between author and editor William Maxwell and author Sylvia Townsend Warner and before that, sculptor Ann Truitt’s memoir “Daybook”.
        All of them have biographical or autobiographical elements. None of them are about celebrity in the pop culture sense.

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  14. there are people i never get tired of watching even though they atr not great
    marilyn monroe never gets tiresome
    judy holiday, greta garbo, marlene dietrich, the anita eckberg gina lolabrigita sophia loren era was a treat. for guys gary cooper and jimmy stewart were favorites but henry fonda may have been one of thebest along with jack lemon spencer tracy and fred astair and gene kelly get lumped with pleasure. ahhh i love show biz
    i am in chicago at college visits with musical theater daughter and yeaterday visited roosevelt where the theater program is strong, they had a wall of 8x10s of past plays. id seen 99% with a 3 second flashback recall of one then the next….storytelling in play stage movie format is my love. i could watch movies all day every day and never grow tired. tcm is doing a star a day for august
    i could name the 31 i would do and overlap a bit but i wouldnt match up 100%

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    1. today I went to DePaul where it is not musical theater but theater and while I recognized many the ratio went down to 50% I think they do a lot of alumni plays and some obscure ones that are no crowd pleasers but development tools for actors in need of a particular tweak.
      nice neighborhood Lincoln heights. very nice just north of downtown two train stops before Wrigley field

      new computer gives me upper case. I hate all the do overs in life when technology gets messed up.

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  15. Sunday, October 16
    2 p.m.
    tim’s

    Dear Committee Members
    Julie Schumacher

    Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull
    Barbara Goldsmith

    And for those of you who were at Blevin’s this past weekend, Sunday the 16th has been vetted and OK’d by Renee!

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  16. I want to tell tim that I’ve been trying to join the conversation this week, but I’m seriously having trouble answering the question(s). The problem with the first question – for me, it’s really a fine question, it’s just hard for me – is that I’m not very good at remembering actors’ names. Sure I can remember some of them, but I can’t think of any that I want to see every movie they ever made. Part of the problem is that I just don’t watch that many movies…

    For the second question, I’m going to give it a twist and just tell about one of the most powerful biographies I’ve read. It’s not about a celebrity, but about a civil rights worker in Mississippi during the 50s and early 60s who was murdered in 1963. I read it when I was a teenager and found it very powerful. I re-read it a few years back and still found it very moving. It’s a biography of Medgar Evers, written by his widow: For Us the Living.

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  17. I always intend to read bios by people whose work I love, but have only managed a few – Girls Like Us (re: Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon), and Behind the Scenes – Judy Dench – because it had a lot of photos. And maybe the Pat Conroy Cookbook would count, as it was more text than recipes…

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  18. I’ve read at least three autobiographies that surprised me by how interesting and well written they were. The authors were Johnny Cash, Michael Caine and David Niven. In each case I felt the author had not hired some hack journalist to do the writing but was speaking candidly.

    What surprised me? Johnny Cash: both the awful poverty that produced him, plus all the relapses he suffered (the story isn’t as simple or positive as shown in I Walk the Line).

    Michael Caine: once again I was surprised by the poverty of his early years, plus I came to regard him as a truly nice guy who was extremely grateful for his career.

    With David Niven: I was surprised by his skillful storytelling.

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  19. I can’t say I’ve read very many celebrity bios, or perhaps they were just not very memorable. If I were to select a couple to pick up in the future, maybe Henry Fonda and Peter O’Toole. They both had long, interesting careers.

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  20. I love peter o toole and bought his memoirs from him 25 years ago in st paul on a junket he was on but I need to put my hands on it. he was late and spiffed in the words of elwood p dowd but I will bet that was pretty true to his true form.

    dylans chronicles was interesting because he never talks and while he didn’t cover what I would have asked about it was interesting just the same

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    1. I think a memoir allows the memoirist to be more selective about what they choose to tell. There’s no implied requirement to start at birth or to account for every year and every phase of their life.
      Regarding celebrity autobiographies, or biographies for that matter, it frankly never occurred to me that people actually read those things. I guess I just assumed they were vanity projects.

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      1. Maybe I have to take it all back. Although I have no interest in entertainment celebrities, I have read a number of chef memoirs/autobiographies, like Anthony Bordain’s “Kitchen Confidential”, Ruth Reichl’s books, Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones and Butter”, and Bill Buford’s “Heat”. Some enjoy more celebrity than others.

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  21. I’m not crazy about memoirs by “celebrities”. Many of them that I have read are simply recitations of their accomplishments and name dropping. I’d rather have an outsider’s view in the form of a biography!

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  22. The most intriguing memoir is the book I just finished reading for the second time: Peter Coyote’s book Sleeping Where I Fall. I’ve mentioned before that I knew Peter in our Grinnell years, 1960-1964. He was a fascinating character then and now. I doubt many better books have been written about the San Francisco counter-revolution years. And while vanity is an issue Peter struggles with, this isn’t remotely a “vanity project” Bill.

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    1. If I hurt Peter’s feelings, I’m sorry. When I hear the term “celebrity biography”, I picture the standard hagiography of some pop culture star of the moment. Of course, everyone likely has a slightly different definition of what “of the moment” means, and also who is included in pop culture. I didn’t mean to assert that anyone prominent in the entertainment industry was inconceivable as an author. Those individuals are no less potentially authorial than any individual in any other line of work.
      Persons engaged in the entertainment industry are welcome to tell any story they like. I may be interested in reading it, especially if the story is not limited to the entertainment industry.

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  23. I haven’t read the Cary Elwes book As You Wish, but perhaps that’s an illustration of the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. My understanding is that it’s more a snapshot of a specific time and encompasses the lives of many people whose paths intersected during that time. Not a biography of Elwes from birth to present.

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