Feb 01
2012

The movie of the week has not been forgotten, just a bit delayed due to the SAG Awards. This week we cover “The House of the Spirits”, Bille August’s 1993 adaptation of Isabel Allende’s bestselling novel. The film has been a misfire in the USA but quite successful in Europe – yet, it’s not often mentioned in Meryl’s resume. The galleries have been updated with additional stills, promotional pictures and quality screencaptures. The video archive now features better quality versions of the trailers, the making of and three clips from the film. Did you like “The House of the Spirits”? Share your thoughts! P.S. Three clips from “Heartburn” have been added as well, somehow they went missing when it was Movie of the Week ;-)

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Jan 23
2012

With the Academy Award nominations being announced tomorrow, I’ve chosen one of Meryl’s Oscar-winning films to cover this week. 1979’s “Kramer vs. Kramer” won five Academy Awards, including for Best Picture and, of course, Best Supporting Actress for Meryl. The film hasn’t lost its relevancy since 1979 and is very recommended to watch. You can read the production notes and my review after the cut. The image library has been updated with additional promotional stills, on-set pictures, captures from the 2001 documentary “Finding the Truth: The Making of Kramer vs. Kramer” as well as Blu Ray screencaptures from the film. The video archive has been updated with new clips as well. As always, please share your thoughts on the film in the comments.

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Jan 09
2012

This is more like six movies of the week as we’re covering “Angels in America”, the six-part HBO mini-series that won Meryl Streep a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for her outstanding performance(s). As always, you can read production notes and my review after the cut – all the albums in the image library have been updated with production stills, promotional photoshoots and screencaptures from all episodes. Also, you can find the trailer, a featurette and film scenes – covering Meryl’s key roles in “Angels in America”, in the video archive. More information can be found on its career page. What are your thoughts about the mini-series? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Production Notes

For the miniseries version of his Tony Award winning play, playwright Tony Kushner adapted his original text for the screen, and Mike Nichols directed. Executive producer of the series, Cary Brokaw worked for over ten years to bring the 1991 stage production to television, having first read it in 1989, before its first production. In 1993, Al Pacino committed to playing the role of Roy Cohn. In the meantime, a number of directors, including Robert Altman, were part of the project. Altman worked on the project in 1993 and 1994, before budget constraints forced him to move out, as few studios could risk producing two successive 150 minute movies at the cost of $40 million. Subsequently, Kushner tried squeezing the play into a feature film, at which he eventually failed, realizing there was “literally too much plot,” and settling for the TV miniseries format. While Kushner continued adapting the play until the late 1990s, HBO Films stepped in as producer, HBO broadcast the film in six segments that correspond to “Millennium Approaches” and “Perestroika,” the two parts of the original play.

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Jan 02
2012

While picking a Movie of the Week for the holidays, I felt reminded that Meryl never did a Christmas themed film (good for her), so I chose the one that comes closest. In 1984’s “Falling in Love”, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, happily married to others, meet accidentally while Christmas shopping and fall in love. Read the production notes and review below. Quality screencaptures and three video clips from the film have been added to the archives. As always, share your thoughts on the film in the comments.

When this first-time screenplay by Michael Cristofer came along in the early 1980s, actor Robert De Niro had exhausted himself making twenty movies in fifteen years. Most of De Niro’s roles had been extremely demanding both physically and emotionally. By consistently tackling edgy and wildly different parts, he had become known as one of the world’s greatest actors. Falling in Love gave De Niro a chance to take a refreshing detour from his usual mean streets onscreen. This simple story about two married suburbanites, Frank and Molly, who fall in love on the train, allowed De Niro to play a regular guy and explore his more romantic side for a change. De Niro had been looking for another opportunity to work with actress Meryl Streep, with whom he had co-starred in The Deer Hunter (1978). “I was always thinking of something I could do with Meryl,” said De Niro at the time, “a play, a film, anything. We had a reading and began to see possibilities in it.” The desire to work together was mutual, and the role of Molly seemed like the right choice at the right time for Streep. “We wanted something real,” she said, “something awkward and crumpled.” Even though the part of Frank Raftis was without the dark intensity of most of his other roles, De Niro found playing Frank every bit as challenging. “It only appeared to be easier,” he said of his character. “You always have to worry. You always have to concentrate. It’s just more deceptive when you are working on the surface.” For simple scenes that had De Niro holding a telephone conversation with his wife, he showed his attention to detail and authenticity by asking writer Cristofer to pen dialogue for his wife’s end of the conversation, even though you don’t see or hear her in the scenes. He also reportedly had business cards printed up with his character’s name and business on them, which never appear in the movie.

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Dec 19
2011

Monday’s Movie of the Week is “Heartburn”, Mike Nichols’ 1986 dramedy based on Nora Ephron’s best-selling book. Lots of new information have been added to the detail page, after the jump you can read production notes and a review on the film. Also, HD screencaptures from the film have been added to the image library. Enjoy and share your comments and thoughts on “Heartburn”.

In her 1983 best-selling novel “Heartburn”, Nora Ephron wrote semi-autobiographically about her marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped cover the Watergate scandal with Bob Woodward. The novel typifies an era in which movies, books and the other media are transforming private lives into public properties at an astounding rate. Their separation was met with large public interest. Mike Nichols became interested in “Heartburn” when he was directing Meryl Streep in “Silkwood” – a film co-written by Ephron. Both Nichols and Streep had planned to revive “Private Lives” on Broadway in the early 1980’s, but plans foiled after Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor announced their own production of the play. For Meryl, it was also the first time to do a comedy movie – although “Heartburn” can hardly be labeled a comedy, at least not in the traditional sense. According to reports, Kevin Kline was the first choice to portray the Bernstein character, however Kline wasn’t available due to theatre commitments. Mandy Patinkin was then cast as the male lead. Filming started in July 1985, just weeks after Meryl returned from filming “Out Of Africa”.

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Dec 12
2011

This week’s pick is “The Seduction of Joe Tynan”, a 1979 political drama comedy in which Alan Alda, as a rising Senator candidate, falls in love with a woman from his election team, played by Meryl Streep. The image library has been updated with better quality captures from the film and three video clips have been added to the video archive. After the cut, find a review on the film. And as always, share your thoughts and memories :-) Enjoy!

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Dec 05
2011

Today’s Movie of the Week is a guilty pleasure – Death Becomes Her. In this 1992 dark comedy by Robert Zemeckis, Meryl and Goldie Hawn engage in a fight for life and death, literally. The video archive has been updated with better quality trailers, featurette and film scenes. A couple of on-set pictures have been added to the gallery – as well as high definition screencaptures from the film. Below, you will also find a review I wrote on the film.

I may be biased when it comes to “Death Becomes Her”, since it’s the first film I’ve seen with Meryl, and ultimately the one that made me interested in her acting career. For a body of work full of serious drama, “Death Becomes Her” might be a misleading starting point, however. What’s interesting about the film and Meryl’s performance is how she pokes fun at her own image at that time. In the early nineties, Meryl’s career has been weakened by a string of unsuccessful comedies, “She-Devil” and “Defending your Life”, after a decade of career-defining serious roles. So it’s surprising to see her play a failing actress who does everything in her power – and wallet – to stay young and happening. It’s also the second time in only a few years that Meryl has played an actress. But while she battled drug addiction in “Postcards from the Edge”, here she battles herself, and her enemy of years – childhood friend Helen Sharp. Much of the magic of “Death Becomes Her” comes from the great chemistry between Meryl and Goldie Hawn – they chose this project to work together after declining “Thelma and Louise” – and Bruce Willis, who also makes fun of his own image as an action star with his performance as boozed and whiny Ernest – the man both women are fighting for.

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Nov 28
2011

Today, a new feature is introduced to Simply Streep – the Movie of the Week. Every Monday from now on, one film will receive a special spotlight on the main page, as well as updated material throughout the site. As the first movie of the week I’ve chosen a fan-favorite – “The Devil Wears Prada”, the 2006 blockbuster that made Meryl a bankable star – and a Golden Globe winner once again. The film page has all the details on the film and its making, the video archive has been re-organized and now features new quality clips such as film scenes, deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. And the image library has been updated with Blu Ray screencaptures from the film. So enjoy the new additions and tell me your thoughts of the film in the comments :-)