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Months of Meryl: Adaptation 

"This film is in my all time great top 10. I love everything about it. The acting, the plot, the crazyness of life itself." - Sonja

"I'm not wild about the film - but Cooper is super and I'd be inclined to put this in Streep's top 5, maybe top 3, performances. It's so unexpected, and works perfectly. For a few years this was often the performance I first thought of when I thought of her." - Scott C

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Entries in Beauty vs Beast (210)

Monday
Jul162018

Beauty vs Beast: Never Trust A Dame In Sunglasses

Jason Adams from MNPP here on the 111th anniversary of my favorite lower-case dame's birthday - Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn NY on this day in 1908 and a rough-and-tumble 19 years later found herself making movies. Cut to 1944 she was one of the biggest stars there was or ever will be when she got what's probably her most famous role and the one that carved the Femme Fatale Archetype in stone - the unhappy wife with murder on her mind Phyllis Dietrichson, who wrangles the wranglable insurance salesman Walter Neff (a gloriously against-type Fred MacMurray) into doing her dirty work. And Billy Wilder's Noir classic Double Indeminity was born.

PREVIOUSLY Forrest Gump couldn't run fast enough last week to outrun his Jenny Girl - Robin Wright took 65% of your vote on the now controversial Oscar winner. Said Doctor Strange:

"I have hated Forrest Gump since it premiered, so I'm hardly a johnnie-come-lately hater. I find it manipulative, simplistic, and just plain unbelievable from beginning to end. It's got some very good performances that almost save it... but it's mostly a succession of cheap shots. I'm a boomer myself, but I was never blind to its self-aggrandizing convservatism and retrograde sexual politics."

Monday
Jul092018

Beauty vs Beast: The Gump Generation

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" fun-time poll extravaganza - it feels, in the legendary words of Stephanie Tanner, HOW RUDE, to wish Tom Hanks a birthday today with what's come to be seen as his most divisive role, that of the lead character in Robert Zemeckis' 1994 Oscar-magnet Forrest Gump. "We hate that movie now," screams the internet echo chamber.

Except... I kind of don't? I've always been plenty privy to its gross conservative streak - I went to film school in the late 90s, we talked about it a whole bunch, don't worry. I get that it takes a feather-lite tickle to nostalgic Boomer bullshit when a hand grenade might've been more helpful. I was always rooting for Jenny (Robin Wright) and have always found the film's liberal ladling of degradation onto its independently-minded female character, in the words of here and now, hella probelmatic.

And yet despite all that if I stumble upon the film on TV I'll always get sucked in. Zemeckis spins his fable of Straight White Americana with soda-pop commercial zeal, and everybody's so good, iconic really, in their roles. Perhaps we can one day find a middle-ground, watching the movie as an under-amber representation of a vacuum-sealed culture's last gasp; this is the way America saw itself once, lucky and dumb, constantly blundering forward into the next morass without thinking and then making a pretty story out of the good parts.

PREVIOUSLY Speaking of curdled American Dreams last week's I Tonya contest gave Tonya her gold medal at last - Margot Robbie kneecapped statue-hog Allison Janney with 68% of your vote. Said Suzanne, echoing most of your comments since y'all still mad about last year's Oscars:

 

"Laurie Metcalf should have won. (And if anyone were going to beat her, it should have been Lesley Manville.) It's Tonya for me."

Monday
Jul022018

Beauty vs Beast: Gold Medal Mamas

Jason Adams from MNPP here trying to think cold on a 95 degree day in New York City - let's step back in time then to the cool months of this past winter, known around these parts as Awards Season, and onto the ice, for it is Margot Robbie's birthday today and we never did a "Beauty vs Beast" for I Tonya if you can believe it. I'm a little shocked myself that we never had 'em duke it out. So here, in one corner we have Tonya Harding (Robbie), who fits this boxing talk like a glove, and in the other corner her mother LaVona (a statue-snatching parrot-wearing Allison Janney), who... is also perfectly comfortable existing inside this metaphor of the boxing ring. 

PREVIOUSLY Last week's contest also tackled an antagonistic mother-daughter duo with Dolores Clairborne, and it was Dolores herself came up on top with a whopping 80% of your vote. Said W.J.:

"That film is a flat-out masterpiece, no joke. Awe-inspiring, fully realized performances all the way around, stirring cinematography and visual effects that stand the test of time. Glad to see it get some love."

Monday
Jun252018

Beauty vs Beast: Total Eclipse of the Drunk

Jason Adams from MNPP here with this week's dose of "Beauty vs Beast" fun. The great Kathy Bates is turning 70 on Thursday, giving you a couple of days to craft your love letters to her on Twitter - until then let's celebrate one of her great roles, the other Stephen King one, 1995's Dolores Claiborne. The film was underrated when it was released and the film remains underrated today if you ask me, but I think it's got a diehard contingent of fans - it's top-shelf King, mainly due to its two leading ladies, Bates as Dolores and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her estranged daughter Selena. And now I am the jerk who makes you choose...


PREVIOUSLY Last week we climbed on the city bus with Keanu Reeves and Sandy Bullock and then we quickly proceeded to run right the hell over Dennis Hopper - Keanu won the Speed poll with 74% of the vote! Those biceps... I totally get it. Said Tom G:

"Jack ends up with Sandra Bullock. He wins."

Monday
Jun182018

Beauty vs Beast: Pop Quiz, Hot Shots

Happy Monday! Jason from MNPP here with your weekly "Beauty vs Beast" fix - we're celebrating 1994  leading up to the Supporting Actress Smackdown and I figured I'd focus in on another great big hit from the year today (to compliment the Interview With the Vampire poll two weeks back), namely Jan de Bont's Speed. Which still holds up! I caught it on TV a couple of weeks ago and man, it still revs and roars. It's also got a stellar hero and villain pair - Keanu's buzzcut and biceps were The 1994 Fetish Du Jour, and Dennis Hopper is Dennis Hopper, the end.

PREVIOUSLY I really thought that Jeff Goldblum's Finest Hour might put a dent in your acctressexual predilections but no, nope, not gonna happen, Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler still triumped in last week's Jurassic Park poll to the tune of 71% of your vote. Said chasm301:

"This movie is basically perfect and I would never pick against Laura Dern."

Monday
Jun112018

Beauty vs Beast: Love Among the Dino Droppings

Jason from MNPP here - before I saw Call Me By Your Name in theaters 18 times this past winter the movie that held my personal record of "seen the most times seen in the theater" was Jurassic Park, which I saw in the theater 15 times in 1993. Meaning I can place where I was exactly 25 years ago today, since today's the 25th anniversary. I can also place where I was tomorrow 25 years ago, and the day after that 25 years ago, and the day after that 25 years ago... I saw it every single night for a straight week. It was my Star Wars.

Every progressive sequel's dulled the impact a bit more but that first movie, man I can still feel the tingle up my spine the first time the camera panned up that brachiosaurus and John Williams' music swelled and Spielberg cut to the distant dinos bathing themselves in the sparkling sunlight... it was like the four walls of the house my imagination lived inside of were kicked down all at once. Utter movie magic. Every kid that ever smashed their little dino figures together felt it. And yet the human characters kick ass too. With actors like this around...

PREVIOUSLY Last week's Interview with the Vampire race stayed tight and vacillated often but it was Tom Cruise's Lestat who crawled out of the swamp and unto victory over Brad Pitt's Louis at the end. Said Jaragon:

"Lestat is a lot more fun and he gets the last bite."