Meryl Streep: "Name One Masterpiece Of Cinema That I've Starred In"

by thelostboy
August 28, 2009 3:32 AM
9 Comments
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The Onion has posted this hilarious op-ed "written by Meryl Streep herself." Whether the world's least possible person to dislike wrote it or not, it is more than worth a read:

My friends and I were sitting around yesterday having a casual conversation about how the one thing all great actors have in common is that they have all starred in at least one classic piece of cinema. For my good friend Al Pacino it's obviously The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon. For Robert De Niro there's Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. And for Diane Keaton, a no-brainer: Annie Hall.

The one actor who truly stumped us, however, was me. Now, I know I'm a good actress. I'm Meryl Streep. I've won two Academy Awards, and I have been nominated for 15. That's a record. But what my friends and I figured out is that the name Meryl Streep isn't really synonymous with one truly unforgettable film. It's weird to think about, but it's undeniably true.

Go ahead, try and name a classic movie I've starred in. Not a classic character I've portrayed, mind you, but an overall amazing piece of cinema. You can't. You just can't.

Right off the bat, you're probably thinking Kramer Vs. Kramer. That's what my friends and I immediately jumped to also! But let's be honest, Kramer Vs. Kramer isn't really a masterpiece in the same way that, say, The French Connection or On The Waterfront is a masterpiece. It's not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination; it's actually pretty good. I'd watch it if it were on. But if anything, it's more Dustin Hoffman's movie than Meryl Streep's movie. And when you think Dustin Hoffman, Kramer Vs. Kramer is a distant fourth behind The Graduate, Tootsie, and Midnight Cowboy.

Look, I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here. I'm just calling it like it is.

Of course, next Sophie's Choice comes up. Sure. Absolutely. That makes complete sense. But have you actually watched Sophie's Choice lately? Boy, talk about a movie that has not aged well. My performance is very good. No question. Oscar-worthy even. But if it weren't me delivering those long monologues, people would see Sophie's Choice for what it really is: a fairly routine melodrama, with a Holocaust backstory thrown in to make the love triangle seem less banal.

I looked at AFI's top 100 movies list and Sophie's Choice was No. 91, behind Forrest Gump and The Sixth Sense. And truthfully, all I could say was, "That's about right."

So now is when you have to start really digging into my filmography because you're starting to think, "Can it be true that one of this generation's greatest actresses, maybe even the greatest—a national treasure, you might say—has never been in a film as good as Network, which isn't even Faye Dunaway's best movie?"

The Deer Hunter. Yes! Actually, no. A couple things bother me about The Deer Hunter. One, it's overrated. Yes, I said it. And two, how long was I in the The Deer Hunter? Three, maybe four minutes? Truthfully, I don't really remember being in the The Deer Hunter at all. (Same goes for Manhattan.) Then there's Out Of Africa, which, come on. We all know that movie was kind of the worst. That and The Bridges Of Madison County...don't even get me started on The Bridges Of Madison County.

Marvin's Room? We're scraping now, aren't we? Doubt. Yeah, 20 years from now people are definitely going to be talking about the film adaptation of Doubt. The River Wild. Look, I like The River Wild. Solid thriller. Good cast. Not a classic.

Oh, and for those of you who want to say The Devil Wears Prada? Please. I don't need your charity.

The annoying thing about all of this is that I've worked with directors who have produced some of the finest films in American cinema. I'm just not in any of them. I do a movie with Robert Altman, but it's A Prairie Home Companion. Mike Nichols calls me up, not for Carnal Knowledge, but Heartburn. Does anyone in the world other than Mike Nichols own the DVD of Heartburn?

So here we are. I'm 60 years old without a One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or Bonnie And Clyde to my name. Meryl Streep: "Great actress, okay movies."

And by the way, The Manchurian Candidate is not a classic. Well, at least not the one I was in.

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9 Comments

  • mark | September 1, 2009 10:10 AMReply

    adaption was absolutely brilliant. particularly considering what hollywood usually offers up.
    and angels in america... beautiful, visceral, heart wrenching, intelligent, flawlessly adapted for the screen, and she herself was a revelation.
    the lady is too humble.

  • Jamie Ross | August 30, 2009 7:00 AMReply

    What about Silkwood?

  • well | August 28, 2009 11:14 AMReply

    well... I like "adaptation", whether it`s classic or not. And it`s "death bocomes her" and several more left...Mamma mia, now the Julia thing.
    she should overthink it anyway.She`s the thing that makes so-so films to blockbusters, classic or not

  • Gary | August 28, 2009 6:02 AMReply

    Meryl,

    You underestimate the greatness of The Bridges of Madison County and Out of Africa. Those are two of the best love stories ever told. I think you also missed the boat on Sophie's Choice. It's not really a classic in the same sense as other classics, but everyone remembers it because of the choice Sophie had to make and for your acting.

    The Hours is another movie that will stand the test of time. I know everyone flipped over Kidman but it was only because of her makeup and they were dying to give her an oscar. You didn't wear makeup or have a one-note character like the other actresses in that movie. It is really your movie and what a powerful movie it is. You should not deny the power of that movie.

    P.S. You are better than Hoffman, Pacino, DeNiro. Those guys tend to play the same parts over and over again. You have gotten criticized for doing too many accents, well those guys can't even do an accent. You rock! And everyone knows it.

  • Hannah | August 28, 2009 3:17 AMReply

    What is this about?lol
    Soz I cant understand it.
    oh and I am Meryl Streep's BIGGEST FAN EVER!! I LOVE HER TO BITS. LOL

  • Jeffrey | August 28, 2009 1:54 AMReply

    ANGELS IN AMERICA.

    There. Done. Yeah, it's a mini-series, but it was one of the best movies of the year, and a lot of people did their best work in ages in it (including Pacino).

  • Roxanne | August 28, 2009 1:08 AMReply

    The article is funny. I am sure glad Meryl does not critique her own movies. Sophie's Choice and Out of Africa are classics.

    The River Wild, my favorite and love Brigdes Of Madison County, The hours and i could go on and on.

    In fact the only movie with Meryl that I didn't like was one with Rob Shieder in it. (he looked like a sick old man trying to get a beautiful young woman and I really wished that she had turned out to be the killer, and Dark Matter. I didn't like that her character was so shallow she was not aware of what the professor was doing.
    When Meryl is in the movie, that's what makes it great. She is much too humble for her own good.

  • thelostboy | August 27, 2009 9:43 AMReply

    Im sure she didn't write it. I was just being playful.

  • zxcvb | August 27, 2009 8:51 AMReply

    Funny stuff as usual from the Onion. But where did you hear that she wrote it? She's got a good sense of humor, but it doesn't sound like the kinda thing she would do.

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