Friday, February 10, 2012

Best Actress Birthday Party, Week 7

After last week, thank God this one's so easy... especially since real work has forced me to postpone the Suzman, Dern, and Stanley pieces for a few days. Janet famously sympathizes with the plight of the worker, Laura is totally enlightened, and Kim is already dead, so if they don't mind the delay, why should I? Further easing the load is a clerical error I discovered that had Maggie McNamara originally listed in February, though she actually belongs in June. I'm not that excited about Three Coins in the Fountain anyway, so hurrah for that! Meanwhile:

Born February 12–February 18:
Click here for the full list of entries

Feb 13: Stockard Channing (68)
New Review: ???
Stockard's Best Work: Obviously, as the one-in-a-dozen Broadway actress permitted to reprise her stage triumph in Six Degrees of Separation, where she's funny, sharp, deluded, believably frayed, and patently to the borough born.
I've Also Seen: Strutting her way through Grease, making a bigger impression on everyone, seemingly, than she did on me; as Meryl's upper-middle-class best friend who's around for a lot of ups and downs in Heartburn; as an abused wife with an eagle-eye for Adam's apples in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; only half-trying and still more intense than the movie can really accommodate as the suicide in The First Wives Club; as the occasional ally of her husband, the President of the United States, on The West Wing, or maybe I just saw a disproportionate number of episodes where she was peeved at him; working through a complex script that asks and gets a lot from her but hasn't fully articulated itself in The Business of Strangers (my review); one of many Cadillac performers who surely thought Le Divorce would be at least a quarter as good as the amazing novel; and disappointingly glum in Woody Allen's Anything Else, although that movie would make anyone glum.

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Anonymous Laika said...

The stuff I've seen that you haven't consists of 'The Big Bus', 'The Cheap Detective', 'Up Close and Personal' and 'Practical Magic', so... hopefully you'll get better suggestions. Still, Channing + Dianne Wiest + Nicole Kidman + Sandra Bullock in the latter now looks like some kind of Crisis in Infinite Oscars special event, so at least it would tick a few boxes.

11:53 AM, February 10, 2012  
Anonymous Laika said...

P. S. - I can't tell you how much I loved the piece on 'Postman', which is the most persuasive take on Lana Turner and her star persona I've ever read, and certainly the first to kind of get me on her side. No less valuable for stumping for Cora too - why do people think she's the definitive black-hearted femme fatale? Seems like a classic case of allowing generic frameworks get in the way of actually seeing what's staring you in the face.

12:03 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Andrew K. said...

One of her Emmy nominated TV film roles would be best, I think, and her winning turn in The Matthew Shepherd Story (falling into the crutches of most TV films, if I recall correctly but a vivid performance from her, for me). Channing is one of those actors who I felt never got the chance to be as good on the big screen, and her onscreen persona is so...big (for want of a better word) I wonder if that's why the stage loved her more.

Also, The Baby Dance is another TV one, netting her an Emmy nod, with Laura Dern that is, once again very small-scale canvas (and a bit annoyingly pat_ - looking at adoption - but finely acted by both the leading ladies.

As much as I loathe Lifetime, they had some nice actress oriented films in the nineties (my mother was an overzealous fan.)

(PS. Did you too dislike Le Divorce? I like it a whole lot, it's unlike their usual fare but it's weird and messy and whimsical yet me. I always feel badly for it.)

1:29 PM, February 10, 2012  
Anonymous Derek said...

You dodged a fat bullet with Three Coins in the Fountain, I just watched it last month and it's pretty awful.

As for Stockard, I really haven't seen enough of her filmography to have a say but she manages to be the best part of the otherwise bad Where the Heart Is. Just review Grease ;)

2:00 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

I seem to remember her being interesting or at least having a "moment" of note in UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL but the movie is wretched (and is actually my single least favorite Michelle Pfeiffer performance)

2:05 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Joe Reid said...

I'm not going to pretend that "Practical Magic" is great, but I'd be hard-pressed to resist placing Stockard in some kind of ranked context with the rest of those actresses.

Otherwise, I'd echo the recommendations of her Emmy-nominated work, were it Netflixable.

2:20 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Dave said...

I can't even particularly recall Stockard Channing appearing in it, but Bright Young Things is a wonderful film regardless, and I'd just love to read a piece from you on it.

2:37 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Dame James said...

I don't know if you'll be able to find this in time, but my mother introduced me to this pre-Grease TV movie called The Girl Most Likely To... that she loved as a kid. In the film, Stockard plays an ugly ducking who becomes beautiful and exacts revenge on all her high school bullies. It's silly and over the top, and I don't know if I'd rank it with Stockard's best work, but I had a fun time watching it.

4:14 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Laika: Yeah, I think I'm steering clear of most of those post-Oscar "Hey, we finally acknowledge you" parts, though I'm sure I'll see Practical Magic at some point in my life. Meanwhile, I'm so happy you like the Postman piece so much. It's great fun to write about a movie that a lot of people are really invested in, and to do so without having any real idea what the usual critical line is. I'm so happy that fans of the film like the piece; I really loved writing it.

@A:EE: I read Le Divorce right before seeing the film and fell so in love with it that I couldn't not be disappointed in the movie, which has a very different tone: as you say, messy and simple, which might be charming on second pass, but I was not a great audience for it. I might try again some time. As for your Lifetime suggestions, one of them is sitting right next to me and is in the final heat to be my Stockard pick. Great minds, etc.

@Derek: If only Maggie gave more options. I guess when the time comes I could revert to The Cardinal?

@Nathaniel: Your misgivings about Pfeiffer in that movie have struck a chord over the years, and since I thought Sela Ward sort of nailed the same part in a TV movie around the same time, I think Up Close & Personal will go on and on without me. Just like Céline's heart.

@Joe: Ranking the actresses of Practical Magic! That could be a perk. Based on the preview, Nicole Kidman's tiny blue sunglasses are starting her ahead with a healthy handicap.

@Dave: That's one of those movies I've occasionally heard good things about it but for some reason I just feel magnetically opposed to it. Is it the cast? The title? The trailer? I won't see it this time, but I appreciate having your vote of confidence so I can get to it later.

@Dame James: I totally put in a request for this at the library, and if it arrives, it's likely to be my pick. Stockard Channing as a played-light Carrie White, in a script by Joan Rivers?? What?

5:05 PM, February 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Multiple Sarcasms!!! I wanna know your insights on that little seen picture.

8:27 AM, February 11, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wayne Wang's Smoke!!! She won awards in that little gem.

8:54 AM, February 11, 2012  
Anonymous Peggy Sue said...

I loved her duet with Laura Dern in "The Baby Dance". She also had incredibly good chemistry with Beau Bridges in "Married to It", playing this sort of a hippie mom. On a different scale, her story in "Three Needles" was incredibly disturbing.

6:55 AM, February 28, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved her so much in SIX DEGREES that I planned on naming my first child Louisa in homage(assuming that Ouisa was originally a Louisa). Well, I had a boy, and then 2 more boys. Agreed, her character's definitively to the Manhattan born! FYI - just found out about you from a bunch of smart aleck Gallatin kids having lots of fun wasting time on your website.

11:48 AM, March 10, 2012  

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