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Tag: Julie & Julia (1-3 of 3)

Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, cougars, and dames

I had a theory all worked out: The lifestyle of a cougar — you know, an “older” woman (i.e., past 40, or is it 30 and the camera adds 10 years?) who fancies younger men–is a titillating sociological phenomenon made for TV shows, not movies. I mean, I can sort of see the appeal of  Cougar Town on ABC, and I certainly understand the allure of Samantha-the-manhunter on Sex and the City. But I can’t imagine (or maybe don’t want to imagine) Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, or most any other serious, over-40 screen actress buying into the trend as a career freshener. Cougarhood is a TV-size sociological joke, not a feature-length state of sexual appetite.

Like I said, I had the theory all worked out. But then the other day I read Steven Zeitchik’s solid, all-too-familiar bummer of an article in The Hollywood Reporter about the slim pickings this year for Oscar candidates in the Best Actress category. Did you know, as the author cites, that in the past 20 years, “exactly one fiftysomething woman has taken the prize (Helen Mirren, for The Queen)”? I became so bummed that I lost interest in my Theory of Cougars in Pop Culture….

Instead, I’ll just note that Mirren quite possibly may get a nomination again this year, for her bravura performance as Mrs. Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station. (The movie comes out in a few weeks; that’s her above, looking every inch a Tolstoyan.) There’s a great, maturely sexy scene in which Mrs. T lures her old husband (a fine Christopher Plummer) into bed for a satisfying romp. And Meryl Streep, of course, as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, also loves the sexy time with her old husband (adorable Stanley Tucci) and quite probably will score her 16th nomination for the delicious performance.

No cougars, these foxes. Just great dames.

Photo Credit: Stephan Rabold

'Julie & Julia': A food movie for women...or for men too?

Each weekend, the Hollywood box-office tally hands every movie its own official report card: This one passed with flying colors! That one failed! This one squeaked by!

Along with that, there’s the demographic breakdown of who actually went to see what, which is sort of the report-card equivalent of how your teacher would characterize you (“Jason works well, but spends too much time in the back of the class fiddling with his PlayStation”). Almost inevitably, we’re informed that the audience for a sci-fi action blockbuster is dominated by “young males,” that women go to chick flicks (duh!), or that end-of-the-year prestige movies draw audiences made up primarily of people who are not teenagers. A lot of this conventional wisdom is true. But not all of it. There’s something about the way that it’s reported (i.e., with a broad brush, and none too scientifically) that pigeonholes films, reinforcing stereotypes as much as it actually reflects the disparate groups of people who may, in fact, end up going to see the same movie. READ FULL STORY

'Julie and Julia': Owen and Lisa discuss and get hungry

On  this video edition of The Movie Critics, watch as Owen and I chew over a great performance by Meryl Streep as the legendary Julia Child in Nora Ephron’s mouth-watering foodie romance, Julie & Julia. Then tell us: What do you want to eat when you leave the movie theater?

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