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Showing posts from February, 2018

Michelle Pfeiffer: Hairspray

Revisiting—or in a few cases, watching for the first time—and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.

Velma Von Tussle is not exactly a humble woman. She's well aware of her stone-cold foxiness, and wields this power with impunity. She's also a bigot, a sizeist, an all-around vainglorious vixen, and the wicked antagonist in the 2007 film version of Hairspray. Yet while she's certainly well aware of her looks—she declares, "I'm blonde and beautiful" as a simple statement of fact—she sidesteps accusations of bigotry and snobbishness with thudding tone-deafness—"You can say I'm a bigot, but it just isn't true. Look, I love Sammy Davis, and he's black and a Jew!" She's the worst, really, but you still kind of like hating her.

Much of that appeal comes from a memorably delicious performance from the incomparable Michelle Pfeiffer, herself no stranger to stone-cold foxiness. She's spectacular as the …

Writing Roundup: Pfeiffer, Fox, and a Fly Girl, too

I've had three articles published at different sites recently, focusing on three very different actresses: Michelle Pfeiffer, Megan Fox, and Jennifer Lopez. In fact, this might be the only time the three have ever shared a sentence together.

You could say I love the films of Michelle Pfeiffer. You might even say I'm one of her biggest (p)fans. I've been engaged in a thorough revisiting of every one of her films recently, writing about some here when I have a chance, so you'd think putting together her top ten performances would be easy for me, right? Sort of, but not quite. While my top five Pfeiffer is fairly locked down, the ordering could easily be rearranged. I agonized over work that I left out of the top ten, and if you checked back with me tomorrow I might include one or two of them at the expense of one or two that I did include. That's how strong her filmography is.

She's the best, that's it. And let's not forget, her peak years—roughly, 1987–…

Michelle Pfeiffer: The Witches of Eastwick

Revisiting—or in a few cases, watching for the first time—and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.
I've always seen Sukie Ridgemont as the heart and soul of The Witches of Eastwick (1987). As brought to life by the resplendent Michelle Pfeiffer, Sukie is kind, goodhearted, and compassionate. Her fellow witches offer contrasting personalities, with Alexandra (Cher) the brash, bold leader of the group and Jane (Susan Sarandon) the awkward and timid mouse. But it's Sukie who balances them out, not only tempering their extremes, but injecting the threesome—and the film—with real warmth and light.

Much of this comes down to Pfeiffer's strong performance. Sukie has an awful lot going in her life: she's a mother of six (!) daughters whose husband abandoned her and the girls, yet still somehow (through the magic of film) she manages to hold down a gig as a columnist for the local paper. Imaging a young Pfeiffer in the role—she was not yet…

An Appreciation: Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2

Uma Thurman performance in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2 has always been more than deserving of high praise. She's outstanding, turning in one of the great performances in film of the last two decades. Not only is the role about as physically demanding as any in recent memory, but through all of the stunts she also delivers an emotional powerhouse of a performance.

As The Bride, Thurman crafted one of the most iconic female performances of our time—or any time, really. Throughout both films, she's put through the wringer by the events of director Quentin Tarantino's madhouse mashup of genre action and suspense. No matter, she's never anything short of outstanding. Whether it's wielding a samurai sword with ease, engaging in knockdown, drag-out fisticuffs, or by using only her eyes to reveal The Bride's steely resolve, she is pure cinematic gold.

Thurman recently opened up to The New York Times, going into detail about events she only alluded to on the red carpet l…