So originally, I had planned to put "Devil Wears Prada" in the bracket against "A Prairie Home Companion," but upon some light research and input from well-seasoned Meryl-philes, I decided that the movie looked fucking awful and swapped it for "Dancing At Lughnasa" instead.
SO LET'S BEGIN, SHALL WE?
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Dir: David Frankel: (Sex & the City, Entourage)
Screenplay: Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses, Morning Glory, Annie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)Novel: Lauren Weisberger
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci
Truthfully, this goes into the category of the many films (particularly in the 2000s) that I can only describe as "Merylstiltskin" - a shit movie that Meryl somehow spins into goddamn gold. The film is still garbage, mind you, but it is made tolerable by her consistently incredible performances. I thought it was simply laziness on behalf of the Academy to deign to nominate Meryl for this role (and to an extent I still do), BUT SHE IS ALSO JUST THAT FUCKING GOOD. She really is.
Real quick recap:
- Anne Hathaway is a spunky journalist who isn’t ~ fashionable ~ but she is Smart and A Fast Learner and most of all, she has #spunk
- This job is ~ beneath her ~ because fashion is for IDIOTS
- God, shut up Anne
- Meryl is a #fashionbitch who is impressed by someone who Finally Stands Up To Her
- Emily Blunt is hiding her enormous talent under a terrible auburn wig (?) and the entire 2004 Urban Decay clubbing-themed eyeshadow palette
**Fun fact: I made that last note while watching the movie, then upon re-reading my notes decided to do some fact checking to see if I was actually close to nailing the exact brand and era of Emily's Exhausting Eyeshadow.... TURNS OUT I WAS SPOT FUCKING ON HAHAHAHA
- Anne becomes the assistant to the assistant (aww, same)
- “Can you please spell Gabanna” OMFG FUCKING STOP IT ANNE NO ONE LIVING IN NEW YORK IS THAT STUPID
- Stanley Tucci is the Sassy Gay Guy in the office, once again proving that if you put wildly talented people into otherwise dreadful and one-dimensional roles the movie will even itself out and become "watchable"
Best non-Meryl line in the movie:
Stanley: *hands Anne Hathaway high heels*
Anne: I don’t need these. Meryl Streep hired me, she knows what I look like.
Stanley: Do you?
- Meryl Streep’s fucking smile when Anne Hathaway corrects her on her name is probably 92% of the reason why she got nominated for an Oscar (the other 8% is because the Academy doesn’t watch movies not starring all white people)
- Okay I’m sorry, but NO ONE IN NEW YORK has as bad a fashion sense as Anne Hathaway in this movie. Homeless people would dress better.
- Aww, Anne is BEFUDDLED. You know what? She’s the fucking American female Hugh Grant, that’s what she fucking is.
- I really fucking hate watching obviously smart female characters be so stupid. Maybe just Anne's fault though? #SorryAnne #NotSorry
- OH DAMN THAT CERULEAN BLUE MONOLOGUE THOUGH!!!!
- Meryl has a particular “soft” voice she uses sometimes, and it’s alway more terrifying than her “strong” voice. She used it in “Still of the Night” and a little bit in “French Lieutenant’s Woman” and it’s ALWAYS a power move. At this point, perhaps, it’s a little redundant; but it’s always fucking effective.
- All that being said, it’s a goddamn fucking PLEASURE to see a Powerful Character be “soft-spoken.”
- Oh JESUS the “Anne Hathaway Finally Learns How to Dress Like A Fucking Adult” montage is nauseating.
- You know what? Stanley Tucci is right. Just GIVE A FUCK, ANNE. YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN FASHION. FASHION IS NOT USELESS. IT’S A POWERFUL SOCIAL TOOL.
- “Fashion is not about utility. It’s iconography.”
- Oh cute, Anne’s friends are making fun of her for “drinking the Koolaid” because she’s finally giving a fuck about her life.
- Now she’s being a Naive Goddamn Bitch getting hit on by “hot guys” and “not realizing it” #Anne&HughAreTheSamePerson
- Anne starts *sacrificing* her personal life for work
- The whole “my heterosexual boyfriend is bummed out that I’m focusing on my career and doing well for myself and making me feel like shit about it” trope is GETTING REALLY FUCKING OLD.
- The Straights’ (c) conception of a Hot Heterosexual Man is seriously so fucking nauseating (more on this later)
- UH OHHHHHHH Anne goes to Meryl’s house to drop off some papers n’ shit and she falls for her dumb kids’ trick to “come upstairs” and accidentally overhears Meryl and her Husband fighting and Meryl gives Anne THE MOST AMAZING LOOK.
- Anne starts pissing Meryl off (same) so she gives her an IMPOSSIBLE task - to get the unpublished manuscript of Harry Potter for her bratty twins in the next 4 hours - and SOMEHOW* Anne manages to do it.
- *Somehow means "with the help of Generic Heterosexual Hunk" #ew
- This ONE SINGLE ACT of competence somehow impresses Meryl SO MUCH that she turns into a Sultry Witch Mommy for whom I would gladly die #WitchMommy
- Seriously, this series of looks is largely why she was nominated. THE LAYERS GOING ON HERE ARE SO PROFOUND. THIS IS WHAT AN INNER MONOLOGUE LOOKS LIKE.
- OH SHITTTTTTT Meryl comes into work and throws her shit on EMILY’S desk instead of ANNE’S #savage
- Dumb Hot Generic Straight Guy kisses Anne ON THE CHEEK and she instantly loses her Best Friend and her Boyfriend decides to “take a break”
- EMILY GETS HIT BY A TAXI AND THE HERMES SCARVES GO EVERYWHERE. DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW HOW MUCH HERMES SCARVES COST??????
- Anne goes to Paris with Witch Mommy - I mean Meryl - while her and “le boyfriend” are Ross (on a break)
- Generic Heterosexual (GH for short) wants to hook up with Anne in Paris but she comes back to the hotel and there is MERYL with NO MAKE UP and she’s all SAD AND VULNERABLE. “Another divorce.” IDK, more like ANOTHER HETEROSEXUAL CISGENDER WHITE MAN WHO CANNOT HANDLE THE POWER OF A SUCCESSFUL WOMAN.
Two Best Quotes Of This Movie:
1) “If Miranda were a man, no one would say anything bad about there except how good she is at her job.” THANK YOUUUUU
2) “FIRST OF ALL, WE NEED TO MOVE SNOOP DOGG TO MY TABLE."
Anne hooks up with GH in what is obviously supposed to be a Bad Decision, but they make it look like it was ALL her fault. The text literally goes:
Anne: I can't. I just split up with my boyfriend. My judgement is impaired. I've had too much wine. I'm... out of excuses.
- Anne wakes up and finds out that HG is in on some big ~ conspiracy ~ to REPLACE MIRANDA *pikachu omg face* and Anne Has To Warn Her
- She tries. Miranda is #busy.
- Big fancy banquet dinner. Too late. Stanley Tucci thinks he’s getting a promotion. Instead, Meryl names HER ENEMY, some hot French Lesbian in early 2000’s The L Word power suits and spiky hair. Poor Stanley.
Meryl: ur just like me
Anne: omg no I’m not
Meryl: yes u r
Anne: i would never do to stanley wut u did #notcoolbro
Meryl: but DIDNT U????? #emilyblunt
Anne: *pikachu face*
Anne: NO I DID NOT
Meryl: lol yes u did
Meryl: u remind me of a young me
Meryl: *gets out of car into crowd of paparazzi*
Anne: *gets out of car and runs away*
Anne: *throws phone into french fountain*
*fast forward back in NYC*
*in hipster cafe with Anne’s lame bf*
Anne: U wErE rIgHt AbOut EvErYtHiNg
Bf: Lol yeah I know
- Jesus fucking Christ people, let a woman admit she made mistakes and has learned from them without making it ALL ABOUT VALIDATING THE FRAGILE MALE EGO!!!
- Oh DON’T WORRY, HE GOT A FANCY NEW JOB IN BOSTON AND SHE IS ****ALLOWED**** TO COME WITH HIM
- LUCKY ANNE HATHAWAY
- WHAT A FUCKING EMPOWERING FEMALE FILM
New Job Interviewer: I called Meryl’s magazine and asked for a reference. Meryl said you were HER BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT.
New Job Interviewer: AND IF I DIDN’T HIRE YOU I WAS AN IDIOT.
- WOMEN?????? Re-appropriating toxic masculinity culture’s BAD BEHAVIOR is not a fucking sign of IMPROVEMENT
- Becoming a DICK doesn’t mean you’ve FIGURED OUT FEMINISM
- IT JUST MEANS YOU’VE STOOPED TO THEIR LEVEL
- Figure out a way to be POWERFUL without being A HUGE (non gendered) CUNT ABOUT IT
- JESUS CHRIST
- WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DIFFICULT
- AND GENDERED
- AND MONOGAMOUS
- AND HETEROSEXUAL
- AND WHITE
- It’s been a long week and I might be seeing this movie through capitalist, white-colored glasses and having a hard time.
- I’m sorry
- BUT ALSO NOT SORRY
- BECAUSE CAPITALISM
- AND GENDER INEQUALITY
- AND UGHHHHHHHH
In conclusion, I guess this movie was supposed to be about a real person's experience working at Vogue with Anna Wintour? Anyway the movie was terrible, I used to be neutral about Anne but now I can't stand her fucking face, and Meryl is a Witch Mommy Goddess as SHE ALWAYS IS. Anyway, here's a delightful interview with her and Anna Wintour for a much needed palate cleanser. UGH.
"Look at that décolletage!" A barely relevant but absolutely adorable interview between Meryl Streep & Anna Wintour.
AND NOW FOR DANCING AT LUGHNASA, WHICH I PROMISE WILL BE MUCH SHORTER AND HAVE WAY LESS FEELINGS.
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)
Dir: Pat O’Connor (Sweet November, Fools of Fortune)
Wri: Brian Friel (play), Frank McGuinness (screenplay)
- 5 sisters living in rural Ireland in the 30s doing their best not to all commit suicide because their lives are so goddamn boring and being a woman is bullshit
- Everything is changing "TOO QUICKLY" for Meryl
- Michael Gambon was a priest in Africa for 25 years and has come home, but it seems he sort of forgot about Catholicism (same) and has taken up the pagan African traditions instead... also he's gone sort of crazy? (Racist?)
- This movie is literally just everyone sitting around doing bullshit chores while Meryl bitches to everyone about everything
- The Slow Sister yells at Meryl, tells her that in school everyone used to call her "The Gander" (a boy goose), which I'm guessing is some kind of slur for spinster?
- The Slutty Sister has a kid (Bastard Nephew), who is also kind of narrating the movie
- Slutty Sister's Baby Daddy (Rhys Ifans) comes to visit out of NOWHERE, takes her away on a motorcycle ride *eye roll*
- Baby Daddy is all like "hey so I just came back after being gone for 5 years to tell you that I'm leaving for the war lol bye." Ummm, okay? Thanks for nothing, jerk?
- Meryl goes into town to buy groceries for like 5 cents (lol old timey prices) and runs into a former student who asks her if her and her sisters are going to the "big dance," Meryl is literally the dad from Footloose and is all "wHaT dO yOu MeAn oF cOuRsE nOt DaNcEs aRe fOr WhOrEs" okay whatever Meryl
Funniest line award:
Middle Sister: It's nice that Slutty Sister's Baby Daddy is here.
Meryl: NO IT IS NOT FUCK HIM.
Middle Sister: Jesus Meryl, can't you lighten up?
Meryl: NO I LITERALLY CANNOT.
Middle Sister: You're a relentless bitch, you know that?
*Funny Sister sings along to it*
Meryl: You know, if you knew your prayers half as well as you know those pagan songs!
Meryl: I am a relentless bitch, aren't I?
- The Simple sister sneaks out to go on a boat ride with ~Danny Bradley~ notorious bachelor
Danny: Want to go to the Lughnasa Dance with me? It's a celebration of pagans and sex and drinking and stuff.
Simple: Um... No thanks.
Danny: I want you to go with me.
Danny: Can you swim?
*rocks boat furiously bath and forth*
Danny: OH OKAY YOU SURE YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO THIS PARTY WITH ME
- Michael Gambon sees the fires at Lughnasa and wanders towards them, they remind him of Africa
- He bumps into Rosie there with Danny Bradley, who’s getting VERY RAPEY
- She goes home with Michael Gambon and Meryl is NOT HAPPY
- Baby Daddy fixes the radio and they all dance, EVEN MERYL #FINALLY
- God life must have been so fucking dull back then.
- The yarn store (???) gets run out of business or something because of a new factory, so they all have to come up with something else to do for a living
- Meryl loses her job at the Mean Catholic School Teacher store
- Michael Gambon obviously can't work because he's crazy
- Basically their lives are garbage, and Meryl won't even LET THEM GO TO THE DANCE. They literally just dance in the front yard, ONCE. That's the only dancing that happens. And it's not even AT LUGHNASA. IT'S JUST AT HOME.
- Middle Sister and Simple Sister decide to just up and move to London???
- AND ARE NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN?!?!??!
- "DIED ALONE, AS SHADOWS ON THE STREET"
- WHY SO BLEAK?????
- Baby Daddy still goes to war, survives but never comes back
- Slutty Sister gets a job at the factory and hates it every day of her life
- Meryl and the Funny Sister try to keep their shit together but are INCONSOLABLE because everything has CHANGED
- Bastard Nephew (narrating again for the first time since the beginning of the movie) can’t wait to grow up and get the Fuck Outta Dodge
- THE END????????
I thought these two movies would have nothing in common, but they actually had two major intersections:
1) Meryl is a #Bitch in both of them, and
2) I hated both of them
What can I say, not every Meryl movie is gonna be a #banger. It's not Meryl's fault.
But this is about PERFORMANCE, darling. In "Devil," she was nuanced, she had layers, there were clear moments of internal monologues, and she wasn't just a one-noted evil villain. She was a complex woman who had a LOT going on. "Relentless in Lughnasa," on the other hand, was damn near unwatchable, and it wasn't really her fault. There was NOTHING in the script for her to work with. Every single line out of her mouth was relentlessly bitchy.
So even though Anne Hathaway serves about as much purpose in film history as a Befuddled, Useless Hugh Grant character, this ISN'T ABOUT THE MOVIE, IT'S ABOUT THE MERYL. AND THE OBVIOUS WINNER IS...
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA