An Open Letter to Meryl Streep

Dear Meryl,

Where do I begin? I guess I could start with my own congratulations to you on winning your third Oscar for The Iron Lady. With the award, you’re one of the most Oscar-awarded actors in history, joining the ranks of Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn, among others. You already hold the record for most nominations, too. I mean, 17 nominations over your career? That’s stupendous. And you’re still actively taking roles, so you and I both know it’s highly likely that number will grow.

Now, with this in mind, I’d like to make one request: would you start appearing in better films again?

Here’s why I’m making this request: you are an amazing talent. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. You are also typically the best part of any film you’re in. Sometimes, it’s just because you’re…you. But in recent years, it’s because you’re not only the best part, but also one of the few good parts.

Let’s take The Iron Lady as an example. Of course, you were incredible. I’ll also give credit to Jim Broadbent for playing your husband. You two worked quite well together. But the movie itself? Kind of a dud.

And really, that’s been the case more often than not over the past few years. Julie & JuliaIt’s ComplicatedMamma Mia!? All of these films were not simply aided by your role in the cast; they were made watchable by your presence.

Who’s to say where your upcoming film roles will go? One of your upcoming projects, August: Osage County, certainly looks like another Oscar-baity role. With you starring against Julia Roberts, it will certainly be interesting, at the very least. I’m hoping it will be great, because I love your work. And Julia’s, too. Feel free to convey that to her.

But you know what would be a gutsy move? Work with a director or a screenwriter who’s a little more avant-garde. That’s no knock to your more recent directors like Phyllida Lloyd, Nancy Meyers or Nora Ephron, but they’re all a bit on the conventional side. I don’t doubt that you challenge yourself when you take on a role. If you were to take on a role with a director who’d be a little more challenging, though, I think you’d create a truly memorable performance.

I believe that you can play any role you want. Hell, I’d watch you play Batman, if that’s what you wanted to do, and I’m sure Modern Family has made that idea a popular one with your fans. I simply ask that you make your film choices as stellar as your performances.

Sincerely,

A Loyal Fan

_____

Originally published on March 14, 2012 in David Atlanta.

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