There’s Something About Maggie

Guess who’ll be celebrating tomorrow? Yes, it’s erstwhile faerie princess Meg Ryan who’s the birthday girl, riding the cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius.In the years between When Harry Met Sally… and You’ve Got Mail, Meg proved that she really was Addicted To Love. Her radiant cuteness was the rightful monarch of all it surveyed, although Maggie was not alone. There was another.After delivering one of my favourite ever performances, in 1989 as Susie Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys, Michelle Pfeiffer became the go-to girl of the nineties, the epitome of cinematic beauty and the keeper of my fool heart.Meg and Michelle. Femme Fatale Vs. Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Together they defined a cinematic trope for a full decade; the ultimate status symbols onto which their male co-stars, and the viewer, could project their own fantasies.Weโ€™re in 2017 now. Massive numbers of movies both old and new now coexist in the same ecosystem. Pfeiffer and Ryan need no longer engage in a talent-off. Their films can sit side by side on the same DVD shelf, be streamed by the same service, or even be blogged about by some nostalgic, overly sentimental fan.In all seriousness, Meg Ryan gave much so much cinematic pleasure back in the day. One minute she’d be a pixie-ish, brazen antidote to Michelle; the next, a heap of satin-voiced vulnerability. Every new Meg Ryan movie was an event, a gift from the movie gods, and I owe her a heartfelt thanks for the memories.Just for fun, on the eve of her special day, recast Meg in a Michelle Pfeiffer pfilm and Michelle in a Meg Ryan movie! Any role, any film, any genre.

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30 Comments

Filed under Blogathon, Retrospective

30 responses to “There’s Something About Maggie

  1. They are two of the best actresses. Taking up your challenge about recasting for fun. I’ll recast Michelle in When A Man Loves A Woman. I’ll recast Meg in Frankie and Johnny.

    • Thanks for taking up the challenge Maddy, as often happens we’re on a similar wavelength.
      I’m not one of them, but a lot of people thought Pfeiffer was just a little too glamorous for her role in Frankie and Johnny, so it would have been interesting to see what Meg could have brought to it. Seeing Al Pacino and Meg Ryan together would have been amazing.
      For myself I’d cast Meg in Wolf (or One Fine Day, just for the pleasure of watching her against Clooney) and La Pfeiffer in Sleepless in Seattle.

      • I would have loved to have seen Michelle in Sleepless In Seattle, and also possibly in When Harry Met Sally…. I thought Michelle was anything but glamorous as Frankie, and she gave such a powerful emotional performance. I believed she was a traumatised and scared woman.

  2. It really is quite a shame you don’t see these women very often anymore. They were just terrific actresses in their own ways.
    As for your question: I will recast Meg in Batman Returns, and Michelle in Proof of life. Would actually be interesting to see how they would handle those roles ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Almost none of today’s younger actresses appeal to me in the way Meg and Michelle did, although I do have a soft spot for Mila Kunis. I’ve even watched some films that should probably have gone straight to DVD just for Mila. I do hope she one day does a movie with another of my current favourites, Charlize Theron.
      As for my casting question, Pfeiffer was clearly exuding some kind of genius in Batman Returns. I don’t know how she did it. The beginning of the film is such a great comedic performance in the leagues of Carole Lombard and Katharine Hepburn in Bringing up Baby. Still I think Meg would have rocked the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman, she would have made a great Vicky Vale too!

  3. Well one of my favourite Meg Ryan movies is French Kiss. I would have liked to have seen Michelle have a stab at that. I don’t think we think of Pfeiffer as someone who’s fiancรฉ would leave her but I think she’d have a pretty good go at it. She did the ugly duckling thing to an extent with Catwoman so I’d like to see her in that type of role in that film with that type of co-star. Its interesting that I don’t necessarily think Michelle could have done Courage Under Fire but I don’t know if Meg could have done Dangerous Minds yet in some ways each role has similarities. I would have liked to have seen what Meg did with Grease 2 or The Witches of Eastwick. I think obvious good choices would be to put Meg in Married to the Mob or Frankie and Johnny. But I would have liked to have seen Meg cast in Up Close and Personal. Maybe Prelude to a Kiss might have been interesting with Pfeiffer. You can’t quite shake the feeling that everything turned out all right in the end, that even if some of these films aren’t perfect you can’t imagine anybody else in the role. Maybe that’s the power of being a movie star.

    • Thanks for a stellar comment Lloyd, you’ve given me so much food for thought I almost don’t know where to start.
      I always wish Michelle had done more romantic comedies so Pfeiffer in French Kiss gets an Ebert style thumbs up from me. Prelude to a Kiss is another possibility, Michelle could have sold the “soul swap” in her sleep.
      As for Meg I can imagine her pulling off Married to the Mob or Frankie and Johnny and I’d definitely give her The Witches of Eastwick. I’d have loved for Meg to have had more opportunities to act opposite other actresses, The Women doesn’t count since I haven’t watched it yet. The Age of Innocence also springs to mind because Meg also didn’t get to do period drama nearly enough. Come to think of it I’d have happily swapped her for Winona Ryder in the role of May Welland!

  4. Sorry missed your blogathon Paul – glad you had great fun. And a lovely birthday tribute too.

  5. Wonderful post and tribute to two special ladies, Paul. As a big fan both of the film and of Meg’s performance in Joe vs. the Volcano, I’d love to see Michelle in that part, or should I say, parts. I think she’s one of the only other actresses who could pull it off as well as Meg did. And then let’s see Meg in the difficult role of the sociopathic mother in White Oleander, a part which Pfeiffer absolutely nailed. Again, I think Meg could do it justice as well.

    BTW, you mentioned Fabulous Baker Boys and a friend just hipped me to this site, where they’re running a sale at the moment and the fancy new Baker Boys Blu-ray is only $15!! The site is called Twilight Time. I ordered a copy yesterday, as I don’t have that one in my collection. Used to have the VHS tape, but my VCR days are obviously long gone.

    • As much as I love Meg, Pfeiffer in Joe Versus the Volcano would have been a doozy. I’m torn, maybe they could have shared the three characters between them. Meg as De De, Michelle as Patricia, or Michelle as De De and Meg as Patricia, Tom Hanks could’ve tossed a coin to decide who would play Angelica!

  6. Also, my latest Pfeiffer is up at my blog! Enjoy!

  7. rbtheuncritic

    This is not an easy question. Certain roles I think are “owned” by the two actresses. e.g., Michelle in Baker Boys and F&J; Meg in Volcano and WHMS.
    I do think Meg could have been in her element if cast in OFD – although for the leading man I’d suggest Hugh Jackman as they had a nice easy chemistry in Kate and Leopold. Michelle, now…. she could have done very well in Flesh and Bone, not that I can bring myself to watch it again.

    • I was thinking of Michelle in Flesh and Bone too, as for Meg in OFD, absolutely, maybe Clooney and Jackman could have a Bridget Jones style fight for her affections!

  8. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚ I do not know If I could recast either of them. Nevertheless, I would really love a team-up. Imagine Meg Ryan’s Maggie and Matthew Broderick’s Sam (I think that is his name) from Addicted to Love visiting Los Angeles and accidentally getting involved in a scheme involving stolen jewels and are allied by Jeff Goldblum’s Ed Okin and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Diana from Into the Night. The result is a dynamic ensemble made in heaven ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always and speaking of which, I think Into the Night just came out on the Shout Factory or maybe it is next week ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think it would have been really something to have those four characters together in the same film. Meg, Michelle, Broderick and Goldblum? My imagination is squealing with delight at the prospect!

      P.S. The Shout Factory Blu-ray of Into the Night was released on November 7th. I must chase up my order.

  9. Meg in Up Close and Personal and Michelle in You’ve Got Mail for me.

  10. I’m late, I’m late! ( i have been too unwell and still) But a very happy belated birthday to Meg Ryan. Hmm I will say it would be quite magical to have Michelle voice the animated Anastasia (1997) because I would love to hear her singing voice and in return have Meg Ryan star in Scarface as Elvira Hancock.

    Sincerely Sonea x

    • You’re never late and I do hope you feel better soon.
      Michelle has a good singing voice doesn’t she, evidenced by The Fabulous Baker Boys, she’d have been perfect a fit for Anastasia. As for Meg as Elvira? Why not!

      • Thank you Paul. It’s been a difficult time for me.

        Yes she has a very charming voice and a Pfeiffer musical would be charming. Let’s hope she wouldn’t ‘cut’ Al Pacino in the auditions. (That’s what happened by accident ).

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