Meryl Streep is arguably our greatest living actor, if not in the running for the best American actor in history. And while she’s turned out some amazing performances in some pretty good movies, you’re not likely to be studying Sophie’s Choice, Silkwood, or Heartburn in your film studies classes any time soon. What makes Meryl Streep so lovable though, is that she seems pretty down-to-earth and, more importantly, fun. She makes pretty bold moves, too, when it comes to picking her roles, and like any other performer has picked some clunkers in her time. Bad movies happen to good actors, even Meryl Streep! In honor of birthday tomorrow, we celebrate her brave and resilient nature — even these movies can’t hold her back.
She-Devil Isn’t it ironic that one of Meryl Streep’s worst movies is also Roseanne’s best. This is a cult classic, for sure, but it still not good.
The House of the Spirits Here’s a thought: cast a bunch of white actors in a film about Chilean aristocrats! As we’ll learn later, nothing good happens when you put Meryl Streep in the same movie as Vanessa Redgrave and Glenn Close.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Steven Spielberg’s ode to Stanley Kubrick and Freudian analysis found the soothing voice of Meryl Streep showing up as a manifestation of the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio to conveniently explain what the hell happened in the first two hours of this movie.
The Manchurian Candidate Why did this remake happen again? I guess it was so Meryl Streep could sink her teeth into a villain role once again. I assume her agent told her, “Hey, it worked for Angela Lansbury!”
Prime In her decades-long career, Meryl Streep was never so covered up in scarves, costume jewelry, and sad hair. The indignities she suffered in this film should have awarded her good karma, but, with the exception of The Devil Wears Prada, Streep didn’t have a great period from 2005-2007.
Dark Matter Wondering why you didn’t see this one? This thriller about a Chinese Pd.D. student who (spoiler alert!) murders his professor was slated to be released the same month as the Virginia Tech shootings. Whoops. (Also, it’s pretty bad.)
Evening Classic Oscar-bait formula: take a popular literary novel and stuff its film adaptation full of famous actresses. What do you get? The Hours is not always the result. (Meryl Streep + Vanessa Redgrave + Glenn Close = garbage.)
Lions for Lambs Did you catch this one? Neither did I. Turns out we weren’t missing much.
Mamma Mia! In this travesty of a movie musical, Streep prances around Greece in a bad wig and overalls. Sure, she’s not the worst in this movie (that distinction goes to Pierce Brosnan), and at least she got a fun Grecian vacation out of it. But spare the rest of us.
The Iron Lady Sure, she won an Oscar for this (read: for a very long career of stellar performances and a fine impression of Margaret Thatcher), but the movie itself is a clunker. Watching this feels like seeing someone’s first attempt at directing, with all of the choices being bad ones. (Shocker: the director’s only other film credit? Mamma Mia!)