GOOD: THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS
We begin our new series with Michelle Pfeiffer, one of the quintessential actresses of the 80s and 90s who is thankfully back on our screens. Amongst her many iconic roles, it was arguably THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (1989) that cemented her stardom. In this timelessly old-fashioned showbiz story, Pfeiffer is saucy call girl-turned-lounge singer Suzie Diamond. Everyone will swoon over Jeff Bridges and pity poor brother Beau, but BAKER BOYS floats on Pfeiffer’s insouciant line delivery as the elusive chanteuse. Watching her scrappy sensual musical numbers you feel all the feeeeeeeelings, and wanna start makin’ whoopee.
BAD: WHITE OLEANDER
WHITE OLEANDER has it all: a ridiculous title, the imprimatur of Oprah's Book Club, and a parade of the blondest actresses of the early 2000s. As she exited the 90s and entered a decade that didn’t know what to do with any woman over 40 (except Meryl f****** Streep), Pfeiffer plays a troubled mother(!) to drippy Alison Lohman (remember her?). Michelle does whatever she can with whatever she’s given, but watching her smirk sociopathically in a prison jumpsuit doesn't make the most of her talents. Prepare yourself for an insanely convoluted bildungsroman in which little Alison gets passed from Michelle to Robin Wright to Renee Zellweger, spouting overwritten voiceovers all the way through. We were worried when the movie started that it might end up being good... we were wrong.
CRAZY: GREASE 2
You want to know what crazy is? Crazy is a film where Michelle Pfeiffer is almost outdone by Lorna Luft. When hearing Tab Hunter sing about pollinating stamens starts to makes sense to you, you know you’ve been watching GREASE 2 for too long. Some actresses' careers might have burned to ash on the pyre of this kind of camp (which is even more nonsensical than the first movie) but young Michelle emerged from it like a phoenix and became a star. The same cannot be said of her co-lead Maxwell Caulfield: the blond heart throb failed to initiate a second British invasion, but DAMN, is he nice to look at!!