#19 DEATH BECOMES HER (1992)

“What did you say…? Who do you think you’re talking to? Who do you think YOU are? You’re NOTHING, Earnest. You are nothing. You’re a tragic boooooooozy flaccid clown. THAT’S IT: flaccid, flaaccid, FLLLLAAAAAAAACCIDD! You’ll take everything I have to give, you always have! You’re not even a man anymore AND I NEED A MAN! A REAL man not some drunken broken-down FLLAACCID undertaker who is just as dead below the waist as his clients are!”

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FRIGGIN DEATH BECOMES HER!

“Did you think I was blind, did you think I was DEAF! I could hear what your snotty little friends were saying about me behind my BACK! YOU THOUGHT I WAS CHEAP!”

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We could quote this film all day… This out of all her comedies so far is her most outrageous, most funny, and whilst not AS camp n’ pink as She-Devil, this character is the most villainous and dark she has played yet.

The Film:

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Madeline Ashton is a failing actress who is not taking the ageing process well… After stealing her rival Helen’s (Goldie Hawn’s) husband (Bruce Willis) away from her she appears to have it all except the one thing she clings onto, youth. A few years later, Helen re-appears, mysteriously beautiful and young and seduces Ernest back. Madeline, desperate, goes to a mysterious woman’s castle with the intention of getting plastic surgery but instead is offered a potion for immortality and eternal youth. This comes as a price however (“NOW A WARNING??!!”) as with death out of the picture the fueding Madeline and Helen, after realising they have both taken the potion, cannot look after their fragile bodies whilst literally tearing each other apart….

“My ass! I can SEE MY ASS!!”

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et all

This is one of those infamous films (and performances) that come up now again that you don’t really believe exists but thank the lord they do. This shouldn’t really work: for one thing the casting is all mismatched, Bruce Willis as a weak bumbling baffoon, Goldie Hawn as the over-weight socio-path and Meryl who although we saw glimers of this character in She-Devil is pretty much playing the villain for the first time.

If you can class the main character as being the villain that is.

So. Is this film perfect? God no. It has it’s many flaws but golly gosh judy it far oversells with it’s gems!

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Meryl and Goldie Hawn in particular are a perfect comedy duo. That shovel scene….

*Pause for trivia* Did you know that Meryl and Goldie were originally in line to play Thelma and Louise, however scheduling meant they couldn’t do it so they chose THIS film instead…!

Critics at the time called this She Devil 2, saying it was pretty much the same character in a different movie. I wouldn’t entirely say that. I would say it’s the same character performed better in a better movie.

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Meryl really doesn’t let ANY comic potential go to waste. Any look, pose, or line reading she can get away with she does. How she gets away with it I’ve no idea. I guess the whole film is OTT you can’t not be. But this comedy is the kind that whilst being ridiculous and big is so detailed I could watch this again and again.

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She has said the process of making a film laden with special effects (which were groundbreaking in it’s day) was tiresome and boring. It’s a type of film, in terms of CGI, that I dont think she did for a vey long time afterwards. Even in the earlier scenes which in the plot terms aren’t so OTT she still has prosthetics on to age her up to 50 odd. All which means when she does take the potion and becomes beautiful she then looks VERY good.

Now unfortunately those effects are dated, when Meryl has her neck broken with her head twisted round, whilst impressive in it’s day, now looks VERY wrong haha and even the iconic head pulling up shot is a bit strange when it pops back down…

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Little matter. The sheer audacity and inventiveness of this film more than makes up for it’s odd-looking moments and I am definitely pulling this one out on a rainy day. I’m gutted the dvd doesn’t have more of the MANY deleted scenes that funnily enough the trailer shows (they test screened it many times before the final cut which WAS cut heavily). A whole sub-plot with Tracey Ullman for instance was completely scrapped and now is lost in the ether.

This has to be one of my favourites, definitely of these “mainstream comedies” that she pulled out in this section of her life.

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The rest of the 90’s however were mostly all very dramery dramas and our Streepy wouldn’t return to comedy until 10 years later.

So savour this comedy fest while you can… for here is another warning… we may be on the approach of another dud….

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