Actors’ Spotlight #54: Meg Ryan

So, yeah, you probably noticed that this week’s Actors’ Spotlight was suppose to focus on Tom Cruise…well….turns out I already did an Actors’ Spotlight on Tom Cruise last year. Yeah, that’s how you know you’ve been doing something for too long when you forget about what you’ve already written about in the past. Well, with that, let’s move on to the next star I had on my list, Meg Ryan:

Meg Ryan 2009 portrait.jpg

Meg Ryan (born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra; November 19, 1961) is an American actress, director, and producer. Ryan began her acting career in 1981 in minor roles, before joining the cast of the CBS soap opera As the World Turns in 1982. Subsequently, she began to appear in supporting roles films during the mid-1980s, achieving recognition in independent movies such as Promised Land (1988) before her performance in the Rob Reiner-directed romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally… (1989) brought her widespread attention and her first Golden Globe nomination.

Ryan subsequently established herself, both nationally and internationally, as one of the most successful actresses in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly in romantic comedy films such as Sleepless in Seattle (1993), French Kiss (1995), You’ve Got Mail (1998), and Kate & Leopold (2001). Her other films include The Doors (1991), When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), Courage Under Fire (1996), Addicted to Love (1997), City of Angels (1998), Proof of Life (2000), and The Women (2008). In 2015, she made her directorial debut with Ithaca, a film in which she also acted.

There was a point during the early 90s when Meg Ryan was considered one of the biggest actresses in Hollywood and then, in the later half of the 90s and especially in the 2000s, her star power began to fade and today, you never really see her do much, maybe one or two limited releases but she hasn’t starred in a widely seen release since The Women back in 2008.

So, when did the world see Meg Ryan at her very best works? Let’s take a look at the 5 best Meg Ryan movies:

5. Joe Versus The Volcano

The film has a lot about it that works, Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan work really well off each other and the film does a good job blending the over the top antics of the premise with these lighter heartfelt moments as well. The story can be a little disjointed sometimes and some of the scenes are very outdated too but on the whole, Joe Versus The Volcano is a solidly funny and enjoyable little comedy and you can see why it’s had such a cult following to it over the years.

4. Innerspace

Innerspace, I think, didn’t succeed as well as it should’ve because it was a little ahead of its’ time, like if they had until the early 90s to release a film like this, it would’ve been more successful but this is a movie that definitely deserves to have a lot more attention to it that it has because it’s a lot better than I think people give it credit for. If you can find this on DVD or Blu-Ray, I’d highly recommend checking this one out.

3. You’ve Got Mail

The third of three pairings with Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail is a light and enjoyably romantic comedy with a lot of great comedy and the chemistry working with the two main leads.

2. Sleepless In Seattle

The most known pairing of Hanks & Ryan, a nicely told romantic comedy with great bits of comedy and romance.

and the #1 best Meg Ryan movie is…

When Harry Met Sally

The film does a great job of asking the question on whether or not men and women can just be friends and while it may look like that it’s an impossible thing, the movie does a good job of going through each thing that go wrong with that question and provide a realistic and probable thinking behind a scenario like it and uses it on our main characters.

When Harry Met Sally… is one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made because of the great chemistry both Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan share on screen and how they evolve as characters over the course of the film. It’s a brilliantly written, nicely handled romantic comedy.

Those are her at her best, now her at her worst:

5. Proof Of Life

A generic and cliché riddled thriller more known for its’ behind the scenes scandals than the actual film itself, this was the movie where Ryan and co-star Russell Crowe were in a romantic affair while Ryan was married to Dennis Quaid, not to mention the death of a stand-in dampens any hope this film had.

4. In The Cut

A movie, once again, known more for its’ behind the scenes stories than the actual movie. The biggest thing the movie was being sold on was the first nude scene with Ryan, who was 42 at the time, and a movie should not be sold on seeing somebody naked because in 2003, people had the internet and could see that for free.

3. Kate & Leopold

A movie with an interesting premise to it, Hugh Jackman playing a time traveling prince who falls for a modern day woman, there’s a lot of potential here but the movie never really delivers on that premise and just goes for the generic romantic comedy clichés that can hurt a movie.

2. In The Land Of Women

A movie that was trying to be empowering to women by having Ryan part of an all-star cast that included Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Jobeth Williams, Olympia Dukakis, but it didn’t work because none of the characters were developed at all and you could never get invested in their stories because the script and the characters were not developed enough.

and the #1 worst Meg Ryan movie is…

The Women

Another ensemble piece with a lot of really good actresses being wasted on a shockingly disappointing script, especially since this was written and directed by Diane English, the creator of Murphy Brown and featured Ryan alongside Annette Benning, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, and Eva Mendes.

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