Friday, February 22, 2019

15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 2

Academy Awards Special Feature!

   And just when you thought it couldn’t be possible to top “15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 1.” Here's the rest of the best. If you know of any that should be included on the list, comment below or e-mail to:

            DAWN WEINER
played by Heather Matarazzo in “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (1995)
Older brother: Mark/Younger sister: Missy
     E! News says, “No other character better portrays #middlechildproblems quite like Heather Matarazzo's in the '90s classic, Welcome to the Doll House.” Her older brother is smarter and her younger brother is prettier. Mom always takes Missy’s side in disputes with Dawn, and Dad always takes her mother’s side in arguments with Dawn. Nobody is ever on her side! The quintessential Middle Child moment occurs when Dawn won’t tear down her playhouse so her parents can have a 20th Anniversary party in the backyard. Mom has Mark and Missy take it down -- and gives them Dawn’s share of cake!!

voiced by Spencer Fox in “The Incredibles” (2004)
Older sister: Violet/Younger brother: Jack-Jack
     What Middle Child doesn’t want to feel special? So you’d think having a super power would satisfy Dash. But living in a world where “Supers” aren’t accepted, his mom encourages him to hide his powers and be like everyone else. “But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special,” Dash tells his mom. “Everyone’s special, Dash,” she replies. “Which is another way of saying no one is,” Dash mutters. That is one serious case of Super Middle Child Syndrome.

                      IVY WESTON
played by Julianne Nicholson in “August: Osage County” (2013)
Older sister: Barbara/Younger sister: Karen
     Ivy has felt trapped her whole life. She’s single and the only one of her sisters who never left home, so she bears the brunt of caring for her parents. The only person she can relate to is her cousin Charles. And boy, can she relate. She’s been having a secret affair with her cousin and wants to marry him. But Ivy’s Mom has an even bigger secret: Ivy’s father had a long ago affair with Ivy’s Aunt, Charles’ mom. So Charles is really her brother. Oy. On the plus side, it finally gets Ivy to leave home. Some Middle Children can’t catch a break.

         played by Dianne Wiest in “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986)
        Older sister: Hannah/Younger sister: Lee
     Just by looking at the poster, you know which sister is Holly. Yeah, not the one in the middle, but the one off to the side looking detached from the other two. Hannah is a successful actress. Meanwhile, Holly’s acting career is in the dumps, so she’s super jealous of Hannah. Sounds about right. Yet she has formed an unhealthy dependency on her big sis, borrowing money from her and dating Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband. To make matters worse, much of the movie occurs over three successive Thanksgiving dinners. And everyone knows the Middle Child Syndrome Advisory alert is at the highest level possible when there are large family gatherings.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Wiest won Best Supporting Actress for her Middle Child portrayal.)

     So far, the list has been limited to characters who were the only movie Middle Child in the family, but these co-star/co-middlers are certainly worth mentioning.

Oldest sister: Margaret “Meg”/Youngest sister: Amy
     The March sisters sure know how to get around. Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has made it to the big screen five times! Strong willed Jo is the main character, exhibiting many of the same characteristics as Alcott, many say. Beth steps in to keep the peace when the sisters argue. Their Middle Sister bond is so strong, when Beth gets scarlet fever, Jo never leaves her side. Here’s the breakdown of actresses who’ve played the Middle March’s.

KATHERINE HEPBURN as Jo/JEAN PARKER as Beth in “Little Women” (1933)
Winner: Best Adapted Screenplay; Nominated: Best Picture.
JUNE ALLYSON as Jo/MARGARET O’BRIEN as Beth in “Little Women” (1949)
Winner: Best Art Direction; Nominated: Best Cinematography.
     O’Brien was presented with an Academy Juvenile Award (who knew this was even a thing?) for “Outstanding Child Actress of 1944.”  This happened before even filming “Little Women,” but she was a little woman at the time, if that counts for something.
(READ ABOUT how O'Brien's Oscar was stolen and found over 50 years later.)

 WINONA RYDER as Jo/CLAIRE DANES as Beth in “Little Women” (1994)
Nominated: Best Actress (Winona Ryder); Best Costume Design; Best Original Score.
SARAH DAVENPORT as Jo/ALLIE JENNINGS as Beth in “Little Women” (2018)
     This present-day update disappointed at the box office and with critics. wouldn’t even consider it in their ranking of Little Women adaptations.

SAOIRSE RONAN as Jo/ELIZA SCANLEN as Beth in “Little Women” (2019)
     The march of the March’s continues! Scheduled for Christmas 2019 release.

Oldest brother: William/Youngest sister: Ginevra Ginny

     So many Weasley’s, so little time. Let’s start with Ron. He’s Harry’s best friend, and clearly the most widely known Weasley. He’s appeared in all eight film adaptations, logging just over 3½ hours of screen time. Moving on to the lesser Weasley’s, troublemaking twins George and Fred also appear in all eight films. They may be identical, but not when it comes to screen time: George gets just slightly over 20 minutes, while Fred gets slightly under. Percy is the measly Weasley, only speaking in three films with a little over three minutes on screen. And then comes Charlie, the forgotten Weasley. He’s only seen, and his only scene, is in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” when there’s a glimpse of him in a Weasley family photo album. He’s not even credited. Ouch.

FREDO & MICHAEL CORLEONE played by John Cazale & Al Pacino
in “The Godfather” (1973)/“The Godfather: Part II” (1975)
Oldest brother: Sonny/Younger sister: Connie

     While Fredo was the middle Corleone son (see this previous “Profiles in Middledom” post), younger brother Michael was a Mid Kid tooEven though he “never wanted this” for his baby boy, when Don Corleone retires he still chooses Michael to lead the family. That's how little confidence he had in the feeble Fredo.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Pacino received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for “The Godfather,” and a Best Actor nomination for “The Godfather II.”)

     In total, the actors actresses on this list have been nominated by the Academy 26 times for Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress, and have won nine times. Just four of those nominations were for movies on this list however, and of those only one walked away with an Oscar: Dianne Wiest. The rest were runners-up, which somehow seems fitting.

COMING SUNDAY: More “Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made.”

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