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The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

Not a bad film on the list.

There’s of course a whole lot of folks that work on a film set and contribute their gifts and talents in order to create what we all see onscreen, and the person who heads it up is the director. It’s really tough for me to pick one specific person to name as my “favorite director” because I like so many different genres. While it’s hard to pick a definitive favorite, one that MUST be on that top tier list is the great Nancy Meyers.

What’s so wonderful about the films she creates is that they’re very feel good and comforting. But to be clear, this is not some terrible schlocky Hallmark type feel good. The storytelling is almost always exceptional and the actors that have appeared in her films are some of the best Hollywood has to offer.

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1. Something’s Gotta Give

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

Somethings Gotta Give is both my number one favorite Nancy Meyers film and one of my favorite films of all time. There are several main reasons as to why this is such an exceptional film but the main selling point here is this phenomenally rich script. The story that’s presented here is one that could have been really sappy and forced, as some poorly constructed romantic comedies are.

Instead, what we have is an endearing story that both moves us and makes us laugh. The dialogue written for these two leads is very real and charming at the same time, which makes their love story investing. And of course, the two Oscar winners that star do such a wonderful job realizing these interesting characters.

This is hands down one of Diane Keaton’s very best performances, which is why she was nominated for it. And Jack Nicholson, as expected, turns in a captivating performance. If you haven’t had the privilege of seeing this, you absolutely must check it out!

2. It’s Complicated

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

My pick for the second best film by Nancy Meyers is one that may surprise some folks because it’s not very high up on the list of her most famous. Similar to Somethings Gotta Give, the script is largely to thank for this 2009 romantic comedy being so engrossing. The storyline manages to pull off an impressive high-wire act of being both edgy and very sweet.

The edgier/more raunchy material is done in an organic way to where it doesn’t seem like they’re just trying to shock you. On the flip side, the sweeter more romantic material is handled with such care and maybe this sounds hokey, but it brought a smile to my face. The script takes the time to allow us to get to know these people, which is of course a big reason why we as the audience become invested.

Also, this immaculate cast deserves praise as well for turning in knockout performances! Meryl Streep, or as I call her: God, does a beautiful job playing the lead. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin both also do a lovely job. All three of these acting veterans know what it takes and what can I say? They make magic!

3. The Parent Trap

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

Coming in at number three is the 1998 remake of a classic, The Parent Trap. This is the only family film Meyers has directed and it’s one of the most well constructed family films ever made if you ask me. I love family friendly films that both the kids and adults can enjoy.

(I don’t care too much for films that feel they need to be dumbed down to a point of ridiculousness just to try to appease children. If you smart writing and a cast that knows what they’re doing then there’s no reason adult audiences can’t also enjoy a film aimed at younger audiences.)

This remake has all the necessary ingredients for success. The script is intelligent and tells an engrossing/entertaining story, the cast all give skilled performances that make you care, and the direction by Meyers is immaculate. Lindsey Lohan gives a great performance, especially for her age and Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid both bring their A game.

The performance by Richardson is especially good because of the range. She displays both wacky comedy and delicate emotion, which makes for a varied satisfying performance. And the supporting performances by Elaine Hendrix and Lisa Ann Walter are both very memorable, much more so than most supporting characters. To top it all off, the direction style by Meyers and visuals are striking. This is no doubt one of the best picks for a family movie night or just any movie night really.

4. The Holiday

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

My fourth favorite film directed by Nancy Meyers is one that I love to watch every Christmas. The Holiday could have been exceedingly cheesy, sort of like a PG-13 Hallmark Channel movie. Thankfully, due to a dazzling script and a lovely cast, it’s really a delight. Yes you know how this story is going to wrap up, but Nancy Meyers makes the journey to that predictable ending so enjoyable that you don’t mind.

The script allots enough time to both of these women who end up having their lives changed for the better because of a house swap. The characters are very likeable and the romances they share are heartwarming. The chemistry between these actors is also really striking.

This is actually one of my very favorite performances by Cameron Diaz, who turns in a varied performance that is oh so satisfying. Kate Winslet, as always, is striking here as a depressed woman trying to rid herself of a toxic unrequited love for a colleague. The male love interests in the film, played by Jude Law and Jack Black, are both very charming.

And Meyers does not disappoint in any way when it comes to the visuals and interior design. One thing I love about her films is that everything is just so beautiful and cozy. Nearly every single film she makes gives me real estate envy!

5. What Women Want

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

Four down and two to go. These last two films are not necessarily bad films, but they’re not nearly as enjoyable as the previous four films in my opinion. What Women Want is my second least favorite of the films Meyers has directed. There are definitely bright spots here and the two lead performances are nice.

Helen Hunt is always on point and she makes her character very likable. Mel Gibson does a nice job as well and they have decent romantic chemistry. The script for this film is inferior to the other films by Meyers and is far less engrossing. The storytelling is just weaker and far more average.

Another disappointment is that Meyers’s trademark flare for interior design is missing here. This film is a lot less beautiful to look at than her other projects. This 1995 romantic comedy isn’t something I’ve ever thought was “bad” or “poorly made” but I have always considered it one of the weakest entries in Nancy Meyers repertoire.

6. The Intern

The films of Nancy Meyers ranked from best to worst

Okay, so I actually don’t think Nancy Meyers has ever directed a “bad film”. I don’t think The Intern is bad, it’s just that it’s a let down compared to her previous work. The best word to describe this film is “cute”. This is a moderately satisfying feel good film and the vast majority of its appeal comes from the fine performance by acting legend Robert De Niro.

De Niro turns in an irresistible performance as the film’s lead. We’ve seen this man star as the tough guy in numerous memorable films and he’s very good at that but this film shows just how good he is at doing the opposite. You just want to sit down and have a lovely afternoon with De Niro’s syrupy sweet character.

The story is fairly pedestrian, but that great performance by De Niro and his sweet relationship with Anne Hathaway is enough to mostly satisfy. There is also a decent amount of comedy that is successful. Overall, this is a film that I do recommend if you want something sweet to savor but it is the weakest film of those that Nancy Meyers has directed. You just get a much fuller/richer experience watching her other films.

Nancy Meyers is one of Hollywood’s most talented writer/directors. She knows how to make a feel good film that is smart and offers up a well rounded full story. Too many feel good films are just slapped together and are far too cheesy. What you understand from watching the different films she is responsible for is that this type of project can be done in a thoughtful very high quality way.

I’m not sure what comes next for Nancy Meyers but I certainly hope she has more dazzling films up her sleeve! Do yourself a favor: pour a cool glass of Chardonnay, cuddle up in a blanket, and have a Meyers-athon!


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