In the first episode of the HBO mini-series Sharp Objects (created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer all-star Marti Noxon; based on Gillian Flynn’s page-turning novel of the same name; directed by Big Little Lies helmer Jean-Marc Vallée), star Amy Adams does the following: drinks, stares at a toilet in a dingy motel room, drinks some more, is a writer, masturbates while thinking of sexually violent photos, chain smokes, passes out in her car outside the local bar, sees a dead girl, walks out of a funeral, cuts herself, and continues to drink.
Point, Sharp Objects is a dark, dour show, where the closest thing to a joke is Adams, as Camille Preaker, calling herself “trash from old money.” It’s also, thanks largely to the canny writing and editing, naturalistic directing, and superb performances (shout out to Patricia Clarkson, who’s constantly on the verge of catching a mighty case of vapors), a very good show. It’s going to be hard to grit through seven more weeks of — mild spoiler for next Sunday’s episode — watching a pig teeth’s get pulled out with pliers, though. We’re here to help.
In Sharp Objects, Amy Adams is a self-harming alcoholic journalist who’s suffered extreme traumas, but sometimes, she gets to play fun characters, too! Here’s what I recommend: after every episode of Sharp Objects, you should watch a light and fluffy and amusing Amy Adams movie (there’s a schedule below). Or in Camille speak: the shot is Sharp Objects, the chaser is…
Episode 1, “Vanish” — The Muppets
Amy Adams was born to be in a Muppets movie playing a school teacher from Smalltown, USA (she also hung out with Elmo once). Here’s how she got the part: “When I heard they were doing a new one, I was really excited. Jason sent me a DVD where he and Kermit were inviting me to be part of The Muppets… Once Kermit asks you to do something, it is really hard to look at him and say, ‘No.’ So I was hooked!” Jealous. The Muppets is delightful, made with warmth and passion from Muppets superfans Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, and they wisely gave Adams her own song: “Me Party.” This is a smile of a movie.
Episode 2, “Dirt” — Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Between Doubt and Julie & Julia, two of her best-known movies, Adams appeared in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which is definitely… the second best Night at the Museum movie. It’s mostly notable for Mr. Robot star Rami Malek returning as Pharaoh Ahkmenrah and Adams as Amelia Earhart, which is inspired casting. She plays the legendary pilot as Katharine Hepburn with a fun, adventurous spirit. Adams clearly had a blast.
Episode 3, “Fix” — Julie & Julia
Remember a time when Amy Adams and Chris Messina weren’t covered in booze sweat (seriously, the Sharp Objects costume department must be loving all the pit stains).
Episode 4, “Ripe” — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Five dollars to the next actor who goes into an audition with this monologue:
“It’s because it’s what you love, Ricky. It is who you were born to be. And here you sit, thinking. Well, Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer. And that’s what you need to do. You don’t need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky. You WIN! And you don’t win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you’re a man, aren’t you? Aren’t you?”
The casting directors will be as hard as a diamond in an ice storm.
Episode 5, “Closer” — Psycho Beach Party
In her second on-screen performance, one of this generation’s greatest actresses had the lower half of her bathing suit accidentally ripped off by Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who she tells to “straighten up, fly right, and apply yourself like any decent Presbyterian.” Acting is a weird profession.
Episode 6, “Cherry” — Underdog
Underdog is, objectively speaking, a bad movie (I’m more of a Marmaduke guy), but we’re not here for good movies, necessarily; we’re here for fun ones, and — call me crazy — I think “Amy Adams as the voice of Sweet Polly Purebred, a female anthropomorphic dog TV news reporter” counts as fun.
Episode 7, “Falling” — Leap Year and/or Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Dealer’s choice. There’s: the cute romantic-comedy that doubles as a tourism video for Ireland (so much green on that poster), or the breezy comedy where Adams flirts with Lee Pace and goes on shopping sprees with Frances McDormand. (I take it back: please watch Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.)
Episode 8, “Milk” — Enchanted
I saved the best and most fun for last. After Leonardo DiCaprio won an Academy Award for The Revenant, Adams became the go-to “wait, he/she hasn’t won an Oscar?!?” cause. Because, seriously, Amy Adams doesn’t have an Oscar?!? She’s been nominated five (!) times — for Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, and The Master as a Supporting Actress; and American Hustle as a Lead Actress — and yet. Enchanted isn’t your typical Oscar movie (although three songs in the film were nominated for Best Original Song… they all lost), but Adams, a real-life Disney princess, singing to CGI animals > DiCaprio, a guy once rumored to be raped by a bear, eating raw liver bison, thank you.