#14 — Helen Archer, a dying homeless alcoholic.
John: Behold, the most devastating sequel to Heartburn imaginable. Directed by Hector Babenco and adapted by William Kennedy from his own Pulitzer-winning novel, Ironweed follows Francis (Jack Nicholson) and Helen (Streep), two homeless drifters biding their time and eking out their lives in Depression-era Albany. At nearly two and a half hours long, Ironweed is a bleak, wrenching study of poverty with nary a promise of redemption in sight. We’re talking about a movie whose most uplifting and musical scene is chased with a crushing dose of hopeless reality, a movie in which dogs assail a woman’s frozen corpse outside a church, digging graves is considered a good day’s work, and ramshackle vagrants pray they drink enough liquor to die in their sleep. It’s a tough sell and an even tougher sit,