Friday’s Movie – No Reservations

I know I’ve promised to write about our trip to Philadelphia… and I will. Not yet. I sense, truly or falsely, it will be a long entry, which I don’t feel like facing at the moment.

My folks have been visiting since Tuesday. It is our sworn duty to keep them entertained. OK – maybe not, but that’s what we want to do.

Today, Stef had plans to head to Long Island, Helaine needed to catch up around the house and I… well, I’m a lazy, shiftless bum with nothing to do. I asked my folks if they wanted to go to the movies.

My first choice was “The Simpsons Movie.” Helaine and Stef would like to see that. My parents, not so much. I can wait, I suppose.

I took my parents to see “No Reservations,” the new Catherine Zeta-Jones movie. It was an afternoon well spent.

The movie is a remake of a German film, “Mostly Martha.” As it turns out, my parents had already seen that. They liked “No Reservations” better.

Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a successful, driven, chronically single chef in New York’s Greenwich Village. As artfully revealed by her therapist (Bob Balaban), she was scared to commit. I’ve always thought about that (from personal experience) as a guy thing. Kate’s real love interest was cooking.

I loved the ‘inside baseball’ scenes as Kate commanded her team in the kitchen. It’s a view I don’t often get and seemed realistic.

When Kate’s sister is killed in a car accident, she becomes guardian for Zoe (Abigail Breslin). It’s another commitment she is ill prepared for.

Things are going very poorly between Kate and Zoe until Nick (Aaron Eckhart) enters the picture. He’s a sous chef, though obviously underachieving in his career, hired to work in Kate’s kitchen.

There is instant conflict. Then, there is instant sexual tension.

From this point forward, there is no part of this movie that isn’t predictable. I’m not saying that as a knock, because I had no problem accepting the picture as entertainment and not an intellectual challenge.

The triumph of romance over all obstacles is the mother’s milk of chick flicks – a genre I’m particularly enamored with. This is the poster child for chick flicks.

Catherine Zeta-Jones continues to be remarkably beautiful. Aaron Eckhart is more attractive than beautiful (attractive being a much more valuable trait). The real standout is Abigail Breslin, an accomplished actor at age 11.

I first saw Abigail in “Little Miss Sunshine.” Sometimes kids get lucky with their first film. “No Reservations” proves there’s more than luck at work here. She played an emotional role with great range. She acted! I believed.

What were you doing at age 11?

The last 11 or 12 year I saw, who could act, was Lindsay Lohan (1998 – “The Parent Trap”). Uh oh.

Abigail… keep your head on straight. Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t listen to the sycophants who will surely be drawn to you as flies are drawn to shit. If your parents are loopy, trade them in now!

One final note. As my parents walked into the theater to find a seat, I returned to the cashier and got a set of headphones for my dad. There is little publicity for these, but just about every theater has them available for free. For anyone with a hearing problem, these can make all the difference in the world in enjoying a movie.

Long Trip To The Movies

What’s left of Ernesto left Connecticut early. Sunday turned out sunny and pleasant. We decided to go to the movies.

Actually, we attempted a twofer. My car had gotten new tires and fresh oil and was sitting in front of the tire place in Cheshire. We headed to the movie theater in Southington.

Good idea! We’d save time and miles. Of course I forgot to bring the keys for my car. I’ll say it – what an idiot.

Today’s movie was “Little Miss Sunshine” with Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin and Steve Carrell. At the moment, there is a law somewhere which says Greg Kinnear must be in every movie made.

The story centers around the Hoover family of Albuquerque. They are dysfunctional in just about every possible way.

The dad is a failing motivational speaker. The grandfather snorts drugs in the bathroom. The son hasn’t spoken for months. The brother-in-law is a gay professor specializing in Proust who has just failed at suicide.

This is a comedy based on interaction between family members. Each one is more screwed up than the next, except the nine year old daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin).

I’ve read, more than once, this is her movie. I wouldn’t go that far, but she certainly holds her own with major league acting talent. And, hers is the pivotal role around which the action revolves and the family unites.

Stop! That last sentence might lead you to believe this is a feel good movie. No way – this is a very dark comedy… very dark.

I laughed out loud a few times, but I left the theater unsatisfied. I’m not sure yet, but it could have been the same reason I was unnerved by “Postcards From The Edge.” When dysfunctional life is too close to reality, I have trouble laughing at it.

Helaine on the other hand thought the movie was great.

Maybe, today especially, her opinion should be valued higher. After all, it was because of me, we had to drive all the way home to pick up the keys before retrieving my car.