We Went To See Julie And Julia

Movies are among the last of our experiences with exacting attention to detail. Movies are meant to be examined through a magnifying glass. The good ones hold up.

julie-and-julia.gifHelaine and I went to the movies yesterday to see Julie and Julia. This is the movie about Julia Child and separately Julie Powell who decides to spend a year preparing and blogging about every recipe in Child’s seminal “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

365 days. 536 recipes. One girl and a crappy outer borough kitchen.

How far will it go? We can only wait. And wait. And wait…..

The Julie/Julia Project. Coming soon to a computer terminal near you. – from the opening entry in Jule/Julia Project blog

On a sunny afternoon on the Labor Day weekend you might expect the movie theater to be empty and you’d be right. The sparse crowd was decidedly older. “All the handicapped spots are filled,” I noted as we walked in.

The presentation began with the most inappropriately chosen trailers ever matched to a movie! First up Tyler Perry’s upcoming “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” It went downhill from there. There were scary movies and guy movies, but as far as I remember no other chick flicks were promoted to this lily white assemblage of mainly senior citizens.

I loved the movie. Truly.

Meryl Streep is effortless as Julia Child, ex-pat wife of a Paris based diplomat (Stanley Tucci–who is the 3-in-1 Oil in Julia’s life ). She is drawn to a cooking school out of boredom with her life. Streep is probably our finest living actress and there’s nothing in this performance to show otherwise.

JJ_wallpaper_07_800x600.jpgAmy Adams was sweet as the Child obsessed chef/blogger. I’ll call her effortless too, though for most of the movie her character kept her emotions out in full view.

An admission. When Helaine kicks me out (sooner or later she will) I intend on moving in with Amy Adams. Amy doesn’t know that yet. Don’t tell. I don’t want to spook her prematurely. She fills the role formerly held by Marianne of Gilligan’s Island.

Set primarily in 1950s Paris and modern day New York City the movie is a character study… or studies. Julia and Julie’s lives are interconnected though they never meet&#185.

As the film was playing I thought about what makes movies so special (and so expensive). Movies are among the last of our experiences with exacting attention to detail. Look at the sets and costumes. Movies are meant to be examined through a magnifying glass. The good ones hold up. This was a good one.

Call me a heretic, but we left the movie and had dinner at IHOP. Julia Child is rolling over in her grave.

&#185 – Nora Ephron is also responsible for “Sleepless in Seattle” in which the primary characters didn’t meet until the very end.

Late Night Shows Return

The DVR has two tuners. Tonight, I recorded Letterman and Leno simultaneously.

The truth is, I wanted Leno to suck because I’d like to see the writers prevail against the producers. I’m not going to lie. Over the long run, what they get will help a lot of others… maybe someday me.

Letterman first. You’ve read by now, he’s bearded.

Because of a deal his production company cut with the writers, he was back with a full crew. It is a strategic move on the part of the writers to put NBC at a competitive disadvantage. Leno has no such waiver.

The show was fresh. Robin Williams was manic. The prepared bits weren’t anything special, but the show has been allowed to catch its breath and was very enjoyable.

There was more than one gratuitous nod to the Writers Guild, including the top-10 list. Alan Zweibel and Nora Ephron were among the ten writers presenting.

The writers continue to win the PR war versus the producers. So far, it’s a Pyrrhic victory.

Leno also came back fresh. I was surprised and disappointed the monologue and a taped bit were pre-written. The Guild had hoped there would be no written material. There will be cries of “scab” tomorrow.

I understand Jay’s in a tough position. On one hand, his writers are striking. On the other, his mortal opponent, David Letterman, has a full staff.

Should he risk a fatal blow to his show in order to morally support the writers?

Leno claimed to have written the monologue and other material himself. I can’t imagine how that’s true.

The big guest was Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate. Huckabee is very at ease on TV and came across warm and approachable. He played bass guitar as they came out of commercial.

People applauded the intricate guitar lead, but that wasn’t Huckabee’s part. It made no difference. A ‘guy off the street’ jumping in with that band is still impressive.

Jay’s show was entertaining, for Jay’s show. I suspect tomorrow’s ratings will show writers to be overvalued and Leno outranking Letterman. The real effect won’t be seen until later in the week… or maybe next.

The producer’s great strength in this fight is, they’re a faceless monolith who sell no product directly to consumers. In essence, they’re anonymous.