We Saw “Easy A” Tonight

Foolishly as we sat in the theater waiting for the feature to start I checked Facebook and found a message about the movie from my sister. “I was disappointed.”

Every sign was pointing to this being a couch day. Not good. Saturday should be date night!

I went scrambling to figure out where to go. Helaine and I ended up in North Haven for a movie I don’t remember seeing a trailer or ad for! I did read an extremely positive review from Roger Ebert.

Good enough for me.

As we sat in the theater waiting for the feature to start I foolishly checked Facebook on my iPhone and found a message about the movie from my sister.

I was disappointed.

Uh oh. The coming attractions hadn’t started to play yet and we were already doomed.

As it turns out my sister is wrong! Sorry Trudi.

I’ll tell you about “Easy A” in a moment. First though Stanley Tucci who was in the movie.

I want to grow up to be Stanley (even though he’s ten years my junior). I have yet to see him in a movie where I didn’t like his character or the real Stanley that always shows through. He’s charming on-screen. Charming is good.

OK, movie time.

“Easy A” is the story of a high school girl, Olive, who is never noticed until word gets out she’s sleeping around. The rumor’s not true. Even worse it’s Olive who is spreading it!

In this age of computers and texting rumors spread at the speed of light. It didn’t take long for everyone to know. Surprisingly, being a bad girl made Olive a more popular girl… at least in the short term.

Part of what made the movie so much fun was what made it unreal. It’s incredibly well written.

Everyone was witty. Everyone was clever. There was a sharply worded rapid response in every situation.

I wish life was really like that. It isn’t. OK, mine isn’t. That’s jealousy speaking.

In his review Roger Ebert says this movie makes Emma Stone a star. He’s right.

At one point I turned to Helaine to tell her how much Emma Stone reminded me of Lindsay Lohan. “Without the baggage,” she said.

Yeah, without the baggage.

She’s in virtually every scene and never wears out her welcome. Having Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as her warm and cleverly ditzy parents doesn’t hurt either.

Good movie. Glad we went.

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.

The Hoax

We went to the movie theater yesterday to see The Hoax; the new Richard Gere movie based on Clifford Irving’s retelling of his amazing Howard Hughes hoax. Judging by the numbers at BoxOfficeMojo, not many others went. The Hoax was #16 for the second week.

The Hoax is playing locally at Cine4 in North Haven. An independently owned and operated theater, we enjoy going there, in spite of its somewhat worn interior.

The parking lot is painted with faded lines denoting the spaces. I mention this because cars were parked in a somewhat free spirited fashion. I actually saw a few cars which were blocked, front and rear, by other cars!

The Hoax tells the story of Clifford Irving, an author down on his luck. He’s already spent the money from a ‘sure thing’ novel which suddenly gets axed. Desperate, he hatches a plot to write Howard Hughes autobiography.

Of course, Hughes was a recluse – speaking to no one. And, he was in the midst of troubling civil litigation, giving him extra incentive to stay out-of-sight. Who could possibly deny Irving’s book was bonafide? Certainly not Hughes!

I remembered a good part of this story. Those were turbulent times and the whole Irving/Hughes affair became a big deal in the press.

Toward the end, Irving (who also wrote the book on which this movie is based) implies he was actually set up by Hughes… a victim of opportunity.

Irving also implies Watergate might have been brought on by Richard Nixon’s paranoia over what Howard Hughes might have had on him – details which were released to Clifford Irving.

It was a little tough to buy those two factors. I suppose they could be true. My thought is, they were added by Irving to make him seem a little more sympathetic.

Richard Gere and Alfred Molina were effortlessly wonderful as Irving and Dick Suskind, his friend/researcher/collaborator. It is nice to see fine actors, like Molina, who aren’t pretty, get meaty roles.

The movie featured a strong supporting cast, including Eli Wallach, Hope Davis and Marcia Gay Harding. If Helaine hadn’t told me which part was played by Stanley Tucci, I would have missed him.

My guess is, you’re probably too late to see this in the theater. It’s definitely a worthwhile rental… an opportunity that seems to come closer and closer to the theatrical release.