Archive for August, 2009

A.B.

Pretty sure Alton Brown was sitting across from me on the train this morning. I like to think he has a legion of lookalike minions designed to distract and bemuse as his plans to take over the world fall ever so slowly into place.

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Julie & Julia & JHP

Okay. So, I resisted the obvious lure of the recently released movie Julie & Julia for quite some time. I’m not really one to like those kind of cutesy, let’s-all-learn-a-lesson-here movies, with likeable characters n shit. But having read the book from cover to cover on a recent bidness trip to New York, the parallels between the main character and myself were simply unavoidable. I had to see this movie. Also, I’m a sucker for anything–movie, book, license plate keychain–that bears my name.

The book itself involves a young woman stuck in a soul-sucking, beaurocratic, cubicle-farm job (not terribly far off the mark from my own, minus the cubicles..) who is searching for a purpose in life. At the suggestion of her husband, she fires up a blog chronicling her year-long pursuit of cooking every single recipe in Julia Child’s legendary and daunting Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Hijinks ensue.

Truthfully? I was not an enormous fan of the book. I didn’t care for Julie Powell’s overblown, icky-cute, wordy, and roundabout way of writing, though I’m sure her blog was extra special back in the day (2002). The movie? Charmed the crap out of me. I cringe even as I admit this because I walked into the movie fully prepared to hate it. I laughed, I *nearly* cried, I fell head over heels in love with Julia Child’s life and story and melodious voice…readers, it was nothing short of magical. The woman had MY DREAM LIFE. She flitted about Paris, gathering fresh produce from local markets, all on a whim, and with the goal of pleasing her husband. Interspersing Julie Powell’s kitchen antics neatly with snippets from Childs’ own life, the movie deftly illustrates the staggering similarities and dramatic differences between the two women, albeit living decades apart. Seldom do I admit that a movie is better than its literary counterpart, but this is truly a movie that overturns the book in terms of poignancy, beauty, and humor.

Early on, there’s a scene that depicts Meryl Streep (as Ms. Child herself, fanFRICKINtastic performance) and Stanley Tucci as her husband Paul. They’ve recently moved to Paris, and Julia is being served a whole fish in a pan, positively swimming in butter. After the garcon deftly debones the fish and separates the tender white flesh, Julia takes a bite and is rendered absolutely speechless. Her husband says simply “I know, I know,” as Julia sits and shakes her head, sputtering and lost in the deliciousness of what she’s just put in her face.

This is a feeling I’m all too familiar with; the words that come so easily to me all day long are hampered and backed up when I’m faced with a dish I find so compelling that it defies all logic and explanation. I was without speech the time I (literally) ate the menu at Moto, after my first bite of steak at St. Elmo’s, and when asked for an description of how my dish from this place tasted, I answered with a simple and eloquent “omfg”.

One of the things that struck me as hilarious about the movie was the inconsistency with which the movie reflected the year 2002. Granted, it was only seven years ago, but for some reason they dressed Amy Adams up in flannels, chokers, and biker shorts like it was 1994, but the clunky cell phones and laptops and weird, pastel-hued business suits screamed early 2000’s.

I know dudes won’t be running out to see this movie anytime soon, as it features zero robots and virtually NO tits, but suggesting this movie is a great way to score points with the ladies. They’ll think you’re all sensitive and worldly and introspective, but not a complete puss. You heard it here first: Julie & Julia will get you laid.

Just to Tide You Over…

Am I the only one who kinda wants to see Sookie & Jason hook up on True Blood? I mean…don’t you get the feeling she’s totally coming on to him sometimes? And he’s always “rescuing” her from “precarious situations”? Come on. Let’s not kid ourselves. You allllll wanna see that shit go down. Incest! It’s fun for the whole family.

I’m in the midst of writing a recap of Julie & Julia….I gotta get the vibe down right so sit tight. That rhymed.

-JHP