Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Well-Buttered Pan of Julie & Julia

OK. Yeah, I saw it. In a real theater with popcorn, whereas I usually wait for this kind of sleepy movie to come out on DVD.
But see, all the foodies and bloggers were spewing reviews of "Julie & Julia," mostly positive, so I figured I'd better get it while it was hot.
The hot buttered popcorn, that is. It was fantastic. Orville Redenbacher's, with real melted butter. Drool.
Oh. The movie. Well, I'm the type of foodie that would eat movie popcorn while watching a movie about Julia Child and her gimmicky stalker, Julie Powell.
No wonder Julia didn't want to talk to her! All Julie was doing was making a mockery of a book intended to deliver slow, deliberate lessons.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
OK. The movie. I thought it was a bore. At exactly the moment in the movie when I realized I was bored, a couple behind me got up and walked out.
The audience! The audience at the matinee I attended was — forgive the sexist ageism — mainly little old ladies. Women of a certain generation, who had lived vicariously through Julia's television cooking shows. This being Marin County, where Julia went to school, some of the women might even have known her once.
But they were definitely aged. There was a walker parked at the top of one aisle, and many of those without walkers were dodderers. At the end of the movie, a manager with a flashlight was summoned into the theater, presumably to help someone out. I hope that's all it was. She had a grim look.
Right. The movie. Well, it was filmed in glorious creamy light, so that's a plus. The food shots were fan-damn-tastic. Everything looked not only real, but expertly concocted, even the disasters. I actually came home and dug out "Mastering the Art" and looked up a couple of recipes — from the movie — that I want to try.
The costumes were good... enough. The music was... dumb. Diddly. Lighthearted period stuff meant to evoke utter boredom (for the Julia scenes) and outright pop parodies (e.g., "Psycho Killer" for Julie's lobster-killing scene).
The plot was. Well, what do you want me to say? Two women obsessed with food get book deals. Whoo-hoo! Fade, cut, and that's a wrap! Cast party, people! Rock out!
And, hate me now, but. I couldn't stand Meryl Streep's Julia. Gawd. Surely the real Julia wasn't that throaty and warbly and chirpy All The Time. Paul would have throttled her!
I much preferred Dan Aykroyd's Julia.
Why are you all spinning?


Anonymous said...

We're seeing it tonight because--wait for it--it is actually playing in my po-dunk town. Really. Not the big town 10 miles away, but in my own dumb village. Unbelievable, as the local theater never serves up anything even remotely watchable. We're taking the kid and I am sure she'll be fearfully bored.

But I take your buttered pan! Hwah! And can't wait for your takes on the dishes from the movie.

Kailyn said...

Thanks. I'll wait for DVD. And perhaps I should pick up Julia's book. Yes, that's right. Never looked at it. My mom was all about the James Beard books.

denise said...

I can understand how you feel as you do. Yes, it was light, nothing terribly deep, but...I liked it.

cookiecrumb said...

Fast: I believe it's enjoyable enough for even the kid. Really. I didn't hate it.
How cool that your shrimpy new-burg (small town) gets a hot first-run movie.

Kailyn: You oughta look at the book, just once. See if your library has a copy. It's a tome, my friend. Lots to learn in there if you want to.
The movie? Go see it now. You know me -- I'm a snark.

Denise: I'm NOT all about deep in movies! I like junky boy movies (just watched I Love You Man on DVD). J&J is a likeable movie indeed, except for this one twitchy grinch. :D

dancingmorganmouse said...

Having read the book I wasn't going to bother with the movie, now you've cemented my decision. I'll never get the time wasted reading the book back, I'm not throwing a good couple more hours after bad!
I'm going to see Where the Wild Things Are instead WOOT!

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to disagree with you... actually, 50/50 disagreement.

I happen to love Julia and the book "My life in France" - and thought that overall the movie did a pretty good job portraying her relationship with Paul, and her journey to get her book published. Comparing her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" to Julie's book is like comparing apples and oranges. Julia's book is a masterpiece, that will continue to be read and enjoyed for decades to come (wanna bet? :-)

Julie's book... well.... need I say more?

Kevin said...

I got an invitation to go see it tomorrow. Turned it down. Just not interested. Besides, I hate going to theaters.

Jennywenny said...

I cant be arsed. I feel like I've already seen it on a million different blogs already anyway. Since I'm not a native I didnt see Julia the first time around. I wonder how I'd feel about a Delia Smith film? It would have to be shot on the surface of the sun, being as thats how she seems to be lit these days in case she looks old.

kudzu said...

Did we go to the same showing? Even I felt younger than many of the audience members. But I was more tolerant than you of Streep's performance (while I never knew her personally, I understand she really did talk that way all the time) and there were some moments I found genuinely moving/true --- in the JULIA sections. Gnashed my teeth over the Julie parts which got in the way, I felt, of what could have been a very good film based on Child. Read Russ Parsons's story in the food section of the LA TIMES today. Very on point. (And can Amanda Hesser be that odd-looking/stiff in real life???)

Greg said...

Advertising exposure overload! Will wait until the media circus is out of town.

Zoomie said...

Trust you to pan something the other blogs are raving about! I'm gonna go see it anyway. I love Streep in anything she cares to try and Julia is one of my heroines. It's Julie I'm less certain about - she sounds whiney.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Zoomie and I are taking you and Mr. Brown to a catered matinee showing. Bavarian Cream!

Bewitching: Au contraire. I agree with YOU 100%. Julia's book is essential (and I did love, really love, the movie's expository unfolding of the book's gestation). It was just the movie that bored me.

Kevin: Now you're going to hear from all the Twits how good it was and what you missed.

Jennywenny: Hah! I larfed.

Kudzu: I'm not talking about Amanda Hesser. I'll just make enemies. (Didn't the actress remind you of our local bony butt?)
I got your point about a movie on Julia solo. This movie, with the absurdly condensed scenarios of her life (crying when her sister gets pregnant, e.g.), wasn't a satisfying bio.

Greg: It's at Smith Ranch Road. Also Rowland. You'll go.

Zoomie: You do so get me! :)
Yeah, everyone should see it anyway. Hell, I watched Mamma Mia! (screech)

Zoomie said...

I loved Mamma Mia, but then I loved the stage version so much that I went to see it about five times. I'm a sucker for a musical with a happy ending - so sue me! :-)

kudzu said...

Cookie: Smith Ranch? We probably WERE at the same showing...and, ummm, uh-oh-------Amanda Hesser played herself in the film.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: No, I know you saw it before me, but there's a retirement community down the road, right? Where Heidi Krahling used to cook?
As for Hesser = Hesser... OMFG!!!!!

Monkey Gland said...

My question is, does anything explode? Not that I shallow or anything. Just like s'plotions/

cookiecrumb said...

Monkey Gland: Ho, yeah. They got food s'plosions. Lobsters. Bavarian cream. Some omelette kind of thing. It's enough to make a girl movie a boy movie.
I'm going over to Facebook now and blow up some beads on Bejewled Blitz.

peter said...

I don't currently have any plans to see the movie- I'm pretty sure it'll be like being trapped for two hours inside the kind of food blog I do not read and I'm afraid I'll have a twee-seizure and need to be grimly escorted from the theater.

Sweet Bird said...

Hmm. This doesn't make me feel so confident in going to see it.

I still will.

I wasn't going to, I thought it sounded a little silly. But there's so much hype!

I just hope it doesn't suck this bad.

Sam said...

On the plane I chose to see (from the Entertainment System's extensive library), "Confessions of a Shopoholic", "Bride Wars" & "French Movie". In British English these are all apparently called "romcoms" (took me more seconds than I care to admit to work that out). I even cried in the first two, but the third one had a dash more grit.

I love crappy movies.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Those two words could be a review of the movie. "Twee seizure."

Birdie: No, it doesn't suck. You'll see. When you see it.

Sam: Welcome home. Yeah, crappy movies!

Anonymous said...

Okay. I am still waiting for your takes on some of the dishes.

And not to hijack this thread here, but...seeing the movie made me very materialistically inclined in re: copper pans and all that. I seriously WANT that mortar and pestle! Am I alone?

denise said...

no (fastgrowtheweeds), you are not alone! i desperately want that mortar and pestle...

cookiecrumb said...

Fast: Oh, it will probably be a while before I cook. I was (well, Cranky was) most interested in the Boeuf Bourguignon, and I sort of fancied the Bavarian Cream.
Yeah, and material lust. Here's my take: I had a doctor's appointment this week for what might have turned out to be scary stuff, but all's well. I had put my lust on hold, but now I might celebrate! (Your husband needs to bring you the mortar and pestle. That's how it works.)

denise said...

ps--i attempted the crazy so-called "bruschetta" and wrote a post about it... yum!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saving me. My weight watchers leader almost had me talked into going, but I think she just had food lust. There's a reason some of need weight watchers. :0)

cookiecrumb said...

Mimi: Nah. You gotta go. Everybody loves the movie. I'm just a snark.
You can't gain weight from just looking. ;)

Denise: I read your post. Oh, gosh, looks good. Everybody, click through. (Relatively) new blogger, SF, hot!
Good writing and photos.

kat smith said...

I love you because you always manage to say what I am thinking. I even agree that I like Dan Akroyd's Julia better.

cookiecrumb said...

Kat: Thanks! I'm still cowering, afraid the hordes of fans are planning to behead me... I appreciate your comment.