Monday, January 18, 2010

Julie & Julia

I know, I know...y'all voted for Up. But what is there to say other than that it's brilliant, hilarious and endearing and it will be one of the few movies that we'll all be able to stomach for the 100th time when our little tiny ones get to the point of shoveling DVD's back into the machine over and over again until one day it breaks because the younger one put cheetos in it and then we'll upgrade to the bitchin system whereby the kid will be choosing from our library of movies on a menu stored on some hard drive or some distant server on the interweb. Yep, that will be some fancy shizzle. Of course, to be clear, I will not let BHB watch TV until he's 8. Ahem.

So let's talk about Julie & Julia instead.

First of all, in one of the two stories featured in the movie you'll find another blogger success story. I mean, other than Dooce. All of us bloggly blogesses of the off-blue screen secretly (or not) imagine this to be our story. Start a blog. A reader stumbles by and due to the sheer brilliance of the writing, offers a book deal. We write a book. Due to the sheer genius of the book (or the catchy concept) we get a movie deal. Life is forever good as we rake in the residuals and book deals and speaking engagements. Our children are proud to call us Mommy and we can hire full time help.

Joy. Ease. Love-filled life and shiny teeth.

So there's that, so that part was definitely interesting to me. When the Julie character was all a twitter about the 20 comments on her blog and she got all to be the all-too-annoying-self-obsessed-no-sex having-blogger I turned to cute hubs and said nervously in a high-pitched voice, 'Oh haha she does not remind you of anyone, does she?' These striking similarities to persons fictional or otherwise is not why I didn't love the movie.

I found it to be many charming moments piled up with pretty people and some fun for sure, however, my takeaway was that it was plotless and flat. I give it a C+. If you loved it, I won't be hurt if you click away. Go ahead. Hit an ad on the way out, would you? Oh crap, I don't think I'm supposed to say those things. Well damn if Google sees this and takes away my adsense and the 6.42 I've earned so far so be it.

Let me back up, I loved Meryl Streep. I mean, comon'. She is so freakin' cute and just nails it. She literally channels these people, I mean the characters she plays whether they are real or otherwise. She is an American treasure and I l-l-l-l-love her. She deserved the Golden Globe and I loved her speech. So there. I also loved Stanly Tucci. He's another actor who deserves a hell of a lot more praise and great roles than he receives. And wait, I also really enjoyed Amy Adams and whoever that dude is who played her man. I found their love believable. So by now you're wondering - uh, you give it a C? I do. All of these likable people in great costumes tracking along with one historic cookbook does not a great movie make.

*Spoiler Alert!* (I promised I'd do this, here it is)

Even if these are real people - we need a plot! We need to be taken on a ride! There was some danger around Senator McCarthy and Julia's hubs getting into trouble but that fizzled off into whatever nothingness. There was some danger that Julia didn't (gasp) like what Julie was doing. And that's bad! I mean, really bad, right? Well it's shuffled off the screen in a big act 3 wrap up that I didn't find satisfying.

*Alert over* - (resume reading if you care to)

Then there is the problem of the music. Movie music is such tricky business, it my mind it's pretty rarely done perfectly. The music in this movie is all Cute and Spunky and like Pointing to the screen with a big 'Something interesting is coming!' and 'Don't you like the shiny lighting?' kinda deal. That may be a bit harsh but I will say when the credits were rolling I didn't want to hang out to hear more. I ran away.

Now let's address one more thing, if you haven't thought of it already. This is a big year and awards season for women directors. Which I think is freakin' fantastic. So I feel a bit out of line or out of synch by doggin' on our girl Nora Ephron. Historically speaking I personally loved Sleepless in Seattle and hated, really hated You've Got Mail. So you know, sometimes she hits, sometimes not so much, like ANY filmmaker. Sometimes I just think I should have some solidarity or something like that with the womens directors (s on the end of women intentional) but end of day I'm just interested in honesty and truthful moments. Oh and as you've already noticed, a plot.

It's too bad I don't have the strength or courage to see The Hurt Locker, which I hear is amazing. It's just that I literally cannot watch war movies or overly suspenseful films without throwing up. Yep, I truly am a sensitive lil thing. Director Katheryn Bigelow is apparently a total rock star in this thriller/psycho fear genre and I guess I'll never see her work. But you know, let's give a big what-what to the awesomely successful action-flick chick-director.

Okay then, there you go.

UP - A
Julie & Julia - C+

Sleepless in LA,

PS - Uhm - btw - should I keep doing this movie thing? So far, so fun, but you know...I don't know. Let me know.

PPS - I also want to give a bit shout out of thanks for your birthday comments and lovin'. I truly and totally appreciated your words. And to quickly summarize - the day it was a mix of crappy and sweet. Birthday's really can be stoopid. It's all about expectation management I suppose. I'm sure 40 will be no problem there. Ahem.


  1. I guess it's only fitting that I watch Julie & Julia today given Meryl Streep's Golden Globe win last night.

  2. Please keep doing the movie thing. (If you want.) I loved T-Bone Streep's speech. And she is such an icon. She really is a vessel for people's stories.

    And I do love Nora Ephron. Okay, I did not like "You've Got Mail". I was okay with "Sleepless in Seattle". But I loved "When Harry Met Sally". Not all of 'em can be absolute gems.

    Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to watch "The Hurt Locker" either. I'm too sensitive. But I was still cheering Katheryn Bigelow on. And I was a bit disappointed when "Avatar" won. From (ahem) a womanist point of view.

  3. I couldn't agree with your review more. When I told people I watched the movie they all said "wasn't it wonderful??" and I was like...well it was OK! I was entertained but I am not dying to see it again. Like you said there was no real plot! I thought it fell flat too a bit..but I will admit I would love all of that to happen to my blog!

  4. "Joy. Ease. Love-filled life and shiny teeth."

    THAT line made me spit out my coffee... YOU should direct a movie, sister. You are FUNNY - and I don't say that lightly.

    I felt the same way about Julie & Julia (and had the same nervous laughter moment with my husband...) - totally watchable but it didn't move me. Although I could watch Meryl Streep brush her teeth and be entertained... she is amazing.

    Keep up the movie stuff! I love it!


  5. Keep doing the movie stuff. I like your take on things, even if I don't agree. I love movies, love talking about movies and you do that intelligently. So many people don't.

    It is tough to give opinions on such things. They are so personal. None of us have the same journey and things appeal to each of us for different reasons. So be it. Just because I love a movie and could watch it every day and still love love love it, doesn't mean that my poor husband would rather take a bullet than ever sit through the whole thing. He is much happier watching Point Break for the 47th time!

    Keep it up! BTW, I totally get your excitement about comments on your blog. I get unhealthily ecstatic when a stranger leaves a comment!

  6. Really love your take on movies. I, personally, couldn't be bothered to see that one only because the premise is basically annoying but, it helped to hear you didn't like it. Also, you just inspired me to update the old blog. Going over there now.

  7. Shiny teeth killed me too. Yes,keep doing the movie reviews as long as there's lots of pix of BHB too.

    I also loooooved Meryl; what's not to love? She was marvelous. But as much I loved Junebug, liked Sunshine Cleaners, and even adored (I'll admit it) Enchanted, every time J & J switched back to Amy Adams my skin was crawling. So boring. So neurotic. The food didn't even seem that delicious. I didn't even realize her husband had left her because that fight was so meh.

    Keep 'em comin'!

    XO Carrie