Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Julie & Julia (Plenty of Spoilers)

I was really startled by how annoying Julie & Julia was. I'd read a couple reviews, but nobody mentioned the obvious:

If they'd cut out all the scenes where somebody talked with their mouth full, it would have been two minutes long.

I'll admit it: I'm a little squeamish about seeing -- and listening to -- people who talk when they eat. I think it's disgusting. You know how Chekhov said if you show a gun in the beginning, somebody's got to fire it by the end? Well, every time they showed Julie's husband he was chomping on something and talking. Food was flying. You could watch entire three-course dinners spin around his mouth like it was a little glass-windowed Whirlpool dryer.

He's just sickening, the sensitive viewer thinks, and that feeling is confirmed when, while Julie slaves over a hot stove, he's shown drinking wine, laying around, and sweating. According to Chekhov, this has to end with her dumping this loser and finding a dude who doesn't just shove his entrée into his cheek before he speaks.

Instead, he leaves her, in a scene that goes something like this:

JULIE'S HUBBY (gnawing a hamhock in one hand and holding a suitcase in the other): It'th alwayth about YOU! YOU YOU YOU! You have to be the thenter of the univerth. You go to work, you come home, you do the laundry, you cook dinner. YOU YOU YOU!

He grabs an emergency serving of pot roast and then storms out.

Needless to say, Julie is distraught. Suddenly she realizes how selfish she's been, working eight-hour days and then coming home and making food. She calls Hubby and apologizes. He agrees to come home, possibly because he finished that pot roast eight minutes ago and now his teeth are feeling cold. He's back and unpacking when Julie gets a phone call.

JULIE: What? Huh? She said THAT?

She hangs up the phone and rolls around on the bed sobbing for the forthieth time that day.

JULIE'S HUBBY (gnawing on a sausage): What? Who thaid what?

JULIE: Julia Child! She heard about my blog and she hates me.

JULIE'S HUBBY: Doeth thee hate you becauthe thee's read your blog or becauthe you're uthing her?

JULIE: She didn't say. WAAAAAH!

And then, believe it or not, the movie ends. We don't find out why Julia hated Julie. (We're guessing the words "whiny doormat" were batted around.) We're left wondering if movies about food have to be disgusting, because if nobody talks while they're eating they'd be eight hours long. It closes with that crawl that's attached to all movies that weren't written right.

Paul Child died in 1993 at age 91.

Julia Child died in 2004 at age 92.

Julie's book was made into a film.

Which, you know, is a little self-referential for my taste. It's like Kim Kardashian saying she must be famous because she's always on TV. Still, we're relieved this little piffle is over. We're happy we got to see Meryl as an incandescent Julia, but we thank our lucky stars that better filmmakers didn't take the easy way out. I mean, imagine if The Diary of Anne Frank ended this way:

Anne died believing that people were basically good at heart.

Her book was published to wild acclaim.

And then this movie was made about her and it grossed $17,729,824 on opening weekend in limited release! WOOHOO!

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

Gaaahhh! So totally right. I'm a fan of the NCIS crime drama, so I figured I'd probably like NCIS LA too (as well as NCIS GOES TO HAWAII, SON OF NCIS and so on). The first show featured a main character who chewed gum with his mouth open. Then later he was slurping a Tootsie Pop. Slurp, slurp, smack, smack, slurp. If I want to see and hear the early stages of digestion in HD with Surround Sound, I'll go to the Natural Science Museum. Haven't been back to that show.